14 Ithaca Restaurants, Desserts, and Drinks to Try This Spring


With spring comes new beginnings — and a chance to try new things.

When friends, family and new employees gather, food is a medium through which memories are made, palates expanded and the warmer weather celebrated in a colourful, beautiful landscape.

From grab-and-go to grab-and-go meals, from Cayuga Heights to Ithaca Commons, this round-up features an array of restaurants, dessert shops, and bars to try.

This spring, tick the stops on this list – we’ve put them in alphabetical order – one at a time.

Where to find savory foods this spring

BoatYard Grill

For guests looking for beautiful water views in the warmer weather, this restaurant offers just that, along with inviting food.

This surf-and-turf offerings menu includes a classic Seafood Fra Diavolo (jumbo shrimp, calamari, bay scallops, roasted capers, spicy Arrabbiata sauce and linguine), an 8-ounce filet mignon steak, wines, beer locally sourced cocktails and succulent desserts, like the melted chocolate cake.

Location: 525 Old Taughannock Boulevard, Ithaca.

Hours: 4pm-9pm Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday; 4pm-10pm Friday-Saturday.

Hawi Ethiopian Cuisine is open at 113 S. Cayuga St. in Ithaca.

Hawi Ethiopian cuisine

When the sun comes out and more gatherings are planned, Hawi offers large portions and combinations for friends, families and individuals – from her vegetarian dish Misir Wat (red lentils in onion and tomato sauce and Ethiopian spices, berbere) to her own Yebeg Alicha (a halal meal of lamb in an onion and turmeric stew).

As the only Ethiopian restaurant in Ithaca, this location at 113 S. Cayuga St. offers flavorful dishes for a range of palates and dietary needs, including meat, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free eaters.

Location: 113 S. Cayuga St., Ithaca.

Hours: 3pm-9:30pm Tuesday-Sunday.

Mama Said Hand Pies sells a selection of savory hand pies on Press Bay Alley.

Mom said hand pies

These sweet and savory cakes are a delicious hand option that people can take on their springtime adventures, work breaks, and date nights.

From their best-selling potato and New York cheddar pie, to their tempeh patty (tempeh, coconut milk, Scotch bonnet peppers, sofrito) to their blueberry hand pie, Mama Said Hand Pies on Press Bay Alley features flavors from around the corner world in a small company.

While the storefront is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30am to 6:00pm and is open to all, pre-orders are recommended on their website to ensure you can enjoy the special cakes you are craving.

Location: 118 W. Green St., Ithaca.

Hours: 11am to 6pm Tuesday-Saturday.

Soyong Lee and Chris Kim are the co-owners of Maru Ramen.

Maru Ramen

With its colorful exterior, Maru Ramen specializes in homemade broth prepared with time and care for ramen lovers. The restaurant also serves appetizers like seaweed salad, rolls including the Spicy Crab Sushi Roll, savory dishes like Beef Bul-Go-Gi (marinated beef, rice, and salad), and desserts to savor.

Collection and delivery are possible.

Location: 512 W. State St., Ithaca.

Hours: 11:30am to 9:00pm Sunday-Thursday; Friday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The legendary Moosewood Restaurant opened in 1973.  The restaurant, which is community owned and offers a healthy vegetarian menu, is still in its original location in the DeWitt Mall.

Moosewood Restaurant

Looking for vegetarian options and a chance to try a new seasonal menu?

The classic, renowned Moosewood Restaurant is open with outdoor seating when warm weather permits. You can reserve a table, order for curbside pickup and have it delivered.

Location: 215 N. Cayuga St., Ithaca.

Hours: 5pm-9pm Wednesday-Sunday.

Previous coverage:Moosewood Restaurant, an Ithaca staple, returns with new leadership and a new menu

Silo Food Truck's telekinetic chicken

Silo Food Truck

For Ithacans looking for locally sourced food this spring, the Silo Food Truck is the place to be.

They serve their signature rotisserie chicken (half a pound rotisserie chicken, cornbread and honey butter, gravy and coleslaw), macaroni and cheese (served with extra-spicy cheddar béchamel sauce), and sides like vegan coconut green curry (green curry with purple coconut sticky rice, Vegetables from Remembrance Farms, cashews and cucumber) along with other variations to create a complete meal to share or solo.

Location: 620 W. Green St., Ithaca.

Hours: 4pm-9pm Wednesday-Thursday; 4pm-10pm Friday; noon to 10am Saturday; 2pm-8pm Sunday.

The Greenhouse Cafe and Cocktail Lounge

With its beautiful interior, honey colored lights, lush greenery and large windows, the Greenhouse Café and Cocktail Lounge brings spring in with a great atmosphere for new beginnings.

Whether they’re in the mood to read a book, catch up with a friend, or get some work done, customers can customize their experience with a selection of appetizers, dishes, desserts, wine, beer, and lattes.

Personally, the chai tea latte, chicken sliders and peanut butter cookies along with a book at the bar make for a refreshing experience. If you can’t decide on something or are looking for a drink that isn’t on the menu, ask reception for suggestions.

Location: 320 E. State St., Ithaca.

Hours: 1pm-9pm Monday-Thursday; 11am to 11pm Friday-Saturday.

The Heights Restaurants and H Bar

Are you looking for an outdoor landscape, a place to indulge and celebrate life? Or would you like to try the Mediterranean-inspired American cuisine? Heights Restaurant does all of that.

Entrees include grilled Atlantic salmon, braised beef short ribs, seasonal vegetarian dishes (pumpkin, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, potato masala, and rice cake), handcrafted pizzas, appetizers, and notable wines. While indoor dining is an option, curbside pickup and private events are available.

Reservations are strongly recommended.

Location: 903 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca.

Hours: 5pm-9pm Monday-Thursday; 5pm-10pm Friday-Saturday.

curb: 4-8 p.m

Where to satisfy your sweet tooth

From ice cream to donuts to creamy cheesecake, each local spot has something sweet to offer that we’ve found for you to try this spring.

One Ring Donuts

This pickup-and-go donut shop on Press Bay Alley is perfect for a warm spring day. The fresh, delicious flavors include vanilla and chocolate frosting, Thai tea, cinnamon sugar, strawberry jam-filled chocolate frosting with sprinkles, and sour cream.

Location: 114 W. Green St., Ithaca.

Hours: 10am to 4pm Thursday-Sunday.

pure ice

When the sun comes out, Purity Ice Cream hosts delicious thick ice cream with generous portions, milkshakes, sundaes, baked goods and savory dishes including chicken sandwiches and veggie burgers with outdoor seating.

Location: 700 Cascadilla St., Ithaca.

Hours: 11am to 10pm Monday-Sunday.

A freshly baked pie at the Rashida Sawyer Bakery on March 17, 2022. The family-run bakery in downtown Ithaca specializes in desserts made from the recipes of founder Loraine Rashida Sawyer, who became the first black woman to graduate from Cornell did university school for hotel management.

Rashida Sawyer Bakery

Creamy cheesecake, carrot cake, sponge cake and other decadent desserts await those with a sweet tooth at Rashida Sawyer Bakery.

Location: 110 W. Green St., Ithaca.

Hours: 9am to 7pm Monday-Friday; Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For subscribers:Loraine Rashida Sawyer has retired from baking professionally. Then her family got involved.

Where to enjoy tasty drinks this spring

Whether you’re looking for the perfect sip for lunch on a spring afternoon, the most creative latte or tea to get you through the day, we’ve rounded up your options here.

Ithaca Beer Co.: Collegetown

This new Ithaca Beer Co. location in Collegetown, now with outdoor seating, offers a selection of beers, from fruity to refreshing and light ales, along with an array of food.

Location: 409 College Avenue, Ithaca.

Hours: Noon to 10pm Wednesday-Sunday.

Nothing nowhere

Would you like to try a new latte taste, an espresso or just a creative and savory combination from local artists? Try Nothing Nowhere before Home Green Home.

Location: 126 E. State St., Ithaca.

Hours: 11am to 6pm Wednesday-Monday.

Panda tea cafe

For Boba tea lovers, this Collegetown location is home to black teas, green teas and milk teas with an array of flavors available to order in person or online to complement any meal of your choosing.

Location: 407 Eddy St., Ithaca.

Hours: Monday to Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to midnight; 2:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 2pm-11pm Sunday.

Tell me over the spring what you’ve tried and what your experience was like. Do you have a suggestion? Email to [email protected] and look out for a new “Caroline Eats” column that features some of your previous recommendations.

Caroline Johnson is a food, dining and culture reporter for the Ithaca Journal. Email her at [email protected] keep following her @carolinewrites2 on Twitter for more stories and graphics.


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