If you’ve ever walked through Downtown Binghamton, you’ve probably passed by The Colonial. A Binghamton classic, The Colonial is in the heart of the city, and although it’s a popular destination for college students, it caters to people of all ages with its welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant combines trendy and homey touches in its decor with string lights, garlands of autumn leaves and chalkboards displaying a wide array of drink specials in colorful text. This Restaurant Week, The Colonial offers a $12 lunch and $20 dinner, which both include an appetizer, entree and dessert.

My photographer, Maryam, and I went for lunch, and as I looked at the menu, I was pleased to find appetizing meatless options for each course that surpassed bland vegetable dishes. It can be difficult to find unique vegetarian meals when eating out, so I was excited to see so many enticing choices. For the first course, you could choose from a creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese strips, Brussels sprouts with garlic aioli and a roasted cauliflower Caesar salad. Since all of the appetizers were vegetarian, you could also add bacon to the Brussels sprouts if you wanted some protein.

Maryam Soomro/Business ManagerBrussels sprouts with garlic aioli

Choosing an appetizer was my toughest choice out of the three courses. I was delightfully overwhelmed with so many options, but after much contemplation, I chose the creamy tomato soup. The soup was hearty and flavorful and the two grilled cheese strips were a nice golden brown. The combination of these two comfort foods paired perfectly and made me feel right at home with tastes from my childhood.

Maryam Soomro/Business ManagerCreamy tomato soup with grilled cheese strips

For the entree, there were two vegetarian dishes and two dishes for meat lovers. The choices included a California Beyond Burger for an extra $4, a Caesar salad, their signature Colonial Burger and a southern chicken sandwich. For a few more dollars, you could add protein or Cajun spices to the salad, and could upgrade the fries included with your burger or sandwich with various toppings.

For the second course, I opted for the Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, Kalamata olives, Parmesan cheese and croutons without any add-ons. When the salad was served, I was astonished at how large the portion was. The salad exceeded a typical garden salad with its large size, clean presentation and unique ingredients. I was surprised it featured a variety of flavors, as the zest and acidity from the Kalamata olives contrasted well with the hint of garlic in the croutons. I was glad I chose lighter fare for my entree to offset how full I was from the appetizer.

To finish off, The Colonial offered two milkshake flavors for dessert: pumpkin spice and vanilla. I was delighted to see the pumpkin spice flavor, especially since fall is right around the corner, but I ultimately wanted more of a classic taste, so I chose vanilla. The milkshake had just the right amount of sweetness and came topped with whipped cream. The shake was like sipping on a scoop of ice cream and it was a perfect way to end a delicious meal and enjoy the sunny afternoon. To make it even better, the milkshake came in a cute to-go cup printed with a winking graphic of George Washington above The Colonial’s logo.

Overall, The Colonial proved once again why it’s an essential part of the Binghamton culinary scene. With its quick and friendly service, diverse menu and warm atmosphere, The Colonial is a must-visit this Restaurant Week.