I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but Ryan and I are foodies. We love a good meal, and we absolutely love trying new places. Part of the reason we love military life is that it sends us all over the country (and, potentially, the world), so we get to try a lot of different restaurants and cuisines along the way. Now, I know I’ve lamented on more than one occasion that there’s not too much to do around Fort Drum. That remains somewhat true, however, there are actually some really great places to eat around here if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone!
For those stationed at Fort Drum, it’s not the worst place in the world. I promise. There are some great hidden gems, and I want to share the wealth with everyone. Here are five of our favorite places that we’ve discovered around the Fort Drum area to eat and (over)indulge.
1 // Bombay Duck Pickle Cafe – Carthage, NY. Look beyond the name, my friends. I remember finding this place on Yelp and laughing because the name was so out there. It’s a little nondescript building in old-town Carthage, NY that has some of the absolute best food I’ve ever eat – not kidding. The menu changes daily based on the chef’s personal preferences, but they’re known for their carrot and butternut squash soups. It’s a bit on the pricier end of things, but well worth every penny. Oh, and there is literally one chef, one server, and four tables. If you’re looking for a hole-in-the-wall place with scrumptious food, you absolutely need to try this one. Here’s my review of our experience there.
2 // Tug Hill Vineyards – Lowville, NY. This place is about a 35-minute drive from Fort Drum, but it’s a little more well-known around these parts. They have great berry picking during the summer months, and their Sunday brunch is absolutely to die for. Like many places around here, the brunch menu changes by week. They have three different seating times on Sunday, so it’s best to call ahead and reserve a spot for your group since it fills up fast. And, if you like a good drink, their create-your-own Bloody Mary’s are divine – as is their freshly-brewed coffee. This place is seasonal, so it’s closed from (I believe) November through March, opening again in April. Here’s my review of our experience.
3 // Tin Pan Galley – Sacketts Harbor, NY. While Ryan was deployed, my neighbor and I ran the 18.12 Challenge out in Sacketts Harbor, which is conveniently located right by this local hideaway. Tin Pan Galley is in an old stone building that features some of the best cuisine I’ve had while in northern NY. We tried out their brunch, which is also seasonal (like many places around here), and it was fantastic. The wait time here is long. It opens for brunch at 8 AM on Saturday and Sunday for the spring and summer months, and the wait time starts at nearly 30-45 minutes. Luckily, they have fast service, decent prices, and food that’s worth waiting for. Always, always opt for the specials because you never know what they’re going to have! Here’s my review of our experience.
4 // Chez Piggy – Kingston, ON. You’ll need your passport for this one, but I promise you, it’s worth it. Some of our favorite eateries around Fort Drum are actually in Canada. I mean, we live literally 30 minutes from the Canadian border, so it’s really not that far. On average, it takes us about an hour to get to Kingston, which is just enough time to build up a healthy appetite. They serve an incredible Sunday brunch, but their normal day-to-day menu is fantastic, too. I recommend getting their fresh oysters on the half-shell, and opt for the olive platter as an appetizer. Also, if you love a good drink, try their Bloody Caesar. Here’s my review of our experience.
5 // Smoke’s Poutinerie – Kingston, ON. It’s no secret that Ryan and I love poutine. His first real introduction to poutine was on our honeymoon in Quebec City, and he’s been hooked since. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a Canadian classic of fresh fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Smoke’s Poutinerie is a modern poutine joint that has several locations throughout Canada, but we visited the one in Kingston. Once again, you’ll need your passport, but I promise it’s worth it. The boys absolutely loved it, they serve over-generous portions, and we each ordered something different, which made it fun. I highly recommend trying the Hogtown Poutine if you’re a meat-eater. Here’s my review of our experience.
So, there you have it…five places you absolutely must eat if you’re ever in or around the Fort Drum area. We’ve found a few others that are worth mentioning, as well, so here are our runners-up:
Maggie’s on the River – classic American cuisine in downtown Watertown
Skewed Brewing – great Sunday brunch in downtown Watertown
Coleman’s Corner – fun and friendly Irish fare and company in downtown Watertown
Are you guys adventurous when it comes to trying new food and restaurants, or do you like to stick with your old-faithfuls?