3

Buffalo Wild Wings


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410 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-0340

Ithaca probably had plenty of chicken wings already, we're checking out Buffalo Wild Wings, the latest chain restaurant to open in town. On Route 13 in Ithaca's southwest, Buffalo Wild Wings serves not just wings and so-called "boneless wings," but wraps, burgers, and even ribs. We were pleasantly surprised that the wing sauces had lots of flavor. The hot actually was, and the spicy garlic and garlic parmesan both weren't shy about the garlic.

3

Chili's Grill & Bar

608 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-5004

This national chain restaurant in Ithaca's southwest serves up American grill-style fare and southwest-themed food, ranging from their famous baby-back ribs to Mexican-style fare like quesadillas and tacos, as well as burgers and sandwiches. The burgers are overcooked as a matter of policy, but we've loved the Cajun tuna sandwich and the country fried steak. The bar specializes in decent margaritas, and it's always buy-one-get-one-free "happy hour" no matter the time of day.

4

Chipotle Mexican Grill

740 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-0437

Now open in Ithaca's southwest, Chipotle is one of several chains specializing in burritos and similar fare assembled to order. Their philosophy leans toward quality food produced as sustainably as possible.

4

Fat Jack's BBQ

344 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-0920

A new BBQ joint in Ithaca's southwest, Fat Jack's is part of a small Philadelphia-area chain focusing on slow-roasted meats and suitable side dishes. They offer pulled pork, slow-cooked brisket, shredded chicken, ribs, and more, with sandwiches, plates, and family-sized orders. The sandwiches are satisfying, with a hearty roll, but the plates let you get at the meat without distraction. Try the burnt ends. For now, there aren't really vegetarian offerings; most of the side dishes are cooked with meat. They do plan to add some vegetarian dishes down the road.

5

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

222 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-256-2565

Ithaca's is the 475th franchise of this DC-based chain that specializes in just burgers, hot dogs, and fries, all freshly prepared to order. The Five Guys web site says there are over 200,000 ways to order your burger, but if you want chicken nuggets, or cheese sticks, or milkshakes, or cherry pie, you'll have to go somewhere else. For fast food, the burgers are outstanding. Vegetarian options are limited to a grilled cheese sandwich or a burger-without-the-burger, plus the fries, but we know lots of vegetarians who are delighted with these.

3

Ithaca Beer Taproom

122 Ithaca Beer Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-0766

Now open at the new Ithaca Beer facility, set back from Route 13 and Five Mile Drive (Route 13A) southwest of Ithaca near Buttermilk Falls, the Taproom offers sandwiches, burgers, and flatbread pizzas under the supervision of Leslie Muhlhahn, known for Just Desserts baked goods and the former Queen of Tarts cafe.

4

Ling Ling

222 Elmira Road
Ithaca Shopping Plaza
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-0718

Ling Ling, a pair of carry-out or eat-in Chinese restaurants, offers quick and inexpensive and tasty Chinese food. They offer a surprising variety of Szechuan, Hunan, and Cantonese cooking a la carte, with several options available as combo dinners ($7-8 or so for entree plus fried rice and egg roll), and a couple dozen lunch special possibilities, where $5 or so gets you an entree with fried rice, plus soup or an egg roll. The expanded East Hill location offers bottles of beer and fancier seating.

3

Main Moon Buffet

401 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-3399

Ithaca’s original "Chinese Buffet," Main Moon has expanded in response to the arrival of competing buffets in town. They’ve added sushi and a more complete salad bar, in addition to the wide array of Chinese food and such kid-friendly offerings as chicken wings and french fries. There are always vegetarian dishes on the buffet.

3

Manos Diner

357 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-1173

Dubbed "The Diner of Fate" by those who know, Manos offers the usual diner fare, from breakfasts 24 hours a day to sandwiches, burgers, and entrees, plus a full bar (and a nearly identical food menu) in the attached Ichabod's. Manos is perfect for an inexpensive but filling breakfast. Later in the day, try the fries with a side of gravy, and if you’re in the mood for a big meal, the turkey dinner can’t be beat. Ichabod's also features a nice, fresh salad bar, great with your dinner. The downside of a decades-old diner is that the building is showing its age.

0

Mark's Pizzeria

222 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-2727

The latest of over 40 locations of this 25-year-old pizza chain, Ithaca's new Mark's Pizzeria joins nearby branches in Groton, Auburn, Cortland, and Ovid. Listed only.

4

Moe's Southwest Grill


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324 Elmira Road
NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-6637

Call it Mexican food or southwestern food, Moe's is all about putting food in tortillas in various forms. Moe's welcomes visitors with an assembly line, very much like That Burrito Place or even Subway. The place is colourful and full of energy, a perfect match to the southwest-style pseudo-Mexican fare. You can get a well-stuffed taco for three bucks or even less, or an overflowing salad in a big tortilla shell, or a burrito or quesadilla. Try fajita steak, ground beef, or chicken in any of the above, or even veggies or tofu.

2

Panera Bread

748 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-2590

They style themselves an upscale bakery, but Panera Bread is really just a soup, salad, and sandwich eatery with counter service. The food's not bad, but the slim portions, high prices, and general air of confusion behind the counter make it tough to justify a return visit. The many-columned menu board, with its "signature" and "premium signature" price bumps, is also optimized for making you spend more than you thought you were going to. If the place is full, it's probably because someone who bought a $2 item has parked at a table for two hours to enjoy the Wi-Fi.

4

Smart Yogurt

335 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-1491

Sharing a building with C.T. Bento next to the Hampton Inn, Smart Yogurt in Ithaca's Southwest offers frozen yogurt with an ever-changing array of toppings, such as pastel-colored M&Ms for Easter. The yogurts themselves range from a basic, tart yogurt similar to Greek-style yogurt, to fun "birthday cake" and "cookies 'n cream" options, and there's even a green tea yogurt made with top-notch tea imported from Japan. Toppings include the expected crumbled cookies and candy bits, but also a surprising variety of fruit, some of it fresh.

0

Spicy Asian


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335 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-7017

This new eatery in Ithaca's southwest, offering both Chinese and Japanese dishes, is in the former home of C.T. Bento and Smart Monkey Cafe. We hear they have good Szechuan food and a limited sushi selection.

4

Tim Hortons

411 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone:

This Canada-based chain of coffee, donut, and sandwich shops snuck into Ithaca a few years ago thanks to a deal to open a coffee kiosk in most Tops Friendly Markets stores, but we finally have the full experience. Tim Hortons offers breakfast sandwiches in addition to the coffee and donuts, plus the famous Timbits, but in the afternoon and evening they add excellent freshly made sandwiches and soups to the mix. Stop in for a snack or a meal, and pick up a canister of their great and affordably priced coffee for home, while you're at it.

0

Tokyo Japanese Hibachi


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722 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-8888

Newly opened in Ithaca's Southwest, Tokyo Japanese Hibachi Sushi and Asian Bistro offers hibachi prepared tableside, sushi, and other Japanese specialties. Their restaurant, in the former home of King Buffet and Sammy's Italian Buffet and Grill near Tops, has a dining room, a sushi bar, and hibachi tables.

4

Wendy's

326 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-3526

What is it they say about the underdog trying harder? Wendy's is dwarfed by McDonald's and Burger King, but we think that, as a general rule, they offer the best-tasting, best-quality food of the three. Despite occasional missteps like chicken nuggets dressed up as "boneless wings," Wendy's has very good burgers, delightful spicy chicken sandwiches, and top-notch (and affordable) side dishes like salads and baked potatoes.

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