Coming to St. Lawrence, I worried about finding places to eat off campus. Growing up in New Hampshire, I had become accustomed to owner-operated cafes and small diners to eat out with friends. While I knew that St. Lawrence University prides itself on having “one of the most student-oriented dining services” in the country, I still wanted the accessibility to off-campus options for weekend brunches as well as when my parents came to visit.
Throughout the past three semesters, I have made a point to try many of the local eateries, making sure to show my parents my favorites when they come to visit. This past Family Weekend I was especially excited to show them the new addition to town, the beloved Bagelry. Unfortunately, we were unable to try, as the line was so incredibly long. It seemed as though every family on campus had the same idea as we did. While I was disappointed with the line, my knowledge of the other eateries in town proved helpful and we walked the short distance to the Partridge Café where there was no line and we were able to eat outside on a beautiful morning.
As I look back on that day, I can’t help but wonder why so many families agreed to wait in a long line when there are plenty of other great eating options off campus? Is it because the Bagelry is so new and accessible? Or maybe, is it because they do not know of the other options off campus? My guess is a combination of the two. So, in response, I have made a comprehensive list: Eliza’s Top Five Favorite Off-Campus Eating Options! I have listed them from informal to formal dining options so that you may accurately choose which one you want to try first. But please, don’t tell anyone else, this will have to be our little secret!
1. The Meadows: 5855 County Route 27, Canton, NY; (315) 386-1139
Located just one-mile off campus, this small diner offers basic breakfast necessities. After a semester-long hiatus, The Meadows is back up and running! It always surprises me how few people have visited this local restaurant as well as how off some of the Yelp reviews are. While their hours are not posted online, they are open very early for Breakfast as well as lunch. Their menu is very basic but you can be sure to find all breakfast necessities at a fairly low price. My personal favorite is The Works Omelet with a side of home fries! This is definitely a local-oriented dining option, the table settings and the decorations are minimal but the conversations are lively. When I first visited The Meadows, the outward appearance as well as the truck parked in the front with a dead deer in the back scared me a little bit but I found that my worries were not needed as soon as the chocolate milk and omelets were placed in front of me. This is definitely a place to go if you want a change from Dana Brunch and cannot wait until The Pub opens on the weekend! You can even use one of the on-campus rental bikes and ride there for an early morning breakfast! Student Review: “Best eggs benedicts in town and awesome pancake flavors!"
2. The Hideaway; 20 Gulf Rd., Colton, NY; Open Monday-Sunday 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
I might get in trouble for posting this with The Hideaway regulars. One of St. Lawrence’s best-kept secrets is about to be let out! While The Hideaway is a bit farther of a drive (15 minutes from campus), it is definitely worth the wait. The fair prices, quick service, and option to order pie all day make for a trip well worth the drive. The portions are very large, as I found out on my first experience visiting, so the biggest struggle is not to let your head speak for your stomach when ordering. Reservations are not needed but please come prepared that The Hideaway gets crowded around 11 a.m. on the weekends. My personal favorite food option is the cinnamon bun but this also has to compete against their pancakes with real maple syrup. Being from New Hampshire, I am very skeptical on the quality of maple syrup when it is projected as “real” but The Hideaway has done a nice job providing a quality topping for breakfast pancakes. The reviews on Yelp seemed fairly accurate, giving this small restaurant a grade of 3.5 stars, it is not gourmet nor does it ever try to appear that way. One important thing to note is that it is a cash-only business. If you find yourself there with only a credit card in hand, you will have to walk across the street to the Kunoco and use the ATM.
Student Review: “Really good milkshakes!"
3. The Partridge Café; 19 Miner Street, Canton, NY; (315) 386-3016; Open Tuesday-Sunday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Nestled behind the busy and bustling streets of Canton lies one of the best coffee shops in town. The Partridge Café serves not only the basic coffee drinks but the owner, Mark, also makes the best specialty coffees I have ever tried! Just ask him to surprise you and I promise you will not be disappointed. The prices are fair and their daily specials for hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, salads, and soups are always unique. My favorite is the caprese bagel, which includes pesto, tomato, and mozzarella cheese; I always ask for an egg on top! While its location is not perfect, located in the Rite Aid strip mall, this little place seems to draw a lot of loyal customers demonstrating that the personality of the café, along with the great food, truly make this place unique. Yelp gave it 4 stars.
Student Review: “Great food and even better service.”
4. The Blackbird Café; 107 Main St, Canton, NY; (315) 386-8104; Open: Monday- Friday 8 a.m. -8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
If diners are not what you are looking for and you enjoy the intimate feel of a small, local café, the Blackbird Café is the spot for you! Located right next to The Bagelry on Main Street, the Blackbird offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options Monday-Saturday as well as brunch on Sundays. While I will admit I have never experienced the Blackbird Brunch experience, this will surely change after interviewing some of my friends and hearing what they had to say. The Blackbird prides itself on its commitment to local food making it slightly more expensive than the other options I have listed but the quality of the food makes it worth it. Sunday brunch offers the basics such as bacon and eggs as well as the French Toast Napoleon, which is French toast, layered with a sweet cream filling and blueberries. One thing I enjoy about the Blackbird is the ability to order half sizes of almost anything sold so I can try more things! The Blackbird does take reservations and it may be a good idea to make one on a busy weekend! It received 3.5 stars on Yelp mainly due to its self-service aspects and the slightly higher pricing of meals. This is totally the place to take your families for a weekend brunch!
Student Review: “The wait for food is longer but worth it."
5. First Crush Bistro; 32 Market St, Potsdam, NY; (315) 265-9463; Open: Monday- Tuesday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
The last on the list is a small café located in the neighboring town of Potsdam. Walking in feels like you have just fallen into Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole with its tiny appearance but magical food. Seating about 10 tables allows for intimate seating options with your neighboring parties; it is a wise option to call ahead for a reservation. The breakfast’s range from bagels to specialty Crème Brulee French Toast that is as delicious and filling as it sounds! They don’t only serve delicious breakfasts; their lunch and dinner options are incredible as well. Each night the dinner menu changes but my personal favorite lunch option is the Long Beach Wrap turned into a salad. If you have a small group of people, this is definitely the stop for you!
Student Review: “Great place to take a date or your parents!”