Nestled just across the bridge from Downtown Binghamton on South Washington Street in Vestal, Whole in the Wall is distinctive, from its red and purple exterior and wood-paneled walls to its colorful food and vegan-friendly options.
Founded in 1980 by Eliot Fiks, ‘78, the restaurant’s menu is eclectic and ever-changing, featuring farm-to-table cuisine and all-natural foods. Fiks, a Binghamton University alumnus, was inspired to create the space based on his experiences working with BU’s Food Co-op and opened shop in a building that formerly housed a cash register repair store, renovating it from top to bottom to create a cozy dining environment with a collaborative, community feel. During Restaurant Week, Whole in the Wall’s fixed-price menu includes a three-course lunch for $15 and a three-course dinner for $25.
I came to the restaurant for a late lunch and arrived hungry, ready to start with an appetizer. I was met with multiple soup options, or an offer of beer or a glass of house wine. Since I had a class later in the day, I went for the nonalcoholic route and chose Whole in the Wall’s signature creamy mushroom soup. It came out of the kitchen piping hot, and when I dunked my spoon into the bowl to taste it, I realized it was incredibly thick and creamy. Although the bowl of soup was relatively small, it was filling, and just as I finished the last spoonful, my main dish came out.
For the entree, I was given a tempting list of choices, including a pesto pita pizza, tostada and a mixed green salad. However, I opted for half a pita pocket, filled with hummus and vegetables. My favorite part about the dish was the range of options it came with. In addition to the hummus, adventurous eaters can also choose to stuff the pita pocket with an eggplant spread, falafel with yogurt-sesame dressing or chicken with homemade Russian dressing. It was also surprisingly filling, even though the crisp vegetables and zesty hummus felt light on my tongue.
But dessert was the highlight of the meal. I’m usually not a huge fan of chocolate-based desserts, but on the suggestion of a friend, I selected the Raspberry Chocolate Chip Big Tease Brownie sundae for my final course — and I’m glad I did. The raspberry sauce was fresh, with large chunks of berries and a naturally sweet taste, while the brownie was dense and rich. It was offset perfectly by the lightness of the vanilla ice cream and whipped cream piled on top of the dish. I savored every bite.
I left Whole in the Wall full and happy, impressed by its variety of dishes and welcoming atmosphere. Diners looking for healthy options and a wide variety of dishes should give the restaurant a try. They might find, as I did, a new favorite spot for lunch and dinner.