Monday, June 24, 2013

Finger Lakes Restaurant Week Spotlight: The Ginny Lee Cafe

Chef MitchLocated at Wagner Vineyards on Seneca Lake, the

is a must-do for diners looking for a well-rounded experience. Nestled near the on-site winery and brewery, breathtaking vineyard views and swan pond, the Ginny Lee is the perfect place for a leisurely lunch in the heart of wine country. 

Vachel Mitchell, or “Chef Mitch,” dreams up new specials daily, including an innovative pizza option and salads and soups that draw from the rich agricultural options in the Finger Lakes. With a savvy for turning seasonal produce into creative dishes, coming up with an inspired menu for Restaurant Week was no problem for Mitchell.   

“There’s so much more variety with the produce in the Finger Lakes [than there used to be],” he says. “And it’s all readily available. I’m excited about that.”

Because the restaurant is only open for lunch – that includes Restaurant Week – Mitchell wanted to create a menu that spoke to the casual, relaxed nature of midday dining in the Finger Lakes.

What he came up with definitely fits the bill: a steak sandwich made with beef from High Point Farms in Trumansburg, nestled in a roll from Village Bakery in Montour Falls, and topped with cheese from the Muranda Cheese Company or Sunsetview Creamery.

“I really like the profile on the cheddar,” Mitchell explains. “It adds just enough to the beef without overpowering it.”

Having such close access to the winery and brewery begs the question: do beer and wine ever appear in the food?

“It’s mandatory!” Mitchell says with a laugh, describing a classic barbeque sauce made with Wagner’s beer. “And if a new vintage of wine comes out, we taste it and try to create flavors to pair with it.”

With so much to do, see and taste, lunchtime diners at Wagner and The Ginny Lee can definitely make the most out of their Restaurant Week trip. Says Mitchell: “We’re a one-stop shop! Beer, wine and food.”

Ginny Lee Café - 607.582.6450

Author Bio:

Rochelle Bilowdescribe the image

Rochelle is a food and wine writer with a focus on seasonal cooking and sustainable agriculture. She’s also a classically-trained chef who spent the last year working on a full-diet, draft-powered farm in Central New York. Visit her at, on Twitter at @RochelleBilow or on Instagram at RochelleBilow to learn more.

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