Monday, November 30, 2009

Ithaca Restaurants Update

Here is a brief update on some of the new openings and changes ahead for the local Ithaca dining scene, much of it happening within two blocks at the intersection of Cayuga Street and West State Street:

  • Wildfire Bistro (106 S. Cauyga St. | 607-277-9143) is now officially open for lunch and dinner and they've posted menus for both on their new website: Looks like an interesting mix of mid-priced options, with nothing over $20 on either menu. We're intrigued by the $9 "Grown-up Mac & Cheese" on the Comfort Zone portion of the menu, which offers an option to add lobster for an additional $6. There is also a nice mix of meats, seafood, and vegetarian options on both menus. Have you tried any of these yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • We also checked in with Bandwagon Brew Pub (114 North Cayuga Street) this weekend. They're currently brewing their first batches of house beer and training staff. They say they're on track to have their official opening by December 15th. Keep an eye on their website ( or follow them on Twitter ( to stay up to date.

  • Looks like the former Ithaca Diner is soon to reopen as the Prize Diner. The new owner told us she's planning to keep it a breakfast and lunch diner operation like its predecessor, but with shiny new equipment behind the counter and a revamped interior. She aims to open for business within a week or two as well.

  • Also new to Downtown Ithaca is the Green Street Station branch of Gimme! Coffee, their 3rd Ithaca location. It's a cozy space across from the new Cinemapolis, and currently one of the test spots for their new modern pour-over coffee options. Give 'em a try!

  • Changes are afoot up at the Food Court at the Shops at Ithaca Mall on Triphammer Road. When Sicilian Delight pizzeria took over the space vacated by Wendy's, they left a blank store that left many shoppers wondering what would happen to their corner. Now an answer has appeared: Mo's Pit BBQ is moving in. We know little about how good or bad this will be, but their website ( shows they are a regional chain. When you add them to the other recent additions of Hogs Back BBQ and Razorback BBQ, it seems 2009 is the year that barbeque cuisine tries to take Ithaca by storm yet again. We'll have to wait and see if they can make it into the next decade longer than the last wave did (i.e. Ralph's, Billy Bob Jack's, Bistro Q) in this decade. Also at the Mall for a limited time is Doug's Fish Fry To Go. Check out their website for the complete schedule, as they'll only be at this location on weekends through January 1st. Save yourself the trip to Cortland and get some of the best onion rings around while you can!

We're also continuing to watch for the arrival of a Panera Bread, expected to open in 2010 in the new building under construction at K-Mart Plaza, and rumors of other national chain restaurants persist for the Meadow Street shopping district as well. If you've got more info on any of these new restaurant openings, or have heard of another opening we should share, leave us a comment below or drop us a line: feedback [at] eatingithaca [dot] com.

Happy Eating!


Ian said...

That's quite the list, Dave. I hope I can get back to Ithaca soon to try them all.

Mary said...

We ate at Wildfire over the Thanksgiving weekend, and it was terrific. The fried chicken had a crispy, salty coating that wasn't greasy, and the meat inside was cooked to the perfect point of doneness -- cooked through but moist. The scallops and shrimp pasta dish was also satisfying, though I would've preferred sea scallops over the smaller bay scallops. Our waitress was extremely sweet and accommodated our dietary issues with a good attitude. I was a bit confused by the grilled bread before dinnner, though my dining partner loved it. The seafood chowder was the best I've had in a long time: full of flavor from the seafood, not from cream. -- Mary, VA

Mary said...

more accurately, what looked like a plateful of toast


Thanks for the mini-review, Mary! We look forward to giving it a try!


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