I grew up within a 10 mile radius of my current home and over the years it’s not been easy to find good Italian food that wasn’t from one of the chain franchises in the city of Ithaca, Elmira or Binghamton. Now, however, we have an abundance of places that are owned by families from the area. Where do I live? I live just south of Spencer, New York.
When I was growing up, there wasn’t anywhere in Spencer to get Italian food. You had to either drive 15-20 miles south to the Valley, 20-25 miles west to Elmira or 20 miles north to Ithaca. That’s not the case these days, however. Spencer is now the home to two Italian restaurants, both opening their doors earlier this year. There are other great Italian places in the Valley and Ithaca that are not part of a chain, so there are plenty of options for everyone.
DaVinci’s; located at 91 Orchard Street in the Visions plaza in Spencer; boasts a full Italian menu, including pizza, pasta, appetizers and chicken wings. DaVinci’s offer a breakfast menu with everyone’s favorite breakfast fair of eggs, omelette’s, french toast, pancakes and waffles, along with breakfast sandwiches that will rival your favorite drive-thru. DaVinci’s claim to have been established in 1999, but the restaurant in Spencer opened in early 2010. DaVinci’s offer daily specials as well as pizza specials for your every need. DaVinci’s is open seven days a week: Monday through Thursday from 6:00 am until 9:00 pm; Friday and Saturday from 6:00 am until 10:00 pm; Sunday from 6:00 am until 9:00 pm. DaVinci’s does offer delivery Monday through Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm within the local area on orders of $15 or more.
ParkView; located at 35 N. Main Street across from Nichols Park in Spencer; boasts an ever expanding menu of pizza, wings, sub sandwiches along with BBQ meats smoked right on site. ParkView opened in early 2010 in the building that had once been the post office and then transformed into another pizzeria. After that business closed, the building sat empty and Spencer lacked a place of it’s own to get pizza. On top of their menu of Italian subs, pasta and pizzas, ParkView also has it’s own ice cream window, doling out handmade ice cream treats during the summer. While they are not open for breakfast, they do offer a daily lunch special from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm. ParkView is open seven days a week: Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm; Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm; Sunday from 12:00 pm until 7:00 pm.
Outside of Spencer, you can get a decent variety of pizza and other classic Italian dishes. For instance, Ithaca has Sammy’s Buffet and Grill in the Tops Plaza on South Meadow Street offering a full line of Italian classics along with a large all you can eat buffet. The Horseheads-Elmira has several places, but the first that comes to mind is Tanino’s Ristorante. I’ve never been to either of these places, but I have heard many good reviews from friends and family who have been there. If you’re looking for something in the Valley area, Original Italian Grille is one of the many places that you can get Italian. They have a nice menu, a wide variety of foods for any budget, the atmosphere is a bit loud, as they have a full working bar in the middle of the restaurant, but they also have a smaller dining room that is quieter.
If you live in or near the Spencer-Van Etten area, check out DaVinci’s or ParkView before heading out of town.