The Stonecat Cafe - 5 stars in a fruit stand

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The Stonecat Cafe is one of Seneca Lake's star attractions.  It began as a small cafe in an old fruit stand where it occupied less than half the space.  I miss the days of an antique toy being on every table and menus delivered on boards adorned with twigs.  I also miss the days of being able to stop in at the last minute on a Friday or Saturday night and still be able to get a table for two.  A lot has changed, the cafe has taken over the entire building (which still looks like a fruit stand) , the antique toys are gone, the painted spattered cement floor has been replaced with variations in wood, and the menus now come in a folio like most other restaurants.  The one thing that has not changed is the food. It is still outstanding.

The Food

Chef/owner Scott Signori has a talent for pairing flavors that are sometimes off the beaten track, but they work extremely well together.  The pulled-pork barbecue and cornmeal crusted catfish are still the signature dishes of this restaurant, and are always there beckoning me to choose them over one of the rotating nightly specials.  Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes the lure of the special wins out.  Either way, I have never been disappointed.  A pecan crusted trout special still stands out in my pallette's memory as the best meal I have ever had.  Sadly this last visit, pecan crusted trout was not one of the specials but roast duck was.  It was tender and well seasoned and thoroughly enjoyed.  I also enjoyed the soup of the evening, a spicy Thai squash blend. 

In addition to foods that pair well with each other, the Stonecat Cafe has a well balanced wine & beer list  featuring the best of the best from the region.  Just in case you need some advice on your wine and beer choices, the menu offers suggestions for each dish.  As a side note, anyone who favors vegetarian cuisine will always find something on the menu to meet their tastes. 

The Setting

The Stonecat Cafe overlooks  a field sloping gently down the hill to the Eastern shore of Seneca Lake.  Sunset views are possible if dining on the deck.  However many evenings the sunset is so glaring that shades are pulled so that you get the general idea of the sunset, without the retina burning and squinting.  Inside the restaurant are many tables arranged in smaller rooms which makes it feel small and cozy even when it is completely full.   A small bar is there for a nice place to wait for a table.  The servers are very genuine providing fun chatter and good service.  On Saturday nights there is usually a small band providing entertainment.  Usually nothing too loud unless you just happen to be seated right next to where they are set up.  Dress can be moderate if you are celebrating a special occaision but the Stonecat can be wonderfully casual too.  Finger Lakes casual is the best way to describe it.

Things to Consider

  • The restaurant is relatively small and very popular, so make your reservations early.
  • Entrees range in price from roughly $15-$30.
  • The Stonecate Cafe has seasonal hours, serving lunch & dinner as well as brunch on Sunday, but only certain days a week.  Be sure to check their website for their current schedule, and call first.
  • If going on a Saturday, let them know if you prefer to be near the band or far from the band.
  • Dining outside can be nice and the deck is covered, but if a storm kicks up... well lets just say there is no protection from sideways rain unless you are inside.  So if the wether forecast is not great, you may want to request to be seated inside.

As innkeepers, we end up referring a lot of guests to the Stonecat Cafe.  When we say it is a very reliable choice it is because they deliver smiles, happy stomachs and satisfaction time after time after time.  Not just on the times we've been there, but to the hundreds of times we've sent guests there.

Other StoneCat Cafe Reviews