Trying to figure out which restaurants in Corning to add to your itinerary? Here’s everywhere I’ve been so far and a few friends have recommended that I plan to visit in the future!
Of all the things to do in Corning, my favorite has to be finding new eateries to try. I’ve been to town four times now (for a conference and working with Finger Lakes Wine Country), so I’ve had time to eat around.
There are a ton of options on Market Street alone, and each time I visit, I try to go to new places. From classic bar food to elevated bistro-style spot, Corning has a ton of options. Heck, it even has a giant Wegman’s if you’re on a budget and need to pick-up groceries instead of eating out every meal! (If you’ve never been to a Wegman’s – go. It’s magical).
Anyway, here are all the restaurants in Corning that I’ve tried as well as four that friends have recommended.
Quick Corning Travel Tips
- Getting in: For those that fly in, the closest airport is in Elmira Corning Regional Airport, and it’s a 15-minute drive. Since I live in PA, I’ve always driven up and it takes about 4 hours.
- Money Matters: You should be fine with credit cards wherever you are. There’s maybe one or two small spots that require cash, so as a rule of thumb have $20-40 on hand just in case.
- Where to Stay: I prefer staying in downtown Corning since you can walk everywhere. I’ve always stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn which is a good middle distance between Gaffer’s District and CMoG.
- Getting Around: In Corning, you can walk everywhere easily. You’ll want a car to go to other towns and wineries though.
7 Restaurants in Corning that I’ve Tried
1. Hand + Foot
Alyshia and I went to Hand + Foot after we spent an hour or so at the Rockwell Museum for lunch. It’s a small bar and restaurant only two blocks away along the main stretch and had a nice lunch menu! We did the classic thing of getting two dishes and splitting, and I remember the fried buttermilk chicken sandwich was delicious. We also got the cold sesame noodle dish which was that nice balance between light and filling!
The restaurant itself was founded in 2014 and its name comes from a card game the founders’ family played often. The game brings up fond memories and invokes the sort of community vibe they hope Hand + Foot brings to Corning.
In addition to lunch, they have a dinner and a late night menu, so it’s a fun spot to check out if you’re out at night!
2. Nickel’s Pit BBQ
Funny enough, Alyshia and I were originally planning to go to Nickel’s Pit BBQ on my fall trip, but we just couldn’t face any restaurant with “bbq” in the name after spending a few hours at Sweet Farm near Penn Yan, so we passed.
Instead I stopped in a year alter after my half marathon weekend to grab a (large) bite before starting my Finger Lakes road trip. As the name suggests, this is a classic BBQ joint – aka perfect for someone who just rant 13.1 miles the day before. The “Nickel” comes from founder Nicholas Thayer’s nickname. They source all their ingredients as locally as possible and the menu is pretty much a meat lover’s dream.
I think it was my friend’s husband who recommended I get the pig wings, so I ordered the combo and was NOT disappointed. Their pig wings are St. Louis cut ribs that are smoked for 3-4 hours and crisped in a fryer. YUM.
They also have a Watkins Glen location if you’re over there!
3. Old World Cafe
Old World Café has been in Corning for about two decades now and was founded by Jennifer and Chris Herman after they moved to the area. Everything here is made to feel like a Victoria ice cream parlor with cozy, old-timey interiors and a classic American menu. I haven’t managed to grab lunch here but I did grab an ice cream after one of my dinners! I think they were opened late for the marathon weekend because normally they’re only open 11:00 – 4:00.
4. Poppleton Bakery
There aren’t many restaurants in Corning that offer breakfast, especially during the week, but Poppleton Bakery & Cafe is one of the few. While they mainly specialize in cakes, crepes, and scones, they have a really nice breakfast menu. If memory serves, I got a breakfast sandwich and Alyshia got a breakfast burrito. They’re the kind of spot that has all their items listed up on a chalkboard behind the register.
If you have a sweet tooth, their gourmet drinking chocolate is supposed to be delicious. We were just there early in the morning and more in need of coffee than hot chocolate!
5. Soul Full Cafe
If you’re traveling with a coffee snob, you’re going to want to take them to Soul Full Cafe. This is the coffee spot in Corning and has been since the nineties. They use freshly roasted Arabica coffee beans sourced from small farmers and their coffee menu is extensive. You can even order ahead on their website if you’re in a hurry.
6. The Cellar
Right next to Poppleton, The Cellar is a great spot for dinner! It’s actually now owned by long-time executive chef, Michael Lanahan and his wife, Ellen, and focuses on locally-sourced produce. They even list the farms they work with on their website.
I stopped in when I came up for the Wineglass Marathon weekend and got the artichoke dip, duck breast, and creme brûlée! All very delicious, and my waiter was friendly without being overbearing. I would say the atmosphere is a little more elevated than casual, so don’t feel you need to dress-up but maybe don’t show up in sweatpants.
7. The Quincy Exchange
If you’re looking for a fancier night out, I’ve loved The Quincy Exchange both times I went. It’s located in an old bank building with some really gorgeous interiors (I love their tropical accent wall!). The food is on the gourmet side with some seasonal changes. I’ve enjoyed the duck breast both times I got it, but if you come when their fall menu is out, definitely get the pumpkin risotto.
Best bonus of all? Not only is there no tipping, it’s actively discouraged. Menu prices reflect the fact that staff is paid a living wage with bhealth benefits and continued educational opportunities.
4 Restaurants in Corning Still on My List
8. Aniello’s pizzeria
If you want some classic Italian and, my friend Allie says Aniello’s Pizzeria is THE place she always goes when she visits home in nearby Elmira. It’s been a mainstay for over forty years and has the best pizza in town. I have yet to go but I keep wanting to – next time’s the charm!
9. Butcher’s Son
I fully intended to visit Butcher’s Son but the only open time I had was on Monday – when they were closed. It’s fairly new to the scene but supposed to have really incredible burgers.
Mooney’s is a pretty classic Irish bar, so I think it’d be fun to visit if you want to grab drinks or try and meet people. It also looks fantastic for mac n’ cheese lovers. About 1/6 of their menu is entirely mac n’ cheese variations and they even have a Monster Mac Challenge.
11. Nine Elephants
If you’re craving Thai food, Nine Elephants is supposed to be quite good! They also serve other non-Thai dishes like Cajun fries, fried catfish, and New Zealand mussels.
And there you have it – all the restaurants in Corning that I’ve tried so far! Any you’d recommend that aren’t on this list? Always finding an excuse to make my way back to the Finger Lakes!
For more Finger Lakes travel, read these next:
- Hammondsport: A Guide to America’s Coolest Small Town
- Owego Travel Guide: A Southern Gateway to the Finger Lakes
- Watkins Glen State Park: A Hiking Guide to this Magical Spot in New York
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