2012 Annual Guide to the Great Outdoors

Off-Peak Fare

A half-dozen destinations for post-adventure grub

Photograph by Jason Hupe

You climbed a cliff, rode a river, trekked a trail—whatever your Adirondack adventure du jour. Now you’re ready for a more traditional menu, one that’ll give your weary body sustenance and please your palate. The following places have great grub, and nobody’ll think twice if you show up in grungy clothes, hiking boots or clanking with carabiners.

Chestertown’s Main Street Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant is a family affair: Bruce and Helena Robbins took charge of the popular eatery from Bruce’s parents a few years back. Housed in a 99-year-old former high school, the place is chockablock with local antiques and vintage signs; the focal point of the big, bright dining room is an old-fashioned soda fountain dishing out sundaes, floats, malts and fantastic deli sandwiches, homemade soups and burgers. The signature Pack Basket is roast turkey with trimmings and cranberry mayo on a hard roll, and other sandwiches are on Rock Hill Bakehouse bread.
6339 Main Street, Chestertown; (518) 494-7940;; 10 a.m.–10 p.m., every day.

Garnet Hill Lodge is a fitting destination after hiking in Siamese Ponds Wilderness, fly-fishing on the Hudson or paddling the nearby lake. The lodge is up high in North River, where there’s a million-dollar view of Thirteenth Lake from the pub, the deck or blackfly-proof screened porch. Mindy Piper and Don Preuninger rescued the venerable log inn from a downhill slide late last year, making delicious, hearty fare a priority. Among the dinners are ratatouille, wild mushroom ragout, glazed duck breast and grilled trout. Don’t overlook the bread basket—it’s all homemade—and save room for awesome pie. Another plus: you don’t have to spend a fortune here since prices for apps (onion pie a must) and entrées are very reasonable.
39 Garnet Hill Road, North River; (518) 251-2444;; Friday–Monday, 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., 5 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

Old Forge’s main drag is where you’ll find Five Corners Cafe, a funky little space where big changes are afoot. The place, owned and operated by Kathy and Paul Rivet, had been open seasonally, serving up scrumptious breakfasts and lunches. But, as of May, the Rivets, who used to run Van Auken’s Inne, in Thendara, are launching a new look, new hours—they hope to stay open year-round—and a new menu. Kathy says they’re offering a neighborhood restaurant vibe with simple bistro fare, “using great ingredients and preparing them well.” (Everything is moderately priced, from $8 to $20.) Paul, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, is developing a big and small plate menu with beef short ribs, spicy chicken hash and an apple fennel goat cheese crepe, among others, that’ll change throughout the summer. All bread and desserts are homemade, in­cluding the Rivets’ cookies, hot commodities at the area farmers’ market. A wine and beer bar with high tables plus a patio accommodate those waiting for a seat at this living room–size café.
3067 Route 28, Old Forge; (315) 369-2255; 5 p.m.–9 p.m., Thursday through Monday.

“Comfort food with a modern twist” is how Lisa G. describes the eats at her Lake Placid establishment, Lisa G’s Restaurant. That’s not the only reason diners love this place: there’s its proprietor’s friendliness; its off–Main Street former opera-house digs; and its roomy deck out back along the Chubb River. Meals can be pizzas like one with fried green tomatoes or topped with garlic, oyster mushrooms, rosemary, Fontina cheese and truffle oil. Four kinds of chicken wings in­clude Greek-style or atomic hot, and there’s a daily bur­ger special. The dining room will ac­commodate an entire outing club, while the bar has smaller tables, comfy couches and a cozier scene.
6125 Sentinel Road, Lake Placid; (518) 523-2093;; 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. (9 p.m. Sunday), Wednesday–Monday.

A new addition to Keene is The ADK Cafe, part of the Dartbrook compound at the intersection of Routes 9N and 73 that includes Great Camp–style cabins and the Adirondackana showroom Dartbrook Rustic Goods. ADK stands for A Delicious Kitchen, an apt description for this one-room roadside restaurant and outdoor deck, with its mouth-watering meals and baked goods. Co-owner Fiona Burns calls it simple, fresh, from-scratch food. Breakfasts are hearty; sweet potato chili and Reuben or white-bean-spread sandwiches are popular lunches; and Guinness beef stew, chicken pot pie and meat loaf are recommended dinners. A vegan Earth Plate—beans, grains and veggies—is al­ways on the menu; hand-stretched flatbread pizzas, “flatizzas,” can be ordered to go. Ingredients are sourced locally: pasture-raised meat from Kilcoyne Farms, just outside of the Blue Line; vegetables from area growers.
2835 Route 73, Keene; (518) 576-9111;; 6:30 a.m.–9 p.m. every day.  

Chef David Martin grew up in West Chazy, just north of the Adirondack Park, studied at the Culinary Institute of America, cooked in upscale urban eateries and opened his Turtle Island Café, in Willsboro, a decade ago. Martin hosts plenty of adventurers, often after they’ve hiked the Champlain Area Trails. From this 127-year-old former pharmacy overlooking the Bo­quet River, he crafts fresh, sustainable meat (from a New England co-op) and vegetables (from Champlain Valley farms Juniper Hill and Fledging Crow) and adds fruit essences, honey, herbs and chiles to signature entrées, such as wild salmon and duck breast. His wine list is extraordinary and constantly evolving, with 180 selections. New this spring is Martin’s craft beer program, with 25 bottles to choose from.
3790 Main Street, Willsboro; (518) 963-7417;; 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Wed­nesday–Monday.