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Dig In: The Best Upstate New York Spots for Comfort Food


For Americans, November is the month of turkey, stuffing, and comfort food. And although the official Thanksgiving holiday isn’t celebrated until November 24 – our restaurants begin the celebration early by offering comfort food all month long. As we sit down for our traditional Turkey Day meals (followed by the post-dinner food coma…) it’s a great time for you to visit Upstate New York and dig in to some comfort foods of your own!

Make your first stop Drifters, located inside Hilton Garden Inn Rochester Downtown. Start the night with their Poutine appetizer before diving into other classic comfort foods (with a twist) – like their Ratatouille Sandwich – which uses locally sourced ingredients. Join other “drifters” to meet up with old friends, make new ones and fill-up on food and wine from the Finger Lakes Region. The reclaimed wood finishes and stone bar tops provide a comfortable, cozy atmosphere that will make you feel like you’re enjoying from your home.

Also in the Rochester area is Simply Crepes restaurant – a favorite of mine for their traditional dessert crepes and less traditional entrée crepes. While great entrée options are offered year-round (Buffalo Chicken Crepe anyone?) they just announced the return of the Turkey Feast Crepe in November, a gravy-smothered creation combining turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other thanksgiving favorites in one delicious dish.

About an hour and a half south of the city, in Hammondsport, NY Union Block Italian Bistro is known for their home-style Southern Italian & Mediterranean-inspired food. There’s something about splitting warm garlic bread with family or friends in this quaint, little restaurant that heats up even the coldest November nights. Union Block is even hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner on November 24 at Silvernail, their beautiful off-site event center. The menu includes pumpkin bisque, parmesan cream & roasted garlic mashed potatoes, porchetta-spiced roasted turkey, maple-glazed salmon filets and more. My mouth is already watering!

Head northeast to Verona, NY where Turning Stone Resort Casino has over 20 restaurant and dining locations to choose from. While they all serve up a mean meal, you have to visit Upstate Tavern for their take on familiar classics. Upstate Tavern’s meals suit the heartiest appetites, including crave-worthy comfort foods that will make you feel at home. These dishes tap into tried-and-true regional favorites, using locally sourced ingredients when available. Upstate also features a wide selection of rotating craft beers - the perfect pairing for any meal.

Continue east to Project 29 Pub & Filling Station for great food and good brews. Project 29 serves crowd favorites such as the “Reuben Our Way” or “Grandma Susie’s Grilled Cheese,” as well as fare for foodies like the “Muscles with Muscle” or “P.L.G.T.” which includes pancetta, lettuce, smoked gouda and glazed tomatoes on toasted bread. Their wooden interior provides a comfy, cabin-feel that is warm and welcoming, and since they’re part of Brew Central, their beer list is nothing less than impressive.

Thanksgiving may be over for Canada, but the feasting doesn’t have to stop there!