We love true Finger Lakes food festivals, like the well-known Garlic Fest at Fox Run Vineyards held every summer. This coming weekend another fantastic culinary party will be thrown on the streets of Naples to celebrate the purple grape, grown in abundance in the Finger Lakes region. In our summer issue the Edible Excursions column focused on the town of Naples and where to eat and drink while visiting this cute little spot. For those of you heading to Naples this weekend for the purple party we thought you might like to see our recommendations.
The Pie Capital of the Finger Lakes
Tucked into the hillside below the southernmost part of Canandaigua Lake, stepping onto Main Street in Naples is like stepping back in time. There are tree lined streets with American flags waving in the wind. Hotels with wide front porches host small crowds gathered to enjoy live music. Families stroll up and down the broad sidewalks where there is a mix of commerce, residence and overall good cheer. And the eating options also showcase a wide variety of classic American style cuisine, making this a great spot for a culinary daytrip. Naples is certainly a top contender for the pie capital of the Finger Lakes as several pie businesses have their headquarters here, most of them relying on the local fruit from nearby orchards and farms. But even if you aren’t a dessert person, you’ll fill up on the savory offerings in this quaint little village. Check out these spots to get a taste of what makes this destination so special.
Naples Grape Festival The food festival that put Naples on the map as the premiere grape-crazed town in the region. What started in the early 60’s has become a must visit for thousands of locals and tourists looking to appreciate our abundant grape harvest, our talented chefs, musicians and artisans. Years ago the town decided to paint all the fire hydrants purple for the festival and the idea stuck. Look for the purple colored hydrants as you enjoy this lovely event (held September 28–29 this year) as a sign of Naples’ commitment to our top crop. Naplesgrapefest.org
Roots Café A regional top spot for locavores and eaters with high standards for quality ingredients. Melissa Neubauer and Michelle Halloran run this vibrant (in both décor and dishes) bistro that could have been plucked out of Napa or some other high end wine region. The burgers are famous for being local and luscious but the pastries are out of this world too. Homemade doughnuts anyone? 197 N. Main Street, 585.374.9800, inspiremoorewinery.com. [Just announced=Roots will close at the end of November 2013 so get in here quick!]
Monica’s Pies To be honest, Monica’s Pies was one of the reasons we started this magazine. When we found out that there were people living in this region that didn’t know about this amazing place, we decided something had to be done about that. Monica Schenk and her crew of pastry perfectionists are puréeing, hand rolling and baking their way into the culinary history books with this spot just north of town. The pie offerings are too numerous to mention here but we’ve tried almost all of them and they’re all good. It’s a struggle picking just one so we usually buy two, or three or… 7599 Route 21,585.374.2139, monicaspies.com
The Grainery All the locals recommend this cozy spot for breakfast and lunch and with good reason. Fresh baked bagels and other house made pastries consume your nostrils when you step inside. Sandwiches and salads are creative and wholesome. In the cooler months the highlights are warm bowls of hearty soups. Did we mention they make their own bagels? 110 S. Main Street, 585.374.8220
Inspire Moore It’s one of the joys of living in a wine region that you can get to know the winemaker and have an intimate tasting experience with them. Tim and Dianne Moore seem to be always on site at this lovely winery, educating consumers and sharing their wine wisdom. Their lineup offers a mix of something for every palate but we’re partial to the newly released Timothy Moore line of high-quality single vineyard Rieslings and Cabernet Francs. 197 N. Main Street, 585.374.5970, inspiremoorewinery.com.
Joseph’s Wayside Market A classic open air market where you can just pull over to the side of the road as you enter from the southern part of town, Joseph’s has been around for coming on 60 years now. Browse for fresh fruits, including sweet crunchy table grapes, fruit pies, breads, local honey, jams and seasonal vegetables. Local artisans sell their wares here 4048 U.S. Route 20, 585.396.2537, nakeddovebrewing.com
Naples Mercantile A newcomer to Main Street, Naples Mercantile is another one of the types of businesses that should exist in every town in the Finger Lakes. Husband and wife team Matt and Heather Collins opened this little store to offer up the best locally made products and other eco-friendly goods. The best of the local small scale food producers get shelf space here, including Flour City Pasta and StonyBrook Oils, while produce from nearby farms is available too. An upcoming expansion will give them room for cooking classes on pickling, preserving and cheese making. Check their Facebook page for the progress. 126 S. Main Street, 585.531.9020
Jules’ Kitchen Southwestern Diner Get up early to hit breakfast in this cozy hot spot featuring spicy Tex Mex fare. House made Jalapeno Sausage Gravy over fresh biscuits is just what is needed before a day of hiking and wine tasting. Or have a lunch of savory fish quesadillas in a crispy tortilla. The dinner menu offers substantial options like the Flatiron steak rubbed with spices and served with grilled peppers and onions. 114 N Main Street, 585.531.9056 juleskitchen.net
Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars If there is a dynasty in the Finger Lakes wine industry it is the Hazlitt family. When the Widmer wine production facility closed its doors, many locals worried for the future of the property. But when the Hazlitt family announced they were relocating production of their famous Red Cat sweet wines to the spot in Naples there was a sigh of relief and lots of support. Even if you aren’t a Red Cat fan, the displays of the history of this facility and winemaking in the Finger Lakes is worth visiting. 1 Lake Niagara Lane, 888.750.0494 redcatwine.com
Bob and Ruth’s Yes, there was a Bob and a Ruth that started this place 70 years ago, though now this local landmark is run by a Tammy and a Danny and it still offers everything you would want from an old time diner. Endless cups of coffee, house made pies, friendly waitresses and booths that offer a great view of Main Street activity. Open April to October. 204 N Main Street, 585.374.5122
Brown Hound Bistro There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how much we love the Brown Hound, and clearly we aren’t alone. Touted by locals as place they are most proud of, the Brown Hound is one of the region’s leading farm-to-table establishments. Local meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies and of course wines, get center stage here and owner Trish Aser and her crew take inspiration from what is in season to create delicious, innovative menus. 6459 Route 64, 585.374.9771, brownhoundbistro.com
Brews and Brats at Arbor Hill Grapery Grape and wine lovers stay in the front, beer and sausage people head to the back of the house. That’s the arrangement at Arbor Hill, one of the pioneers of the Finger Lakes grape growing and wine making industry. The wines here highlight the hybrids while specialty brews that complement the food are served in the restaurant. The brats include top notch choices like the Bristol Brat, an Austrian style pork sausage with onion, garlic, fresh parsley and oregano. The barn where the restaurant is located has live music and a fun atmosphere. 64661 Route 64, 585.374.2870, brewsandbrats. com1 Lake Niagara Lane, 888.750.0494,
A version of this article appeared in our Summer 2013 issue. Be a subscriber and you can read the entire issue (and all our issues) online so you never miss a single bite.