Nina Davis/Sun Staff Photographer

Kevin Sullivan designed the modern interior of The Embassy to feel like a "home away from home."

February 23, 2024

Meet The Embassy, the New Social Hot Spot for Brunch, Late-Night Dining

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Along Dryden Road lives a new contestant for Cornellians’ favorite brunch or late-night spot. The Embassy opened its doors to the public back in January, becoming the latest business venture of prominent Ithaca restaurant owner Kevin Sullivan.

Sullivan is the owner of seven physical Collegetown restaurants, including Jack’s Grill, Luna’s Inspired Street Food and Loco Cantina. He is also the owner of roughly 35 establishments that only exist online, according to a Sun analysis of Ithaca restaurants using Seamless, an online delivery website. Sullivan’s restaurants altogether compose roughly 40 percent of all the restaurants available for delivery in Ithaca.

Sullivan said The Embassy, however, is unlike his numerous other eateries.

“I’ve done lots of startups in Ithaca [and] currently operate seven brick-and-mortar locations in Ithaca, so we [have] got lots going on,” Sullivan said. “As far as The Embassy goes, this is my first brunch spot. So the menu is new to us.”

The Embassy offers two distinct menus — a brunch menu and a tapas-style dinner menu. While it typically closes at 10 p.m. on weekdays, closing time extends to as late as 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

“We’ve got lots of comfort food on the menu right now,” Sullivan said. “Currently the menus are essentially a brunch menu and then what we call an evening fair menu. So [it is] not a complete dinner menu, but a sizable enough offering to come and eat dinner [while still predominantly] aimed around cocktailing and having appetizers.”

The Embassy features indoor and outdoor seating arrangements, a lounge area with fireplaces, a chic bar setting, a contemporary dining room, an exclusive private patio and board games. Sullivan said that these amenities are meant to appeal to travelers who encounter The Embassy on a trip to Ithaca. 

“We wanted to have The Embassy feel like a home away from home,” Sullivan said. “Something that when you’re out traveling internationally, it is still your home soil.” 

The Embassy took the space of Aladdin’s Natural Eatery, which was open for 30 years until its closing in 2019. Sullivan explained the process of transforming the remains of this Mediterranean-themed restaurant into The Embassy’s more modern look required drastic changes. 

“The place was the same restaurant for over almost 30 years. And so when we did this concept change into The Embassy to try to really bring in dining traffic and beverage sales, we wanted to make sure the whole place was freshened up, so it looks completely different,” Sullivan said. “Everything from the furniture to the paint job, the whole place looks very different than it did four months ago.”

Plans for The Embassy began in 2020, and Sullivan spent much of the planning process deliberating on the establishment’s location, ultimately deciding to open a new establishment instead of consolidating the two existing Luna locations.

“This concept is something that we had written for quite a while and we were just waiting for the right time to actually launch in a location to do so,” Sullivan said. “When we combined the two Luna stores into one post-pandemic, we knew it would cause business to wind down a little bit. [The Embassy] was a great concept for this location and the market up here in Collegetown as it evolves over the next 10 years.”

The Embassy has seen success in marketing for event bookings since its opening, according to Sullivan.

“We’re already having a significant number of event bookings here and we’ve really been getting the word out to have groups come,” Sullivan said. “Groups can range from a 20-person brunch all the way up to a 100-person mixer. This is a flexible space where it’s easy to get in and rent the place out and at an affordable cost as well.”

Sullivan sees The Embassy as a novel asset to the entire Ithaca community.

“I’m really excited about The Embassy because I think it brings something that’s really unique to Collegetown and, to be frank, to Ithaca in general,” Sullivan said. “What we tried to do is create a concept that was going to act as a destination not only for the surrounding community but also Collegetown itself.”

Jonathan Mong ’25 contributed reporting.