Binghamton University seniors probably remember a time when the Lost Dog Cafe was one of the few places to eat in Downtown Binghamton, but walking in the area today, there are many more options to choose from — and there are even more to come.
205 Dry, a restaurant and bar modeled after a 1920s speakeasy, opened on State Street last month and is owned by Alise Willerton, who also owns Uncorked Wine and Chocolate Loft on State Street. The owners of The Colonial are also double dipping in the local restaurant scene, opening a Mexican restaurant called Dos Rios Cantina in the coming months. The owners of Social on State are introducing a new restaurant, Craft Bar and Kitchen, set to open at the beginning of March on Washington Street. It will specialize in craft beer, craft sandwiches and cocktails. Finally, Strange Brew, a Washington Street staple, recently added a second location on Court Street.
The vibrant restaurant culture in Downtown Binghamton is a recent development, and the new spots prove it’s a successful place to do business. The restaurants are a highlight of the area and make it feel like an up-and-coming city — a vibe that’s appealing to college students looking for new hangout spots. Between BU students and area natives, it seems like everyone enjoys an extensive selection of eateries. The buildings these dining options occupy are often historic, and their adaptive re-use is also something to be celebrated.
New eateries in the area also means more options for Restaurant Week, which helps stimulate the economy every fall and spring and bridges the gap between the University and the community. It’s a good incentive for BU students to explore new spots Downtown, aside from the bars on State Street, and to engage with the local area in a different way. Events like Restaurant Week, the Martini Walk and Mac and Cheese Fest also draw out-of-towners to the Binghamton area.
It’s important to note that the people launching these new restaurants own other businesses as well. This speaks to the success of their current businesses — successful enough that they chose to take on new ventures and open venues within a few blocks of their first businesses. Additionally, many business owners in the area are BU alumni, which also proves that it is possible to stay in the city of Binghamton after graduation and find glowing success.
While the Editorial Board is happy to see so much growth in the area, it’s unclear how many restaurants the area can sustain and for how long this growth can last. Ideally, we would love to see an affordable grocery store Downtown as well. For now, however, we’re glad to have some new spots where we can continue eating our hearts out.