Family-owned Eateries that Promise a Satisfying Day Trip for Your Taste Buds
Once upon a time, the word “Corning” conjured up visions of the blue and white casserole dishes that went from oven to table. A couple of breakages and several long-distance moves later, I still own, use and love what’s left of my original pieces. Fast forward nearly four decades, and Corning doesn’t even make those kitchen icons any more. What “Corning” now brings to mind is unique museums like the Corning Museum of Glass, historic buildings and some of the best food and beverages you’ll find anywhere.
Simon, Otto and I had the pleasure of exploring Corning as part of a 2017 visit to New York’s Finger Lakes Region. What we discovered was that one could cram a great deal of goodness into body and brain in a day. The idea of spreading Corning’s substantial culinary and cultural wealth over two or more days would be pure heaven, but if 24 hours is all you have, here’s how to stay well fed and watered.
Breakfast: Poppleton Bakery & Café
My advice is to rise and shine early. You have a long, delicious day ahead. Get it off to a good start with a made-from-scratch breakfast at Poppleton Bakery & Café.
Choose from an assortment of fresh offerings from sweet and savory crepes, bagels, breads, scones and croissants. You could go for a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and out-of-this-world cheesy potatoes, or a lighter combo of granola with yogurt or fruit compote. And those are just a few of your options. Wash it all down with a cup or two of freshly brewed coffee or tea, and you’re good to go.
Speaking of, “to go,” if you want to grab something for later in the morning, choose a treat from Poppleton’s display case of freshly made baked goods. Everything is prepared on-site, and the variety will surprise and delight you.
Owner Carole Tannaro also serves up creative and satisfying soups, salads, quiches, wraps and sandwiches. She offers a wide range of vegan and gluten-free options, so no one needs to feel left out.
Poppleton Bakery & Cafe opened its doors in 2013. Since then, an increasing number of Corning locals and visitors have discovered good eating in Poppleton’s friendly and charming atmosphere.
Poppleton Bakery & Café
23 W Market St #104
Corning, NY 14830
Open for breakfast and lunch Monday – Friday, 7am – 5pm and Saturday, 8am – 5pm. Closed on Sunday.
Lunch: The Source at Factory No. 2
If you’ve ever wondered what’s behind the green door, here’s your chance to find out. Settle yourself in the homey atmosphere of The Source, and prepare to dive into fresh, locally sourced dishes and beverages that will have your taste buds doing a happy dance. Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or devout carnivore, you’ll find plenty of delectable choices.
Simon and I shared a curried rice noodle bowl and a chicken kale Caesar. I almost swooned from the aroma of the curry, and the dish tasted even better. The sauce was bold and the vegetables perfectly cooked. The salad contained crushed blue corn chips instead of croutons and was topped with warm, tender chicken. We shared both dishes and drank vegetable flavored water that was hard to identify. I thought I tasted cucumber, but what ever it was, it made a perfect accompaniment to the meal.
We also sampled a lemon green smoothy, and a cocoa flight. The smoothy was lemony with a subtle hint of something green and good. The flavors in the latter were gingerbread (tasted like Christmas), double chocolate (intense chocolate flavor, but not overly sweet), almond (pronounced nutty flavor) and bacon (smokey chocolate flavor without being salty).
There is nothing ordinary about The Source. Magnificent 12-foot wooden pillars adds a historical note to the casual, family-friendly atmosphere of this venue. An assortment of children’s games in one corner keep little ones busy while their food is prepared. An array of decadent handmade chocolates, bath and body products and gift baskets call out to be admired, consumed and gifted. All this, plus a constantly changing menu, make it clear this family run establishment is full of surprises. And at The Source, all of them are pleasant.
The Source has a creative and varied beverage bar with an impressive selection of cold pressed juices, freshly made smoothies, fresh brewed tea, locally roasted coffee, iced teas and fresh lemonades.
And as if all this isn’t enough, The Source holds workshops and classes for children and adults in basic chocolate-making and other fun activities.
Cynthia and Gary Dickerman and their daughter, Laura Kram are the brains and creativity that have made The Source the unique Corning entity it has become. The thriving business we see today evolved and came together over a period of four decades, beginning with Gary’s 1976 natural foods and imported cheese business. Then 15-year-old Laura began making bath and body products and Laura’s luxuries was born. The business helped Laura pay her way through college. When Cynthia left her corporate job to make custom gift baskets, another building block was positioned. This family’s story is long and totally engaging.
The short version is that in 2012, Laura returned to Corning after two years of living in large cities,. She commandeered the kitchen at the back of Cynthia’s Beyond Baskets shop and opened a highly successful juice bar. Needing more space, the family moved across the street in 2015 to the building they now occupy. Gary, instead of retiring as he had planned, was pressed into service as resident chocolatier. And they named the entity that combined all their individual talents The Source at Factory No 2.; the same name as Gary’s original natural foods business.
Meeting these talented, creative, delightful people will be as much of a treat as the food, beverages and other goodies you’ll find at The Source. Just leave your stresses, disappointments and negative thoughts outside the green door.
The Source at Factory No. 2
85 West Market Street
Corning, NY 14830
Wheelchair accessible via a ramp in the back of the building or one small step in the front.
Open Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 4:00pm. Closed Saturday. Open Sunday, 10:00am – 3:00pm.
Dinner: Market Street Brewing Company & Restaurant
Following a day of discovering Corning’s historical, artistic, architectural and culinary delights, it’s time to unwind with more good food and accompanied by locally brewed beer. At Market Street Brewing Company and Restaurant. Both food and libations are readily available on the premises.
Market Street Brewing Company opened its doors in 1997 and was the first brewery in Steuben County since Prohibition. The building had once been an automotive parts shop, and had been vacant for many years before Theresa and Pelham McClellan transformed it into one of the most popular gathering places in Corning.
The complete overhaul of the derelict structure earned the McClellan the PAN AWARD,. This is New York State’s way of recognizing individuals who restore and preserve buildings in historic districts..
When you enter the narrow room at the front of the building, pay special attention to the bar. A combination of three woods – Cherry, Walnut, and Mahogany – comprise this elegantly restored antique from Philadelphia. The pieces had been rescued from separate demolition project and brought to Corning to be reassembled.
Hanging over the bar you’ll see numbered mugs. These belong to members of the Mug Club. For an annual fee, you can have your own numbered mug, receive four complimentary growlers per year, as well as discounts on food and beverages.
Most bars have a mirror, but this one was produced by a renowned master glass engraver named Max Erlacher.
Another unique feature of the brew pub is the antique lead glass in three of the windows. These and other touches give Market Street Brewing Company an atmosphere of elegance combined with comfort and warmth.
Theresa and Pelham opened the brewpub in 1997. Today they brew several styles of beer onsite. Over the years, Pelham, the establishment’s brewmaster, has taught a respectable number of area residents how to brew beer.
Market Street Brewing Company is open year round. The outdoor seating area downstairs is protected by glass walls that are installed to keep customers warm while still enjoying the sensation of being outdoors. The brewpub also offers customers outdoor seating on the rooftop during the summer months.
Market St. Brewing Company’s enticing eclectic menu changes regularly. In its early days, the brewpub introduced Corning residents to such current favorites as portobello mushrooms and shrimp and grits. Neither did well. Now they are wildly popular.
Another early bust was artichoke soup, but it has been on the menu for nearly 20 years, and customers often request it by the quart.
The brewpub is as much on the cutting edge with its beer as it is with its food. We tried the Maibock, a European style beer that was flavorful and refreshing. You can see the selection of traditional and innovative beers through the window of the brewpub.
Homemade, home brewed and homey aptly describes Market Street Brewing Company. As it happened, the combination of our excellent meal and accompanying brew wasn’t the end of our evening in Corning, but it set the stage for the pleasant surprise to come.
Market Street Brewing Company and Restaurant
63 West Market Street
Corning, NY 14830
Summer Hours: May through October – Monday to Saturday, 11:30am – 10:00pm. Sunday, Noon – 9:00pm
Winter Hours: November through April – Tuesday to Thursday, 11:30am – 9:00pm and Friday and Saturday, 11:30am – 10pm. Closed Sunday and Monday
Snack: Dippity Do Dahs
While attempting to walk off some of the fabulous food and beverages we had enjoyed in Corning, we came upon an ice cream parlor with the intriguing name of Dippity Do Dahs. We weren’t the least bit hungry, but ice cream is like a siren song when we are traveling. So we went in.
The parlor seemed to smile at us with its colorful walls and bright lighting. It was nearing closing time, and the shop was almost empty. At a table at the back, a man with a computer struck up a conversation. He turned out to be Dippity Do Dahs owner, Ben Calkins, and before we knew it, I was peppering him with questions like, “What is the difference between ice cream and gelato?” And Ben patiently answered all of them.
The most difficult part of having an ice cream fix at Dippity Do Dahs was selecting a flavor. The process is made somewhat easier with the samples we were encouraged to try. Ben had the standard cookie dough, strawberry and mint chocolate chip type flavors, as well as a few unique offerings he had invented himself.
Simon chose sweet potato beer dotted with chocolate covered pretzel pieces. Of course, I had to have a taste. It looked like coffee ice cream, but the flavor was impossible to describe. It didn’t taste like sweet potato or beer. All I can tell you was that it tasted really, really good.
I can’t describe my flavor, but for a different reason. I don’t remember what it was, and there wasn’t a clue in my notes. It’s safe to say that chocolate was involved, but aside from the fact that it was seriously yummy – I could hear my mmmmmmms on my recorded interview with Ben – there was no mention of what flavor caused those sounds. I do remember the delicious crunch of the oversized homemade waffle cone, though.
Ben has a degree in art education, but ice cream was always his passion. Having grown up on a dairy farm, Ben learned how to make it from his grandfather. They used old-fashioned equipment, but the spark of interest gradually spread until Dippity Do Dahs burst on the Corning food scene Memorial Day weekend, 2013.
Before Ben and his wife could open their business, however, there were years of attending ice cream courses, seminars and conventions. Ben also received hands-on experience at Cayuga Lake Creamery. His hard work is now paying off. Not only does he have a thriving business in a product he loves, he can bring his artistic abilities to bear in creating new flavor combinations.
Along with ice cream, Ben makes dairy-free sorbets, soy based and no-sugar-added products. Dippity Do Dahs serves up ice cream cookie sandwiches, ice cream cakes, ice cream pizzas and holiday ice cream pies. You can also purchase Ben’s ice cream in pint and quart containers.
Dippity Do Dahs
46 East Market Street
Corning, NY, 14830
Winter Hours: Late September – Early April
Open Tuesday – Saturday, Noon – 8:30pm.
Summer Hours: Early April – Mid September.
Open daily, Noon – 9:30pm.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Disclaimer: Our visit to Corning was generously hosted by Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes and the businesses mentioned above. However, all opinions are, as always, entirely my own.