Sunday, June 20, 2010
Apple Dumpling Cafe
Name: Apple Dumpling Cafe
Location: 131 Brooks Road, Binghamton, NY 13905
Phone: (607) 729-2683
Price: Less than $20 for two
If you think you know of every place there is to know about in the Binghamton area, think again. You probably haven't been to Apple Hills, a farm out in the middle of nowhere up by the Greater Binghamton Airport and home to the Apple Dumpling Cafe, a quaint little gem of a place that specializes in homemade, farm-fresh breakfasts and lunches. To find the Apple Dumpling Cafe, head north out of Binghamton/JC on Airport Road. Keep going...keep going....keep going until you're almost at the airport, make a right on Commercial Road (there's a convenience store and gas station on the opposite side as a landmark) and stay on Commercial for about a mile until you reach Brooks Road. Turn left and it's up a quarter mile on the left.
We arrived at 10:00 on a Sunday morning and the place was packed. I thought to myself..."hmmm, I just drove through the middle of nowhere and there's nary a parking spot and now I have to wait in line to get a table? This place must be good!" One thing you'll want to realize is that there are two distinct lines for seating. If you want to sit outside on their long veranda, stand in the outside line and wait for a table to open up. If you want to sit inside, get your name on the list with the host/hostess and wait there. This information could be more effectively communicated to first-time patrons. We were rather confused by the whole setup and kind of annoyed, as were some other patrons who were told by the host inside that there was a table for them outside, only to lose their spot in line by going out to the porch and realizing that their designated table had already been taken. They should probably devise a better seating system especially since I sense the place is pretty popular.
We ended up with a table outside after waiting for about 20 minutes and hanging out with a friendly old farm dog out on the porch. The outside seating is nice and shaded and you have a nice view of the rolling hills hovering over Binghamton. I started with a cup of coffee, which I thought was pretty good by restaurant standards. Megan ordered the Belgian waffles which came with her choice of bacon or sausage. She elected the bacon. I opted for the short stack of pancakes with a side of sausage. The meals came out quickly; in fact, once we were seated, I was impressed with the service overall. The sausage had great flavor and tasted fresh, and the pancakes followed suit. More significantly, they were huge, 10 inches wide and probably a half-inch thick. I had been tipped off that the pancakes were tasty here, and they certainly lived up to the hype. Nice and fluffy, golden-brown, not overcooked, not underdone. Great flavor and locally-produced maple syrup to top it off. They have a challenge listed on their menu available to any patron who orders the full stack of four pancakes. If you eat the entire meal you get your next full stack free. At first I thought that challenge would be easy to pull off, but about halfway through my short stack I came to realize how difficult it would be.
In the end, I really liked the Apple Dumpling Cafe. The food, service, and rural charm made up for the logistical headache of getting seated. This is exactly the kind of place I started this blog to highlight, a place that is somewhat unknown, yet delivers a quality meal with local flavor at a great price ($10 for the two of us). Next time you're considering a trip to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, think about supporting your local farmers and giving the Apple Dumpling Cafe a chance instead.