Owego is the most adorable little town est. in 1787 upstate NY, 32 miles (about 45 minute drive) from Ithaca in the Finger Lakes region – NY Wine country! It’s quaint town with it’s old buildings and dozens of antique shops scattered throughout, including a wonderful old bookshop with that wonderful old bookshop smell.
My mom moved here 3 months ago and this is the second trip I’ve made up to visit. This past weekend was the annual Strawberry festival, in which the main streets are closed for two days of block parties, local vendors, fair food and live bands throughout the weekend. #heartburn
Exploring this tiny town doesn’t take long, it consists of a few main streets along a river, beautiful victorian homes and a river walk.
There’s also an awesome brewery! The dining scene is pretty simple and straightforward; there’s a handful of places to eat and drink, we tried most of them and these were some of the most memorable:
For breakfast – Parkview
The Parkview is an old Bed & Breakfast no longer functioning along the river in the center of town. Now it’s a full service bar on one side and dining room on the other. Mum and I popped in for a surprisingly fantastic, fresh home cooked style breakfast. I ordered an omelette with spinach, bacon, peppers and onions. It came out piping hot with two pieces of their homemade rye toast. Pillowy, light and buttered the toast was worth the meal alone. The breakfast potatoes with onions are also excellent. The dining room is quite unassuming and feels like you’re in your great aunt’s dining room on Christmas morning. Old yet charming, the food is homemade and SO cheap. Two buttermilk pancakes for $2, my breakfast plate for $8.
For lunch – Back Alley Pig
The single best bite of food I had in Owego, The Korean Pork Sandwich from the Back Alley Pig.
With a walk up order window and picnic tables in a wooded gazebo, the Back Alley Pig is in the alley behind the restaurant Owego Kitchen on Lake Street.
This sammie consists of smokey shredded pork roast, kimchee aioli, Korean BBQ sauce, crispy onions and a pineapple slaw on a ciabatta bun. The combo of the creamy aioli, sweetness of the BBQ sauce and crunch from crispy onions with perfectly cooked pork = MAGIC. My tastebuds were dancing. Wonderful. They’re only open for lunch, 11am – 3pm. Put this on your must-do list. Mom ordered the “Garbage plate” which consisted of chili, macaroni salad, crispy onions, cornbread, pork, and more…
For perfectly seasoned BBQ, this is your place. The menu consists of several different sandwiches and juice/soda offerings. EAT HERE.
For Dinner – Calaboose
The Calaboose grille is in a historical renovated jailhouse. Bars are still in place as you dine within them.
The menu is pretty extensive with tons of options from pastas, salads and sandwiches, it would seem like pretty basic pub food, however everything is actually fantastic. Using fresh and local ingredients, everything is made to order and packs tons of flavor. We especially enjoyed their version of nachos, house made potato chips topped with creamy melted cheese. I loved the firecracker shrimp wrap, loaded with crisp lettuce, avocado, tomato, onion and a chipotle mayo encased in a spinach wrap.
For Beer – Farmhouse Brewery
I was very impressed this tiny town has a brewery and even more impressed when I stepped inside the tasting room to see 17 options on tap. They had some very interesting flavors like the Beet, Ginger, cucmber, coconut, maple and more. I especially enjoyed their Double IPA and the Beet saison – I’ve never had anything quite like it. A beautiful purple red color, it smelled and tasted of beets, not too sour and extremely refreshing. Hard time deciding what to order? You can sample all 17 of their pours for only $17.
For coffee – Carol’s
Carol’s is the most inviting little coffee shop along Front street! They have a full coffee bar and soy/almond milk alternatives. They bake pastries fresh daily in the open kitchen behind the bar and offer daily homemade soups, salads and sandwich for your lunchtime offerings. There’s live music three days a week at lunch and each piece of art on the wall is for sale.
Mum I just love your new little town! Anyone who comes to visit will be quite pleased; coming from a big city it’s wonderful to know that small wonderful communities like this still exist. We wine tasted on Seneca lake a few days ago, a post will follow.