The return of warm weather means outdoor dining options are back, and the Ithaca area is full of them.
When it comes to outdoor dining, Ithaca’s Commons and Restaurant Row come quickly to mind. There you will find plenty of restaurants all next door to one another with ample outdoor seating.
Once you leave downtown Ithaca, there are still many places to enjoy a meal outside. A few blocks from the Commons – Northstar House is a hidden gem within walking distance of Ithaca Falls, with an outdoor patio perfect for enjoying the fresh and seasonal menu. The food, created with largely local organic vegetables and protein, is the draw, but they have an extensive bottled beer list, as well as a dozen rotating drafts, and an excellent selection of wine and spirits.
Great places to grab a drink are also some fantastic spots to grab a bite.
With classic brews on tap and a farm-to-table restaurant menu, Ithaca Beer Co. is a great spot to enjoy a meal made with regionally sourced ingredients. Classic starters include poutine, and their pizza pairs well with the beer brewed on-site. They also have a summer beer garden kitchen open for casual fare, including some tasty BBQ.
While Liquid State Brewing doesn’t prepare the food, its partnership with the award-winning Silo Food Truck brings home cooking to this downtown outdoor space. Check out Silo’s famous fried chicken, mac & cheese, and vegan curry made with local organic ingredients.
The family-owned Stone Bend Farm has elevated its wood-fired pizza experience by using ingredients grown on the farm or locally, and they have partnered with Buried Acorn Brewing to offer regional beer on tap. They have also added events to their schedule with multiple nights of fun to accompany your food and drink enjoyment.
With plenty of open space for picnic tables and a stunning sunset view, South Hill Cider is the perfect place to eat and drink. Their menu boasts bites, charcuterie boards, and sandwiches created from ingredients produced locally. They host music several nights a week, so you can enjoy your food and unique cider, against a picture-perfect backdrop.
Finger Lakes Cider House is a growing operation, with wine added to the extensive cider offerings, and their menu continues to grow. Sandwiches and starters offer tasty spins on tradition, and they have a striking wood-fired pizza oven. Find a seat on the deck, or stroll down the stairs to an array of high-top and picnic tables overlooking Cayuga Lake.
Not looking for a traditional sit-down spot, consider grabbing some food to go and heading to a local park for a picnic.
In Ithaca, swing by Ithaca Bakery for a sandwich or salad, and then head for Stewart Park a few minutes away at the south end of Cayuga Lake. A little further north on the east side of the lake will bring you to Myers Park in Lansing, or a southbound route will take you to Buttermilk Falls or Robert Treman state parks. If it is the weekend, the Ithaca Farmers Market offers a range of international tastes for your enjoyment and plenty of seating nearby.
In Trumansburg, check out Main Street Market for fresh, locally prepared foods you can enjoy at tables on the side or bring it to Taughannock Falls State Park about a 5-minute drive away. Wednesday evenings are when T’burg’s Farmers Market takes place, also offering ready-to-eat food.
Less than 10 miles from downtown Ithaca is Brookton’s Market, full of locally-sourced produce and fresh food for you to take with you. In addition, they have NYS craft beer and cider on tap and Finger Lakes wine. Plus, they are the perfect stopping point on your way to Shindagin Hollow State Forest.