Binghamton University students have a unique relationship with Downtown Binghamton. The majority of students here only go Downtown to visit the cultural epicenter of State Street — that is, except for Restaurant Week. For two weeks every year, we take buses, cars and cabs Downtown and celebrate the unique restaurants Binghamton has to offer beyond Vestal Parkway. But are we looking deep enough? It’s time to realize that there’s more to Restaurant Week than Lost Dog Café, and that there’s more to Downtown than meets the untrained eye.
Binghamton’s Restaurant Week launched only three years ago, and this fall the list is longer than ever, including some restaurants that didn’t even exist in 2010. There’s Thai Time and Zona & Co. Grille for students looking for Mexican or Asian-style cuisine and outdoor seating. There’s Galaxy Brewing Company and Water Street Brewing Co. for of-age students who want something extra with their meal. There’s Cortese Restaurant and Little Venice Restaurant for students searching for some old-school Italian. It’s out there, guys, and it’s good. And that’s not to call out Lost Dog Café either. Lost Dog is a terrific restaurant if you haven’t eaten there, but you have. So it’s time to move on! And if you’re not quite ready for such big changes, just flip to Release, where we feature six local spots on this year’s list.
But it goes further than the restaurants, guys. Downtown has a lot of gems if you’re willing to look. Stephen’s Vintage Clothing on Washington Street is an amazing thrift store with items hand-picked by Stephen himself. (Just don’t go there asking for a Halloween costume. We warned you.) A lot of students end up there after looking for Salvation Army and ending up at the soup kitchen. But have no fear, it’s a happy mistake. There’s Tom’s Coffee, Cards & Gifts on Main Street, which has been in business for 30 years, and Sip of Seattle, which has been in business for one. There’s Lupo’s Spiedies, Riverside Park, and mentally note that the ATM at Visions Federal Credit Union will give you any amount of money for a fee of only $1.50. It even does cents. Really, try taking out $11.50 sometime. We could go on, spoiling all of Downtown’s secrets, but you’re better off finding them for yourself.
All it takes is a bus ride. It’s easier than going to Walmart, and possibly more fun. So if you have some free time after your Restaurant Week lunch (even if it is at Lost Dog), wander around a little bit. You won’t regret it, because if all you know is Vestal Parkway and State Street, what’s the point of going to college in Binghamton anyway?