Lunch at Finger Lakes House in Elmira
City Guides,  Travel Guides,  Upstate New York

Hungry? These Breweries and Restaurants in Elmira Are Sure to Satisfy Your Appetite!

Last updated on March 24, 2021.

There are so many things that make Elmira, New York such a great place to visit. It’s the soaring capital of the United States. Mark Twain wrote several of his famous novels there. Ernie Davis started his football career in Elmira. But while you’re visiting such incredible sites, you’re bound to get hungry. Luckily there are some fantastic breweries, bars, and restaurants in Elmira that will cure your cravings.

Worried about the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic? No worries, these places all offer take out options. So you can enjoy the delectable dishes from the comfort of your own home. While you’re at it, take a virtual tour around the world while eating on your couch.

A special thank you to Chemung County Chamber of Commerce for hosting me on my trip to Elmira and the restaurants mentioned.

BRUNCH – Rye Bar & Restaurant

There’s no better way to start a weekend morning than with brunch, am I right?! And the best place for brunch in Elmira is most definitely Rye Bar & Restaurant. Bought by owner Charlie Hunter in July 2019, Rye has such an awesome vibe. It feels like you’re stepping back in time to the speakeasy area with the vintage-inspired furnishing and decadent bar. Fun fact: all of the artwork around the restaurant is photography from around Elmira.

And the food? Incredible! The staff at Rye really puts their passion into the meals they create. French toast, shirred eggs, croquet monsieur and croquet madame, chicken & waffles… so many delicious choices! Even better, they have bottomless mimosas on Sundays.

Rye currently has limited hours for delivery and pick-up, and has paused brunch for the winter. But that hasn’t stopped them from creating some wonderful dishes. To keep up-to-date with them, check out their Facebook page where they are posting live videos from the kitchen and featuring daily take-out specials.

LUNCH & DRINKS – Finger Lakes House

Unfortunately, Finger Lakes House is currently closed due to the pandemic.

Finger Lakes House is one of those places that I wish was near my home because I’d be there all the time. From the cozy vibe and friendly staff to the delicious food and beautiful deck with a view, what’s not to love? Plus, the Mexican street corn dip is honestly one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had.

The owners spent several years in western New York before moving to the Finger Lakes region. They were surprised to find that there weren’t many places outside of the breweries and wineries themselves featuring the local craft drinks. So Bill & Karen opened up their own place to share their love with their customers!

Treat yourself to a Saturday afternoon enjoying a local beer or wine while watching the ospreys nesting over the Chemung River. You won’t regret it.

Looking for a place to walk off those calories? Check out these places to hike in Elmira.

DINNER – 1157 North

I found the perfect place for a date night meal in Elmira: 1157 North. If you’re looking for a cozy spot with unbelievably delicious, fresh, and flavorful meals, this is your spot.

Joe & Mona Steigerwald bought the restaurant (previously the Palms) from Mary Canali in 2016. With its 70-year history, Joe and Mona gave their respect to the former owner and learned from her to make 1157 North the best it could be. The cozy restaurant features classic Italian dishes mixed with some American classics. Every dish is freshly made with the most flavorful ingredients. I got a chance to chat with Joe and you could see the passion that he and his wife have for their business and their customers.

You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. We started out with the fried mozzarella, which was perfectly cheesy and delicious. While my husband opted for a classic steak and fries, I had one of the best meals of my life – seared scallops over spinach pesto risotto. Basically several of my favorite things in one. And the flavors! So incredible. I wish I could eat it every day.

Also, don’t forget to save room for dessert! Their baker creates some spectacular sweets, which are just as fresh and flavorful as the meals. Carrot cake, cheesecake, peanut butter pie, crème brulée… Is your mouth watering yet?

I’ll also let you in on a little secret: 1157 North is owned by my best friend’s aunt and uncle. But don’t worry, that did not impact my review or opinions of the food or the experience. Honestly, I’m so proud to say that I have this connection to such a gem!


You know that I can’t spend a weekend in a new place without visiting the local breweries. Luckily, Elmira has some great breweries to choose from – check them out!

Horseheads Brewing Co

Horseheads Brewery

Horseheads Brewing Co was opened in 2007 by Ed & Brenda Simchelson. They operated the brewery for 11 years before choosing to move on in 2018. That’s when the Lilly family stepped in. Passionate about local craft beer, wine, and spirits, purchasing Horseheads Brewing was an obvious choice for them! The brewery reopened in early 2019 after the two families collaborated to continue the legacy of the beers people had grown to know and love.

As you might suspect, many of the beer names pay homage to horses, connecting the beers to the village of Horseheads where it is located. That theme continues throughout the taproom, where visitors can sit on saddle stools at the bar! With a variety of beer styles to choose from, there is something for everyone. But it should come as no surprise that I fell in love with the OMfG Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter!

Horseheads Brewing offers indoor and outdoor seating with rotating food trucks when the weather allows.

Upstate Brewing Company

Award-winning Upstate Brewing Company has made a name for itself around the state. And for good reason! After 10 years in business, they know how to create great beer. Their brews are fresh and flavorful, and the service was on point. (It didn’t hurt that the bartender’s dogs came in for a visit!)

IPA lovers will have lots of hoppy choices to choose from, and their rotating DSRT SZN stout is another great option. I was a huge fan of their 2020 Ale made with a variety of fresh hops and local honey.

Upstate has a decent-sized taproom and lots of outdoor seating with some incredible murals to enjoy. Food trucks rotate at the brewery, so there’s always something new to eat while you drink!

Exploring more of Upstate New York?
Check out the breweries in Syracuse or the wineries around Cayuga Lake.

Restaurants in Elmira

Next time you’re planning a trip around New York, make sure to include a stop in Elmira. There are so many great places to eat or grab a drink. And the views? Absolutely incredible. You’ll understand why the landscape of Chemung County inspired Mark Twain’s writing.

Which of these restaurants in Elmira is your favorite? Have another recommendation? Let me know in the comments!

Tell me your thoughts!