Brunch is the most exciting part of any weekend because a fresh cup of steaming coffee, sweet, flaky pastries and some beautifully runny eggs are the perfect remedy to the Sunday scaries. I especially love taking an hour on the weekends to try new restaurants in Ithaca with friends, where we can relax and enjoy good food before heading back up the hill to the library. I was excited to find Coltivare, a New American restaurant located in the Commons. Its chic atmosphere was the perfect getaway from campus.
For decades, 143 Maple Avenue served as the business office for a series of companies tasked with distributing coal to the city of Ithaca. Today, it continues to warm the bodies and souls of students and residents, albeit in a far more tasty manner.
The Northstar Plate, a dish that can satisfy both your sweet and savory breakfast cravings, comes with choice of French toast or pancakes, bacon or sausage and potatoes or grits with two eggs your way. Northstar’s French toast is soaked overnight, giving it a cinnamon-y flavor throughout to its center. Topped with New York maple syrup, this French toast outshines all other French toast options in Ithaca.
A choice spot for brunch has a few early indicators of quality to look out for. The size of the crowd around brunch time is the first sign; one look through the doorway of Sunset Grill inspired confidence. The second, aroma, was immediately obvious as the sweet scent of the warm interior beckoned us to enter from the frigid parking lot and demanded that we stay. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the hot sauce waiting at the table speaks volumes about the establishment that placed it there. To sit at a table prepared for a medley of warmth and savory and be greeted with the familiar bottle of Frank’s RedHot is to be sure your chef knows what they are doing.
As you may or may not know from touring Cornell, Ithaca has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country (my tour guide actually did inform me of this fun fact when I was touring). This means that there’s pretty much an endless supply of restaurants to choose from for brunch, so I decided to compile a simple guide to some of the brunch places most relevant to Cornell students. The nine restaurants listed below are by no means an exhaustive list of the brunching options in Ithaca, but hopefully they will get you started on your brunching adventures and help you match your mood to the right brunch spot.
I love good food. But I also love good dining experiences. I love restaurants where you can sit for hours and not notice the time passing. I love restaurants that offer more than food to sit over while you make small talk. I believe that dining should be an event. Madeline’s was able to offer this.
I hate breakfast. I never eat it. Forget about it being the most important meal of the day — I’m either rushing out the door to get to class, or sleeping in until lunchtime anyway. But brunch? Now we’re talking.