5 Iconic Upstate New York Eats
A NYC chef pays tribute to Upstate NY delicacies
If you’re going to serve a Garbage Plate, you better do it right. That was chef Jordan Andino’s motivation as he set out on a day-long binge in upstate New York. The eat-a-thon was a research trip into the cuisine of the region, which inspires the menu at Little Town in New York City.
The journey took him to Binghamton, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Ithaca: 800 miles and 22 hours of driving, all told. And it resulted in a more authentic Garbage Plate, Spiedies and Beef on Weck, among other dishes. Never heard of a Garbage Plate? You’re not alone. The cuisine of New York State’s little towns is rather underappreciated. Discover it by following Jordan’s calorie fest of a road trip route. Of course, feel free to take more than a single day to do it.
Spiedies at Lupo’s S&S Charpit
Spiedies (pronounced spee-dees) is a sandwich with a cult following from Binghamton, consisting of pieces of chicken, pork, lamb or beef, marinated overnight, grilled and served on an Italian roll. Each August, the Spiedie Fest & Balloons Rally, which started as a spiedies cooking contest and has grown to a full-blown festival attracting nearly 100,000 people a year, features a ton of spiedies and about 200 hot-air balloons. 6 West State Street, Binghamton
Pulled pork sandwich at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
It may be one of the most famous barbecue joints in New York City, but the Harlem location of Dinosaur isn’t the original. Dinosaur had its first home in Syracuse, where it continues to be “one of the most famous barbecue places in New York State,” according to Jordan. He recommends the original pulled pork sandwich, cooked low and slow, hand-pulled, and piled high. 246 West Willow Street, Syracuse
Garbage Plate at Nick Tahou Hots
“It’s a plate that’s meant for about two to three men,” says Andino of the Garbage Plate. It’s a pile-up of home fries, macaroni salad, two cheeseburgers, Dijon sauce, onion and spicy chili, all on one gigantic plate and meant for consumption when you’re under the influence—because a regular person waking up in the morning does not want to eat it, that’s for sure. However, at 2 o’clock in the morning, it sounds like the best deal of all time. Nick Tahou’s Garbage Plate is widely recognized as the original, served since the restaurant was founded in 1918. 320 West Main Street, Rochester
Beef on Weck at Schwabl’s
Beef on Weck is the second most famous food in Buffalo, after the wings, and this suburban spot does it right. The dish consists of a Kaiser roll, generously flecked with caraway seeds and pretzel salt, which turns it into the famous German kummelweck roll. It’s then stuffed with beef au jus and dressed with horseradish. “It’s really very simple flavors, very bold flavors, but it’s very much something that people from Buffalo would definitely appreciate,” assures Andino. 789 Center Road, West Seneca
Pinesburger at Glenwood Pines
You haven’t had a burger until you’ve had a Pinesburger at Glenwood Pines, according to Andino, adding, “It feels like a gigantic 10-ounce piece of meat.” Of course, it was his last meal of a very long day of very heavy meals. It’s actually just a six-ounce patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. The restaurant runs an ongoing contest that awards a T-shirt to anyone who eats four Pineburgers in under an hour. Play at your own risk! 1213 Taughannock Blvd., Ithaca