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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Upstate New York Get an Official Regional Food Trail

The "Upstate Eats Trail" guides travelers
via regional dishes like Buffalo wings,
salt potatoes, and garbage plates

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt

New York City may garner much of the glory when it comes to the state's dining scene. After all, the metropolis is home to dozens of name-droppable restaurants and the most Michelin stars in the nation. But as we all know, every corner of the country has its own local dishes and traditions that can be just as delightful to track down as a coveted Manhattan reservation. From Buffalo to Binghamton, cities and towns a few hours northwest of the Big Apple have their own food cultures, and they're finally being connected with the official Upstate Eats Trail.

Launched this week, the 225-mile trail connects four of the bigger cities in the Western and Central New York regions—Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse—and explores the dishes that locals have adopted or originated, "culinary traditions going back generations to a time when the region boomed with the opening of the Erie Canal and the flood of immigrants who followed," the website explains.

The trek isn't necessarily limited to those cities, with some smaller towns and stops highlighted. The trail follows a chain of "regional restaurants, roadside stands, corner taverns, diners and ice cream shops" as curated in a collaboration between those four main cities' tourism organizations.

So what can one expect to eat along the way? You'll be stopping for the well-traveled Buffalo-style chicken wings at the famed Anchor Bar, Syracuse's salt potatoes at Bull & Bear Roadhouse, Binghamton's chicken spiedies (skewer-cooked meat sandwiches) at Lupo's S & S Char Pit, and Rochester's infamous garbage plate at Nick Tahou Hots, a whole mess of potatoes or fries, macaroni salad, hot dogs, hamburger patties, and condiments (that, as a former Central New York-area college student myself, I can confidently confirm epitomizes the term "drunk food"). Don't forget frozen custard, beef on weck, hot pies, barbecue, cup and char pizza (AKA 'roni cups), white hots, snappy grillers, and sponge candy.

The website's FAQ section suggests at least 2 to 3 (but more likely 4 to 5) days to complete the loop, and also has some useful information on other activities in the region, including wineries and breweries to hit up.

Find more information at

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