We were up first thing in the morning to start our epic restaurant tour of Lewiston, NY. Getting things started was the Orange Cat Coffee Co, a favorite amount many of the locals. Even Iron Chef champion Geoffrey Zakarian once tweeted, “Best coffee in New York! Orange Cat rules!” The coffee at this shop is very unique, with many flavor infused combinations that will make your taste buds dance, even early in the morning. Everything is organic, nothing artificial…all the flavors are created during the roasting process. They even make their own scones and muffins, which are a great complement to the unique coffee blends.
Next up was a local institution for breakfast…Tommy George’s Villa Coffee House. We even got to meet Tommy himself who’s been serving up tasty food for five decades.
The menu reads, “Breakfast served all day – cheerfully,” which, in this case, is until 2pm. Famous for their thin pancakes with smily faces, which I can attest are quite delicious! We also tried the mixed eggs with corned beef hash and Italian toast.
Our third stop of the day was Mangia Cafe and Bakery. When you step inside Mangia Cafe & Bakery you’ll feel like you’ve entered a formal, yet cozy colonial dining room. High ceilings, a fireplace, and large windows are part of the decor. Their bakery case is full of all sorts of goodies to take home, like homemade cookies, muffins, sweet rolls, brownies, cakes, and more. Healthy breakfast choices can be found on the menu, including steel cut oats, sweet potato and flaxseed steel cut oats, and even gluten-free oatmeal. We however tried an assortment of items
- The tomato tart with caramelized onions, to the Salmon croquettes with freshly made tomato cucumber salsa with organic spinach, with olive oil/lemon dill dressing
- Chicken Waldorf sandwich on multigrain bread with fresh fruit
- Roasted red pepper quiche with fresh fruit salad
The Village Bake Shoppe
where they serve up a “Mile High” apple pie…one of the best I’ve ever had. One of the secrets to this deliciousness is slicing the apples very thin and stacking them so high that the pie ends up weighing over 4lbs. We also tried the “Hello Tracy cookie bar” which is similar to a hello dolly, but with a chocolate cookie crust, coconut and chocolate chips. Oh my!
After fulfilling our sweet tooth needs, we hit the Brickyard for some seriously tasty and huge portions of BBQ. Our quest for amazing BBQ was found at this popular local restaurant. All the meats are slow smoked with a perfect blend of Hickory & fruit woods for up to fourteen hours in an authentic wood pit BBQ smoker. We were treated to “The First Timer,” which included: 1/3 rack ribs, 1/4 smoked chicken, pulled pork, brisket, smoked turkey, and house rubbed chicken wings. Our platter could have easily served 3-4 people, and it nearly brought us to tears to leave so much behind, but we had other places to try.
Another local institution is Apple Granny, where locals go to get their fix for their Friday night fish fries. We tried their crab and cheddar haddock, chicken wings, beef on weck, and, an awesome blossom.
After all this eating, it was time for a palate cleanse of sorts, so we hit Hibbard’s Custard—Hibbard’s custard will put your ordinary soft serve ice cream to shame. Made fresh throughout the day and the design of the custard machine, allows less air into the custard, leaving you with a creamer and richer treat then ice cream. We had some fun with the customers, while I rounded them up outside, Brian served ’em up. Brian’s technique needed some work, so we had to give away most of our creations for free.
After a bit of goofing around, we headed to Macri’s Italian Garden, where the Macri Family has been serving up generous portions for the past 60 years. They feature authentic, chef-prepared Italian-American meals and premium wines. We had the opportunity to try the veal parmesan, gnocchi, mascarpone asparagus ravioli /oil garlic roasted pepper pine nuts and rolled lasagna filled with egg meatball mozzarella. Doesn’t get much more traditional than that.
We then visited the well-known DiCamillo Bakery, which has a national following and has been featured in Neiman Marcus. Famous for their thick-crusted, hearth-baked bread, thousands of loyal fan flock to the bakery everyday, and hundreds more have the bread shipped to their outo-of-state homes. You’ll see area visitors and tourists stock up with several loaves under their arms on their way out of town.
D’Avolios was next on our tour and gave us a bit of a break from the eating, here we had an opportunity to just taste. Once you visit this olive oil & vinegar store, you’ll quickly see why it’s becoming a Lewiston treasure. There are over 50 boutique hand-crafted extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) and delicious balsamic vinegars. As someone who loves cooking, I really enjoyed D’Avolios. I sampled the Milanese Gremolata olive oil mixed with Sicilian lemon white balsamic vinegar. Brian sampled garlic olive oil mixed with fig dark balsamic vinegar as well as the Manzanillo (from Spain) EVOO. We both tried the air popped popcorn drizzled with white truffle oil and white truffle sea salt. It was so good! We also tried the Manzanillo EVOO mixed with 18-Year balsamic vinegar, which had the consistency of a decadent syrup.
Continuing a break from eating, we stopped by Hops-n-Vines where we enjoyed a refreshing Mojito with freshly muddled mint. Hops-n-Vines offers an alluring journey into the world of wine and beer complimented with the area’s finest music.
By the time we reached Casa Antica, we were treated to a spread fit for a king. This family-run Italian restaurant prides themselves on a warm welcoming atmosphere and authentic homemade dishes originating from many regions of Italy. When dined al fresco on their beautiful outdoor patio and feasted on the following items:
- Veal chop Florentine: cut veal chop stuffed with perschutto asiago cheese and spinach. Topped in a balsamic reduction sauce with sautéed Portabella mushrooms and onions. Served over roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables.
- Chilean Sea Bass: Served in a lemon caper white wine sauce. Over home made spinach fettuccine and fresh spinach.
- Rissotto Asparaci e Capesante: Pan seared scallops served over a creamy risotto with sautéed asparagus and onions.
- Banana Peppers: Stuffed with Genova salami and pecorino cheese topped with our famous three cheese cream sauce.
- Arancina: Award winning rice balls are stuffed with aborio rice ground beef mozzarella cheese and snow peas.
- Involtini di melenzane: Breaded eggplant rollatini stuffed with ricotta baked and topped with melted mozzarella and marinara sauce.
Our next to last stop was Carmelos, where we were told the Western New York chefs eat…partly for its “farm to table” philosophy — harvesting fresh local food and presenting it to patrons in most creative and delicious ways. With that theme, we were joined by some special guests who supply Carmelos with some of their menu items. We were joined by Rich Tilyou from T-Meadow Farm and Jonathan Oakes from Leonard Oakes Winery; and local volunteers Leandra Collesano, Lisa Ohanessian, Zach Collister and Jude Russo Caserta, aka Jude The Foodie.
There was a big surprise waiting for us when we arrived at Carmelos…for starters, we had our own menu: TEAM ROAD BROS Butcher’s Supper, which included:
- Road Bros Cocktail: Steam Punk hard cider/Hudson Valley Baby Bourbon
- Starters: Butcher’s Plate: assortment of T-Meadow cured meats; Farm Stand Salad: Peggy’s Herbs/David’s Asparagus/Coulter’s Strawberries
- Main Course: T-Meadow farm Suckling Pig: Carolina BBQ sauce (this was an entire roasted pig carved up at our table.
- Sides: Cayuga Pure Organics: Faro Risotto; Hurtgam Farm Braised Chard; Roasted Root Vegetables in port jus
Our final stop for the evening was for dessert over looking the Niagara River at WaterStreet Landing.
Here we thoroughly enjoyed Banana Cream Puff Pastry
: Puff pastry dough, French vanilla ice cream, hand whipped cream, sliced bananas, baked meringue. Oh my.
As we were leaving, there was one last surprise Lewiston had in store for us. Unbeknownst to us, there was another community crowd gathering to give us a send off. As we exited the WaterStreet Landing we noticed a group of young folks on a stage waiting for us to make our way down a flight of stairs. Once there, this large high school choir group named, “Notoriety” performed three amazing songs. The performance was simply spectacular. It was unique and creatively arranged…I was actually disappointed when they finished as I could have listened to them for hours.
After the performance, a handful of dignitaries thanked us for coming, and Brian and I said our heartfelt goodbyes. Lewiston left an indelible mark in our hearts. Next year they should be nominated for “Most Friendly,” and in our minds would win hands down.