Food and Wine: Local Finger Lakes Wineries with Restaurants

You might know about the vast amount of wineries in the Finger Lakes area.  But what if you want to get a bite to eat?  Whether it be during your winery tour, or just a lunch or dinner out during your Trumansburg getaway, there are many options for both wine tasting and dining.  Because there are so very many wineries with restaurants in the entire region, I’ll keep it between the lakes for the easiest and most direct winery/dining experiences!  While one or two may not be exactly close, this makes for the easiest drive back to your Upstate New York inn lodging at Gothic Eves!

In April I introduced you to the New York growing cooperatives, specifically Sweet Land Farm.  While they are the local favorite, they are certainly not the only one in the region!  Self-sustainment and fresh food are a huge deal in our area, and I am pleased to say that all the eateries on this list use local fresh produce when in season, and even sometimes out of season.  Similarly, many menus do change throughout the year, depending on what local ingredients the chefs can obtain.

Another good thing about Finger Lakes Winery/Restaurants is that they all have terrace seating options featuring either lake or vineyard views, and sometimes both!

With that, I’m going to jump into the between the lakes options.  Here we go!

Just over 3.5 miles from the inn is Americana Vineyards with Crystal Lake Cafe in Interlaken.  The Winery produces a wide range of 20 different wines throughout the year, ranging from dry to semi-sweet.  Crystal Lake Cafe is open daily for lunch and dinner, with a brunch option on Sundays.  Reservations are recommended.  “Full-flavor” is their boast, presumably to best complement their wines.  The menu has a good selection of items with limited vegetarian options (including soups, salads, and a vegetable fajita).  If you find them on the menu, consider trying the Lamb Burger (with feta, rosemary aloi and olive tapanade), and the Cuban Sandwich.  And while you’re eating, be sure to note the homemade condiments and bread!

Just over 13 miles north in Ovid is the Thirsty Owl Wine Company with Bistro.  The winery offers 20 wines from dry to semi-sweet.  The Bistro is open daily for lunch, and  Fri/Sat dinners in July and August.  They have a surprisingly full menu with good vegetarian options in the form of soups, salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads.  If the weather is nice, try eating on their terrace with a breathtaking view of Cayuga lake.  Menu offerings to consider include the homemade Macaroni and Cheese, and the Turkey/Cheddar/Apple Sandwich with Cranberry Mayonnaise.  The flatbreads are also a hit if you’re in an especially Italian mood.

Also just over 13 miles north of the Inn is Knapp Winery and Vineyard Restaurant in Ovid.  The winery offers 32 different wine/cordial offerings including sweet ice wine, limencello, sweet flavored wines, champagne, and a wide variety of reds and whites.  Their restaurant serves lunch only, 7 days a week, and has a surprisingly sophisticated menu.  If you see them offered, try the Wild Mushroom Soup, Lamb and Bison Burger, and the Crab Cake.  One night each month from August through December , Knapp Vineyard Restaurant offers a reservations-only dinner that is worth attending – I can help you determine if a dinner will fall during your stay!

15.5 miles away is Wagner Vineyards and Ginney Lee Restaurant, a winery, restaurant AND brewery in Lodi.  The winery offers a large variety of reds and whites, a handful of dessert wines and blushes, and sparkling/non-alcoholic options.  The brewery boasts 6 standard beer brews from light to dark, and 5 specialty seasonal options..  Ginny Lee cafe is open daily from May – October for lunch only.  Specializing in Sandwiches/wraps and pizza, there is a little something for everyone food-wise with amazing views of Seneca Lake from their terrace.  Don’t want to drink?  Try their real draft root beer made in-house!

21 miles away is Red Newt Cellars Winery and Bistro in Hector.  This winery offers over 60 varieties of wine in total, with selections varying depending on season.  This is one place where Riesling lovers should definitely stop, as theirs are superb.  The Bistro is open daily for lunch, and dinners are offered from Wednesday through Sunday.  Things to try on this seasonally changing menu include Local Egg Pasta Ravioli,  Curry Chicken Soup, Red Newt Gyros made with lamb, Pulled Pork Wrap, and the Pumpkin Gnocchi in cream sauce.  Red Newt has great vegetarian options!  Order a 3-wine ‘flight’ with your meal, or just a single glass.

A longer drive means more beautiful views, right?  While this last winery is on this side of the lake, it is still 30 miles to the north, just this side of Geneva.  Ventosa Vineyard offers Ice Wine, a small variety of blends, and a few vintages of their own making 15 in total, spanning the tannin scale from very dry to very sweet.  Their Cafe Toscana offers light Italian fare of soups, salads, pizzas and paninis, with a chicken salad wrap kicker.  I recommend the Escarole and Bean Soup paired with any of their paninis.

While not wineries in their own right, I would like to also recommend a few eateries that specialize in wine-food pairings, in case you desire a formal dining experience:

  • 15.5 miles away in Lodi, Suzanne’s Fine Regional Cuisine, offers dinners from Thursdays through Sundays, and a 5-course tasting menu that can be paired with Finger Lakes Wines on Thursdays and Fridays.  With a very romantic atmosphere, this restaurant has a pack porch, amazing food, and impeccable service.  Turning ordinary ingredients into extraordinary fare, chef Suzanne Stack offers an entire seasonal menu that will satisfy.  Reservations are recommended.
  •  Dano’s on Seneca offers Viennese cuisine just south of Lodi.  Cordon Bleu chef Dano Hutnik is well recognized in NYC’s James Beard Foundation.  Dano makes the sausage and cheese featured in some of the dishes, and his wife, Pastry Chef Karen Gilman, makes all the desserts.  Offering small, a la carte portions, you can taste your way through the menu, or order more of a favorite!  Dano also offers a small selection of traditional entrees.  True to his Viennese roots, Dano makes a mean Schnitzel and Sauer Braten when available!  The staff will point you to excellent wines to pair with your meal of choice.
  •  Hector is home to the Stonecat Cafe, just 21 miles away.  Open from April through the start of August, Chef Scott Signori and his wife Jessica off lunches from Thursday through Saturday, a Sunday Jazz brunch, and dinners from Wednesday through Sunday.  Offering rustic cuisine with notes of brightness, the owners are known for their home-smoked foods, bringing in local produce to complete the dishes.

And there you have six choices for winery/restaurant pairings, and three wine/food specialty options for great dining options during your bed and breakfast escape.  If you would like more information during your visit, just ask.  I can help you with di
rections, reservations, and I might just know what is on some of the seasonal menus for a personalized selection at the time of your visit!

Innkeeper Rose Hilbert
POB 95, 112 E. Main St.
Trumansburg, NY, 14886
1-800-387-7712 | 607-387-6033

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