There are many reasons to love Ithaca, but chief among them is the food. Our small college town has so many classic eateries: breakfasts at CTB, ice cream cones from purity, and, of course, dinners at Souv. While these timeless establishments will always be our go-tos, there are so many other delicious dives that fly under the radar. From brunch to dessert, Ithaca is teeming with underrated hotspots. Read on for a list of of Ithaca’s best hidden treasures:
Nestled in the Dewitt Mall located in the commons, this brunch spot is a wonderful find. Rivaling any CTB meal, the cafe serves a mean lunch and breakfast. Not only that, but all ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. Some favorite finds include lemon-ricotta pancakes and granola with honey and fresh fruit. Note: they do not take credit cards, so hit the ATM before you go.
Sweet Melissa’s is a summer favorite you do not want to miss. Attached to the side of the Short-Stop deli, this little stand is true a hidden gem. Get your sweet fix with their soft-serve ice cream, flurries, and dips. To make this stop even better, they feature three different homemade hard ice cream flavors everyday, which are always incredible and unique. Some examples are blueberry crumble and cotton candy ice cream. But hurry up: Sweet Melissa’s closes for the winter at the end of September, so make sure you don’t miss it.
3Cayuga Lake Creamery
Can you tell we love ice cream? Though this shop is a bit of a drive (30 minutes from Cornell’s campus), it will 110% be worth the effort. The creamery offers over 90 flavors, each of them homemade on-site. Some adventurous choices include grape, which is made from locally grown concord grapes, and Jalapeno Popper, a cream cheese flavored ice cream with jalapeno peppers and a raspberry habanero sauce.
4Falls Restaurant and Tavern
This little diner located in Trumansburg will not disappoint. Quaint and cute, the diner is the perfect place for breakfast. Though from the outside it doesn’t look like much, it’s a great and highly underrated breakfast spot. Serving typical diner food, such as pancakes, eggs, and waffles, the food is delicious, and the homey, cozy atmosphere will make it worth the extra time in the car.
Also a bit of a drive from campus, Hazelnut Kitchen is an amazing little restaurant tucked away into the small town of Trumansburg. Using fresh and local ingredients, the menu changes with the seasons to reflect the local produce. The food is delicious and creatively inspired, making Hazelnut Kitchen a perfect place for a special event such as a birthday dinner.
A little closer to home is Coltivare, a farm-to-table restaurant located in the commons. In partnership with the Tompkins Community College, Coltivare is dedicated to using only fresh local ingredients in its dishes. The atmosphere is modern and sleek, with high ceilings, tiled floors and a wall made from recycled tires. Definitely one of Ithaca’s best restaurants, this is a snazzy (and easy!) place to go for any occasion, big or small.
7The Shop Cafe
Located downtown in the commons, The Shop Cafe serves coffee along with baked goods and fresh-squeezed juice. The casual and relaxed setting makes it a great place to meet a friend or even just to sit and catch up on some work. Decorated with art from local artists, the Shop is a great emblem of Ithaca’s personality and culture.
Whether you’re looking for a nice restaurant for a fancy occasion, a casual breakfast spot, or a new dessert place, be sure to check out at least a few of these great hidden gems this fall – you definitely won’t be disappointed.