A Full Day of Utica Food
by Chris Clemens
My pal Chris Lindstrom and I have been discussing the idea of spending a day hopping around Utica and sampling some of their iconic Italian culinary staples. Chris is a food reviewer and blogs on his site FoodAboutTown so I knew he’d be up for a day of Exploring Upstate if it involved food. While Utica, New York was once tagged ‘The City that God Forgot“, we have both agreed that it would be better suited as ‘The city our stomachs will never forget.”
Utica was first settled in the 1700’s, but was later incorporated as a city in 1832. Its position in relation to both the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal made it an ideal locale for shipping. In fact, in the second half of the Nineteenth Century, the city was the worldwide hub for the textile industry. As transportation technology changed and railroads allowed companies to ship farther and cheaper, Utica’s economy suffered immensely. A struggling city of fleeing residents seeking employment elsewhere made room for a black market economy, and control of the city was seized by underground bosses from the Italian mob.
With a population of 101,000 in 1930 that sunk to a mere 62,000 in 2010, the political corruption that made a few nefarious types rich and a lot of others besieged with poverty had taken its toll on the once power-house of a Rust Belt City. That sounds depressing, right? I suppose it is, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a silver lining in this story, so don’t give up on me yet.
With the influx of settling Italian immigrants came a lot of really great food. Old-world recipes were refreshed with ingredients that either weren’t available before, or were substitutes for things that weren’t available here.
Here’s where Chris and I diverge in our palates. He tends toward a technically perfect, only-if-it-is-done-properly taste, while I tend toward if-it-looks-good-and-doesn’t-have-mayonnaise-I’ll-take-it taste. I grew up with a lot of Italian-American influence (Clemens was once “DeClemente” until we arrived at Ellis Island) and much like many a Utican, money was highly valued ’cause there wasn’t a ton of it to go around. As a result, I developed a bit of a taste for some ‘improper’ foods. I will freely admit, I love an Oscar Mayer bologna sandwich on Wonder Bread once in awhile (you don’t have to cut the crust off for me anymore though).
That being said, I think we did a great job of scouring the city for some of the most fantastic Utican classics you can find and converged in our enjoyment on nearly all of it.
We created an itinerary before leaving that included all the stuff we wanted and the ‘best’ places to find them. However, we didn’t anticipate many of those places being closed the day after Christmas. What made this trip awesome was that each at locked-door and darkened storefront we encountered, we were turned on to a serendipitous exploration of alternatives that left us grateful for the forced rearrangement of our schedule. Much like the Italians who settled in Utica 100 years ago, we were forced to work with what we had, and it ended up exactly perfect.
I’m sure there are some Uticans who would say that the places we ate aren’t their favorite representations of each food stuff, but what we had was really great food. What’s more, the folks we met along the way were just as awesome. If you have suggestions on where you feel we should’ve gone, leave a comment and next time we’re in town we’ll give those spots a try!
Giambotti – Creekside Cafe
An interpretation of one of those classic ‘Olde World’ style Italian stews, a ‘giambotti’ (pronounced: “jim-baht”) is a collection of greens with peppers, potatoes and sausage all scrambled into eggs much like a fritatta. We had ours at Creekside Cafe, which combines all the ingredients into a cast iron skillet baked in the oven, creating somewhat of a personal-pan-pizza looking dish. A super tasty, dense breakfast with perfectly cooked through chunks of sweet Italian sausage and legit home fries with just a bit of heat from the peppers. We didn’t intend to get our giambotti at Creekside, and admittedly, it’s probably not a perfect example of how giambotti is typically prepared, but it was damn good!
Visit Creekside Cafe and Creamery – website | facebook
Sausage Pizza – O’Scugnizzos
O’Scugnizzos on Bleaker Street has been making pizza the same way for over 100 years now, and it was a perfect lunch. This is one of those foods where you need to be okay with the fact that isn’t ‘done correctly’, because the way it’s done is fantastic. A pre-cooked shell might seem unnerving to a pizza chef, but line it with a semi-sweet sauce and their in-house made Italian sausage with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and you have a really unique take on a traditional Italian tomato-pie favorite. I’ve never seen a pie made like that anywhere else, but I can totally see why it’s been a Utica favorite for over a century.
Visit O’Scugnizzo’s – website | facebook
Tomato Pie – Daniele Ristorante
Speaking of pizza, tomato pie is pretty much a “When in Utica, do as Uticans do” food favorite and we certainly did. This is where a number of spots we sought out were closed, but a local that we ran into directed us to Daniele’s on Mohawk and James–and I’d second that direction. Our timing allowed us to nab a few slices of fresh, out-of-the-oven tomato pie made by some really nice folks that have been doing it the same way for decades. I only slightly remember the thick dough, tomato sauce covered pie that my great-grandmother made, but the first bite of Daniele’s brought those memories back a bit stronger. If I may say so here on his behalf, Chris was particularly pleased with our after-lunch snack and kept mentioning so in between full-mouthed bites.
Visit Cafe Daniele – facebook
Pusties – Caffe Caruso
Supposedly, the place to get a Utica ‘pustie’ is at Florentine Bakery, but we discovered that you only do that Monday through Friday. If you’re in need of a flakey pastry filled with sugary goodness on a Saturday like we were, you head a few doors up on Bleaker Street to Caruso’s. We nabbed a lemon, a vanilla and since I can’t pass a cannoli up, we also got one of the ricotta and chocolate pusties. So, what’s a pustie? The official name for the personal-sized tart is actually pasticiotti, but if you’re in Utica, you’ll just want to use the regional dialect. Since I also have a tough time passing on a sfogliatelle, we nabbed one of those. While everything we had from Caruso’s was fantastic, I think I rolled away partial to the lemon pustie–the soft, flaky crust with the tart, sugary lemon went perfect with my….
Visit Caffe Caruso – facebook
Coffee – Utica Coffee Roasting Company
Is it “old school” and Italian? Actually, sort of! We dropped in to Utica Coffee Roasting Company for a short break from heavy foods and a caffeine pick me up. An Ethiopian roast slow-brewed in a Chemex while we received a personal tour of the roasting plant was a perfect way to decompress from all those carbs. If you’re a caffeine junky, UCRC has an ‘Ultra Caffeinated’ roast that will be sure to keep you jumping. I didn’t see any this trip, but they have also had bars of soap made with coffee grounds!
Visit Utica Coffee – website | facebook | twitter | instagram
Brewery Tour – Saranac Brewery
Also not particularly Italian, but definitely ‘old school’, one of the things to do while in Utica is to take a guided tour of the Saranac Brewery (aka. “FX Matt Brewery). The very first beer in the entire U.S. to legally be sold after Prohibition was Utica Club, which is now made right at the Matt Brewery–so it’s tough to get more historical than that. For $5.00 you get a 45-minute walking tour of the entire facility and then a couple drink tickets to use in the speak-easy styled bar. Forewarning: this is a super popular tour with what seemed like 10 million people in attendance so get there early–it’s just a bit more than a tad confusing on what to do and where to go in a room filled with drinking humans. Also, parts of the facility are pretty cold, so layer up!
Visit Saranac Brewery – website | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube
Chicken Riggies and Utica Greens – Bella Regina
Chicken Riggies are almost exactly what you’d imagine if you know what rigatoni pasta is, but the red sauce has just a bit of cream mixed in. While most places allow you to get sausage or shrimp or a whole selection of other meats, chicken is the classic concoction. Though Bella Regina has only been in business a couple years, they won 1st place in this year’s “Riggie Fest”. We figured such a strong contender was worth the visit and we figured correctly! For our last meal of the day, we ordered our Riggies along with the famous Utica Greens, which are a regional take on the classic escarole dish. We included potato and some sweet Italian sausage to round out the textures. And, to really out do ourselves, we got some of the fried calamari with cherry peppers and finished the entire set with yet another cannoli and shots of limoncello.
While every bite of our visit to Regina’s was fantastic, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention how cool everyone there was. Nicky, who sings mid-Century hits at Regina’s on weekends, belted out a few Elvis tunes at Chris’ request and helped to make a few out-of-towners feel as though we had somehow been adopted as honorary Uticans. If getting time to hang with the talent and our awesome waitress Sandra wasn’t enough, The Bella Regina herself emerged from the kitchen to visit the table of loud, boisterous out-of-towners that she had no doubt been warned of from the front of the house.
Visit Bella Regina – facebook
Halfmoon Cookies – Gingerbread Bake Shop
That’s already a lot of reading, but you didn’t think we spent a day in Utica stuffing our faces without getting a halfmoon cookie, right? Admittedly out of order, our first stop of the day was the Gingerbread Bake Shop, renowned for their halfmoon cookie, somewhat like the New York City classic ‘black and white cookie’. We picked up a few and decided they’d be best as a dessert for the two hour ride back to Rochester. Gingerbread only had the chocolate cookie style made up when we arrived and admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of a chocolate cookie. Though, the frosting was super tasty and not overly sweet, and the cookie itself had a really great texture that was moist without being too doughy. I’d love to try the vanilla cookie next time in town!
Visit Gingerbread Bake Shop – facebook
With full bellies and lot on our minds we sauntered back to Rochester wishing we had all that fantastic food a bit closer to home. Really though, two hours is nothing for some of the best Italian in Upstate in a city rich with old-school charm and preserved culture.
Huge thanks to Chris of FoodAboutTown for joining me on this trip. Also, an even bigger thanks to my good friend Dennis for joining the two of us and agreeing to hold cameras in between all the food we forced on him! A bigger thanks still to the fine folks of Utica that we encountered throughout the day. You all made the task of exploring upstate a hell of a lot of fun.
Chris Clemens is the Founder/Publisher of Exploring Upstate. From his hometown in Rochester, he spends as much time as possible connecting with the history, culture, and places that make Upstate New York a land of discovery. Follow him on Twitter at @cpclemens
January 12, 2016 @ 9:23 am
Thank you so much for the kind words about Utica! I agree it’s a pretty awesome place. I am from Rochester a launched a blog there exactly a year ago (Utica: A Day of Fun, a Story of Hope) and I have fallen in love ever since 🙂
January 12, 2016 @ 5:59 pm
I loved your article and its follow-up. I still go back and read them now and then, again. I know you love the adventure of exploring but next time you come to town I’d love to show you around town a bit.
January 12, 2016 @ 9:44 pm
Thanks for reading Arian. We had a great time getting to know Utica a little bit through the food. I can definitely see how it attracted you to stick around!
January 12, 2016 @ 10:33 am
I see you had the lemon pustie from Café Caruso, very good choice. Next trip you need to go to Holland Farms Bakery for your cookies though. The best in the area in my estimation. I’m glad you had a good time in Utica.
January 12, 2016 @ 9:57 pm
Does Holland Farms Bakery do other kinds of baked goods we should be looking for as well?
January 13, 2016 @ 1:10 am
Yes, you must try a taillight and jelly bun from Holland Farms! And don’t forget the chocolate milk!
January 13, 2016 @ 5:50 pm
Definitely Holland Farms for their half moons. Also try Roma’s tomato pie and for a real “taste of Utica” go to Pelletri Joes for the mushroom stew
January 12, 2016 @ 10:56 am
Old School Italian food in UTICA = Ventuas, and for pastries.. Star Bakery!
January 12, 2016 @ 7:07 pm
YES!!! Star Bakery near where I grew up on Jefferson Ave…and Ventura’s – GREAT food…
January 12, 2016 @ 11:34 am
You missed out with Bella Regina. For greens and riggies you need to make it to Georgio’s . Great choices all around though.
January 12, 2016 @ 12:43 pm
100% agree… Riggies are supposed to have a little kick and not be drowning in sauce. The greens from Charlie’s Pizza are also PHENOMINAL. Greens are starting to broaden out… i was at a “Utica Greens” festival in Syracuse a couple of years back. I think you could do a whole blog on just Utica Greens.
January 12, 2016 @ 9:54 pm
It was definitely a saucy affair at Bella Regina but with the hot cherry peppers it did have a light kick to it to cut through the creamy base. We’ll add Georgio’s to the list for the next trip we make out there!
January 13, 2016 @ 7:22 am
I would not bother with Georgios if I were you. While I have had some decent food there in the past, my last visit resulted in such unfriendly and unprofessional service that my family, friends, and I will never return. When the owner threatens to call the cops on a custimer and kick them out of the restaurant just because they calmly mention that they have been waiting a long time for a table and they are wondering when a table will be ready, you deserve to loose business. I have since heard of other customers being treated the same way by the owner. There are plenty of other Italian restaurants in town that serve better food, are appreciative of their customers, and deserving of your business. I would check out Ancora by the Stanley theater. Wonderful food and service!
January 12, 2016 @ 11:46 am
all the new referrals are great places too.. Christine’s Cookie Shoppe/Sugarbabe’s Gourmet Cupcakes in New Hartford behind Randall’s Pharmacy is superb too.. you will glad you stopped by
January 12, 2016 @ 11:53 am
Thank you for visiting Utica and exploring our wonderful foods. We are the little city that could and are making a slow comeback. Hope you visit again!
January 12, 2016 @ 12:38 pm
You should try delmonicos excellent food!!!
January 12, 2016 @ 12:44 pm
I congratulate you for your blog and doing Utica . It is too bad that you missed some of the diamond restaurants there and in the area. I would tell you to go back again and try placed that are famous for specific dishes as well as American fare. Riggies and greens morelle are probably best at chesterfield, other Italian dishes at Grimaldi s and some in Clinton Frankfort Rome. All adjacent or in utica
January 12, 2016 @ 2:45 pm
So sorry, Grimaldi’s is now closed 🙁
January 12, 2016 @ 12:57 pm
It was great watching and reading about my beautiful home town, however, everything was right on for the exception of the cookies……..Holland Farms or Hemstroughts have the best “black and white” or better known as “halfmoon” cookies. Utica has everything and more!
April 30, 2019 @ 1:52 pm
theyre definitely entirely different cookies
black and white s are like “tea cookies” definitely not the same. tho, certaintly because of their façades and different but nearby regions there is some confusion…
January 12, 2016 @ 1:42 pm
Hello, I work for Oneida County Tourism. Thank you for visiting our great city, we’re very proud of our diverse culinary scene! We’d be happy to have you again and help you out to find some even better hidden gems!
January 12, 2016 @ 10:15 pm
That is a very generous offer Marcie. We might need some help finding some of the more off the beaten path places next time. Thanks!
January 12, 2016 @ 5:24 pm
Thank you for the blog!! I prefer my Riggies at Chesterfields, Tomato Pie at Roma’s Sausage and Deli, Pusties & Canolies from Cafe Florentine and if you’re ever in the area again… You should try the shepards pie from Celtic Harp. I try it every where I go and they are on the top of my list! Looking forward to future blogs.
January 12, 2016 @ 5:27 pm
Chesterfields for Greens (Where they were born) and Riggies. The BEST in Utica.
January 12, 2016 @ 5:55 pm
Great article! Come back some time soon. I’ll give you the Utica Insider’s Tour. Proud Utican, Local Volunteer, and Utica’s only Urbanspoon (now Zomato) Prime Member. I love showing people the beauty behind the rust.
January 12, 2016 @ 10:13 pm
Thanks for the offer Matt. It seems like there is so much more for us to check out there. Just scratching the surface!
January 12, 2016 @ 8:28 pm
Awesome story and glad you guys enjoyed your trip and your eats. Next trip, you definitely need to try the tomato pie from Napoli’s Bakery…..best of the best. And like another reader said, you definitely lucked out with the riggies, there are better. Holland Farms for halfmoons definitely and go back to Caruso’s for the lobster tails…..DELICIOUS. Greens from Charlies is a good suggestion too.
January 12, 2016 @ 10:08 pm
I’d make a trip and only eat tomato pie all over Utica! I love pizza and this is such a simple and beautiful form of it. We tried going to Napoli’s but couldn’t make it work. Maybe next time!
July 21, 2021 @ 9:14 am
The Lobster Tails from Caruso’s are incredible.
January 12, 2016 @ 8:35 pm
You would have to stay a week to try all the great food in Utica! Love hearing what other Uticians recommend.
January 12, 2016 @ 8:41 pm
Just went back to Utica for a reunion in August. Tailor and the Cook blew me away! Unbelievably fabulous. And we happened upon Hummus and Tabouli on Bleeker Street. Try the felafel! You won’t be disappointed! Best I’ve ever had!
January 12, 2016 @ 10:02 pm
Looks like you’ve got my kind of taste Judy! We were sticking toward more classic places this trip, but maybe next time we can punctuate with some finer dining. I’ve only heard good things about Tailor and the Cook.
January 12, 2016 @ 9:00 pm
This article made me want to go home for a visit just to stuff my face! So many great places and amazing dishes. My recommendation isn’t Italian, but you MUST eat at Voss’! The best hot dogs I have ever tasted. It is a required stop at least twice when I go back to visit family.
Can someone please come down to NC and start a Utica Food Truck?!
January 12, 2016 @ 9:59 pm
Thanks for reading Teri! What kind of dogs do they serve there?
January 12, 2016 @ 9:34 pm
So glad you hit Utica! I lived in Utica and Rome for 9 years and the food is amazing!!! You only missed the amazing Greek food at Symeon’s. Time to visit friends, I’m thinking!!! Yummmmmm!
January 12, 2016 @ 9:58 pm
Greek food, eh? That’s something I wish we had better versions of in the ROC. Is there a specialty of the house?
January 12, 2016 @ 10:06 pm
Oh geez, I’m not sure. Let me check with a gf who waitresses there. I always got tzatziki dip and puffy pita bread to start, then a souvlaki platter (lamb with a Greek salad), and once I actually had enough room left for their amazing baklava.
January 12, 2016 @ 10:18 pm
What’s absolutely hilarious to me is that people in utica need to comment on who’s food is the best and you missed out blah blah blah.. Stop knocking this city! every single restaurant, bakery is the best..
Every restaurant does things their own way and it’s based upon your own opinion not one place is un-edible they are all amazing.
I was raised in a family owned Italian deli and my family doesn’t shy away from any of the other many great restaurants here you could catch me on any Sunday at any of these places and especially ones that weren’t mentioned buying the same product my family offers! Why? Because it depends on your mood and what you feel like that day! No place sucks, and no place is better than one another.. Maybe when the ppl in this city realizes that it will be the way it should be.
January 12, 2016 @ 11:19 pm
Thank you for representing our city and showing the Many wonderful restaurants we have.. Granted you did miss many, but you made good choices on the places you did go.. I suggest next time you come home you try Chestefields on Bleecker st home of the greens it’s a must!! Florentine pastry which is right down from Caruso’s. Joey’s on Mohawk st it’s on a corner small casual restaurant so many good things to choose from.. There’s many more but just to state a few.. You def have to try our Greek restaurants Acorpolis on James st and Karam’s on Campbell in yorkville.. These are all family owned restaurants in our city that have been here a long time.. I know there are many I’m forgetting. Make sure to come back. Thank you for a positive feedback of something we all hold dear to us our food, family and friends!!
January 13, 2016 @ 12:54 am
So near to see y’all visited Utica. I am from the area but have relocated to DFW. I will give you my hands down suggestions on need to go places in Utica. I’m a bit of a food junkie and always have a short time to hit all the best places while in town.
Georgio’s HANDS DOWN for Italian greens. No question. Their veal parm and chicken franchaise is on point too. Great choice y’all made for tomato pie at Danieles.. It’s different from the other local places and I love it there. However, try Roma’s in Washington mills. They are my go to.. It’s sweet sauce and so addicting so buy a whole box. Karan’s for tabhuli and hummus. Joe’s pizza in whitesboro for upside down pizza and Tony’s in Washington mills. Holland farms jelly donuts. Cafe Canole FOR SURE for a chocolate pusti. Utica roasting is good but they’re no Adirondack Coffee company but Maybe I’m a little biased. That was THE place back in the day.
January 17, 2016 @ 9:59 pm
Thanks for all the advice Kate!
June 28, 2016 @ 7:01 am
I would mirror just about all of these choices from Kate. Growing up in Utica and with my parents still there, our go to’s for nearly every family gathering are:
Tomato pie – Roma’s or Napoli’s
Donuts/Halfmoons – Holland Farms
Pizza (upside down)- Joes
Pizza (traditional) – Charlie’s
Wings – Cavallos
Pusties/Italian pastries – Cafe CaNole
Hot dog/bbq (non-traditional)- Voss
Greek – Symeons
Calamari – Symeons
Subs – Four seasons
We love to cook ourselves, but we always get one something above when visiting Utica!
January 13, 2016 @ 6:46 pm
Glad you enjoyed Utica! You’ll have to check out Karam’s….most fabulous Lebanese food ever!
January 13, 2016 @ 9:19 pm
I so want to make a trip home after watching this! Chesterfield is a must for greens, hands down the best. Napoli’s and Roma’s for tomato pie. For upside down pizza try Joe’s on Main Street in Whitesboro. The Forentine is a must for pastries…and their Italian Ice is so delish. Pellettieri Joe’s is definitely an experience, but don’t ask for butter. Holland Farms is a must for half moons. Salvatore’s on Sunday morning for pizza fritte is awesome. Their spinach roll is also top notch. Cafe Canole is so yummy! I’m sure I am forgetting someplace. I am so happy and proud to be a third generation Italian from Utica.
January 13, 2016 @ 9:37 pm
You hit on a lot of great places. Next time try The Chesterfield, where chicken riggies and “Utica” greens were born. Yummy! Holland Farms jelly buns and chocolate or vanilla fingers.
January 13, 2016 @ 11:00 pm
At the risk of being obviously raised in New Hartford:
Symeon’s souvlaki plate (with their classic bread — the thinner of the 2 flatbreads they serve);
Cavallo’s wings (they finally offer a flavor close to the zebboriginal wings, which is the best flavor, but cavallo wings have the best texture);
*Hemstroughts* half moons. (Harder to find now that they don’t have a storefront, but… I think they’re still made. Holland farms & Gingerbread Bake half moons are still probably better than what you’ll find “away from Utica”, although I’ve gotten some Boston bakeries to at least *try*);
The brewery tour used be the only way you could get what is now known as Saranac Root Beer.
January 14, 2016 @ 1:46 am
Okay I’m Dying here. I LOVE Utica food, especially Italian. Favorites of mine Joey’s on Mohawk, Cafe del Buono in New Hartford.s and Carmela’s in New Hartford. My son actually has O’scugnizzo’s tomato pie shipped to Virginia. Not cheap so you KNOW it’s good.
January 23, 2016 @ 5:26 pm
Lol Would love to try it
January 14, 2016 @ 10:36 am
You must absolutely try Voss’ ! And from Holland Farms……….their famous Jellybuns !!!!!!
January 14, 2016 @ 11:55 am
SYMEONS IS GREAT FOR ITS CALAMARI AND ALL THERE DISHES ARE NO.ONE
January 14, 2016 @ 8:38 pm
Approx. A quarter of Utica’s population is made up of recent immigrants from Somalia, SE Asia and Bosnia. Perhaps Utica folk can recommend some good local ethnic eateries from the latest settlers.
January 17, 2016 @ 10:02 pm
I would love to get some advice on that side of things. I’d love to learn more about the newer wave of immigrants and how that is changing the town and the food scene.
January 15, 2016 @ 11:05 am
Great article, as always.
Right now my mouth is watering for some of the delicious-sounding foods you had while there.
I had always thought of taking the train to Utica, never been on one, and finding a great place to eat and then train ride back home.
Also liked the origin of your name. I had my family name changed too.
So many people had that done.
Again great article. I’m off for some fried bologna on Italian bread.
And there are good Italian restaurants in Rochester too.
Maybe some day you can ride around and sample some of these places.
January 17, 2016 @ 10:00 pm
That does sound like a good time. Checking out all the old school Italian places in the Lyell Ave area could be entertaining.
January 16, 2016 @ 1:10 pm
If you’re looking for Hemstrought’s half moons (the best in the area), you can find them in 12 packs @ the Hannaford’s on Commercial Drive. DelMonico’s has fabulous Italian food (and you won’t leave hungry). Those are two I’d recommend for your next trip.
May 20, 2016 @ 8:50 am
To make some non-Italian suggestions: I really like eating at Pho Mekong, it’s nearby the Refugee Center (Vietnamese food). Also the pierogis at the Polish Club nearby Varick St are AWESOME, I eat a full dozen every time I go, and if you go there get a Warka beer at the bar–they buy it from the city, and it’s brewed there, but it’s the Polish recipe.
This article has been great, I am planning things to do with a friend and I now know most of the food I’m going to make her eat!
Utica Food Tour 2017 |
February 20, 2017 @ 7:45 am
[…] Last winter, I spent the day driving around Utica, New York to sample each of the city’s famous food items. My good friend Chris Lindstrom, owner, author and podcaster of Food About Town, joined me as we sampled foods like Tomato Pie, Chicken Riggies, and Utica Greens. Chris and I had a blast driving around the city and exploring. If you happened to have missed that post, you can find it here. […]
February 20, 2017 @ 10:20 pm
Great stuff guys! Not sure if I posted here before but I have been meaning to. Born and raised in Rome, went to Utica College and now live in NYC and come back often for family, the Boilermaker and to get my fix of the regional classics I grew up eating. My faves: Florentine Pastry Shop on Bleecker Street for pusties, Voss’ BAR B Q in Yorkville for BBQ Ham sandwiches and chili dogs (their homemade BBQ sauce and chili sauce haunts my dreams!), Riverside Diner in Marcy for their Giambotta with roasted long hot peppers, Holland Farms Bakery & Deli in Yorkville for half moon cookies and jelly buns (so fresh!) and Roma Sausage & Deli on Bleecker Street for their tomato pie (still my favorite after many years. Check out Hawk Krall’s recent Saveur Magazine article on Roma’s Tomato Pie).
As far Chicken Riggies and greens, most of my recs are in Rome. I haven’t had much experience with them in Utica but given your list and so many of the helpful replies, I will need to redouble my efforts to spend more time in Utica. I’ve also been writing on ongoing series about CNY’s regional foods (from Utica to Syracuse) titled, “You Say Fretta, I say Fritatta and the Passion of the Pusty” in the Trip Reports forum on Roadfood.com under the screen name Billyboy if you want to check it out. Should you ever want another wingman to join in the fun, just give me shout and I can probably get a day off to shoot Upstate and chow down with you guys. Cheers!
July 3, 2017 @ 5:22 pm
Good article, but no, that disk wasn’t Giambotte!
September 28, 2017 @ 6:38 pm
I was born in Rome but grew up in Whitesboro. 25 cents to ride the bus to downtown Utica. My best growing up memories are the best Italian food ever outside of Italy. Also, half moons, Goldman’s bakery onion rolls, the best Italian sausage ever and talk about the Italian bread! I live in Florida now and believe me, ain’t no comparison. I miss Symeon’s, Karam’s Bakery and so much more.
September 28, 2017 @ 9:30 pm
Thanks for sharing this, Jane. Regional food certainly does offer up some of the best memories. Whenever you’re ready for a visit…. 🙂
Thanks, 2016. |
November 10, 2017 @ 1:08 pm
[…] history in the Mohawk Valley. Sure, my friend Chris Lindstrom and I could’ve quietly gone to Bella Regina in Utica and eaten chicken riggies and left. But, the waitress was having such a good time talking […]
How to Eat Along the New York State Thruway |
August 22, 2018 @ 11:18 am
[…] far too much to list here. So, I’ll point you to two previous posts I created when I did a food tour of Utica in 2016, and another in 2017. The first one focuses on Italian classics like chicken riggies, tomato pie, […]
Out of State: Visiting Detroit, Michigan |
November 5, 2018 @ 6:51 pm
[…] has its own style of pizza, too. The thicker, square crust will be familiar to anyone from Utica who loves a tomato pie. While they throw pepperoni on the bottom, the cheese piles up and is topped […]
May 30, 2019 @ 7:31 am
Who ever is selling that’s a UTICA THING PIZZA in the grocery stores, IT’S NOT! PLEASE, DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!
How Good Is The Food In Utica Really? |
June 11, 2019 @ 7:23 pm
[…] vids” in the reader’s question refer to a couple posts I wrote a few years ago. In 2016, I spent a day eating the classic Utica food dishes with my friend Chris Lindstrom of Food About […]