The Colonial, bar and restaurant, has always been a popular spot among locals and students alike. Located on 56-58 Court St., the gastropub is at the heart of Downtown Binghamton, right by popular spots such as Dos Rios Cantina and around the corner from the bars on State Street. One can immediately recognize The Colonial by its extensive outdoor seating with hanging Edison bulb decorations that often spill around the corner onto Washington Street.
This restaurant week, The Colonial is offering a three-course lunch menu for $12 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a three-course dinner menu for $20 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Both options come with an appetizer, an entree and a dessert as well as plenty of add-ons for a customizable experience. My photographer, Harry, and I were met with a rustic and homey interior upon entering the gastropub. The Colonial has always updated its interior decorations in accordance with the season or holiday, and this time was no different. The ceiling was adorned with fall-themed leaf garlands and warm-toned yellow and orange light bulbs. The dark wood tables and stools complimented the wood-paneled walls — paired with the handwritten craft beer wall, Harry and I were transported into the full tavern experience. Although The Colonial is always packed with college students on evenings and weekend afternoons, we were able to witness a more calm and intimate version — on a weekday afternoon, the chatter was at a minimum, allowing us to hear the country music playing in the background. Most patrons were seated at the bar, making our Restaurant Week meal feel all the more cozy and relaxed.
For our first course, Harry and I both ordered the creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese strips. At first glance, the tomato soup was a vivid red-orange color, with the grilled cheese strips spilling out on the side of the plate. The dried parsley sprinkled on top of the soup added a contrasting pop of color to the otherwise monochrome dish. The soup was warm, tangy and just as flavorful as its color implied, a perfect pairing with the buttery and soft bread and cheese, which was toasted to golden perfection. I tasted a slight heat at the end of each bite, and while the soup was smooth and creamy, I noticed a few small tomato seeds which added a satisfying variety in texture. Harry said the soup exceeded his expectations.
“It tastes better than out of a can,” Harry said. “[The soup] tastes more real than that.”
Our entrees came out very quickly following the appetizer. I had the southern chicken sandwich and Harry tried the beer cheese burger. We both upgraded our sides to house fries, which come smothered in The Colonial’s signature house sauce and grated Parmesan. The southern chicken sandwich, which comes with the option of grilled or fried chicken, came with a large piece of crispy chicken on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and chipotle ranch. The first bite was heavenly — the fried chicken had a crispy, salty crust with warm and tender meat that was not too greasy. The house sauce on the fries had the sweetness and smokiness of barbecue sauce while also being salty and tangy from the Parmesan. Harry noted that the beer cheese was not what he expected.
“The burger is very messy,” Harry said. “I like the beer cheese. I still don’t know what it is, though. The bacon is also super good.”
He noted the flavor of the beer cheese was similar to that of cheddar.
“Beer cheese seems like something you’d dip pretzels in at a bar,” Harry said.
Harry and I were full by the time we were served our last course. The ice cream cookie sandwich I ordered was a chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream dessert, with rainbow sprinkles and chocolate drizzle on top. I am usually not a fan of vanilla ice cream, but the chocolate sauce balanced the sweet and creamy flavor, and the sprinkles gave the treat a nice crunch. Harry’s strawberry ice cream bar looked almost identical to the strawberry cheesecake bars that are sold at ice cream trucks in the summer, ending the meal with a trip to childhood. While we were stuffed to the brim with food, the cool ice cream was a nice way to end the night. Harry agreed on the familiarity and nostalgia of the dessert.
“It tastes like the one from the ice cream truck,” Harry said. “But the strawberry drizzle is a nice touch.”
Overall, The Colonial kept up their game with Restaurant Week, impressing patrons with their comfort classics and immersing them in the warm, autumnal gastropub experience. Although Harry and I got some smiles and stares photographing all of our food, the staff made sure we had a pleasant and hospitable meal, and I appreciated our server checking in on us throughout. With a mature yet welcoming vibe and its top-notch food, one can see why The Colonial is such a hit among the Binghamton community.