Collegetown Eateries and Watering Holes: A Celebration

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By Joe Wilensky

In February, Ithaca Beer Company opened its new brewpub on College Avenue—featuring modern décor, a patio for outdoor dining, and a menu that showcases its libations and locally sourced ingredients.

Dubbed the Taproom, the eatery is located on the ground floor of the newly constructed building that replaced the Chacona Block—at the same corner where Collegetown Bagels (CTB) served up food and drink for decades, before moving across the street to Sheldon Court in 2020.

A street scene on College Avenue in the early 1980s shows Oliver's, Collegetown Bagels, and Rulloff's
Students in the 1980s stroll past College Avenue's now-demolished Chacona Block—then housing (from left) Oliver's deli, the original Collegetown Bagels, and Rulloff's restaurant, with apartments above. (Photo: Cornell Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections)

The opening of the brewpub (owned by Ithaca Beer founders Dan Mitchell ’00 and Mari Rutz Mitchell ’98, MS ’03) is just the latest major change to the neighborhood where so many Cornellians live, eat, drink, and socialize. While every Big Red alum may have the Collegetown of their East Hill years emblazoned in their memory, the student-driven enclave is forever evolving—from decade to decade and even year to year.

“Each generation of students and alumni has its own view of what the ‘timeless’ icons are—and in many cases, they’re pretty narrowly focused,” says Mark Anbinder ’89, a second-generation alum who has been covering the Ithaca food scene for decades for 14850 Magazine and and via a regular weekly segment on WVBR.

This Eddy Street building, shown here when it was the home of Elba Italian Kitchen in 1976, is the site of Mehak Cuisine today
This Eddy Street landmark—shown here in 1976, when it was the home of Elba Italian Kitchen—has had numerous incarnations over the years (including another Italian eatery, Little Joe's). It's now the site of an Indian restaurant, Mehak Cuisine. (Photo: The History Center in Tompkins County)

Indeed, while some legendary establishments—like Johnny’s Big Red Grill, the Royal Palm Tavern, the Nines, Aladdin’s, Rulloff’s, and the Chapter House—existed for decades, countless others have come and gone: changing names, locations, or cuisines or closing altogether, with new ventures popping up to take their place.

For example, as Anbinder notes, when Student Agencies (the building’s owner) announced plans to demolish the Chacona Block—prompting CTB’s move—many who objected were unaware of the venerable bagel shop’s history: it has been operating in Collegetown since 1976, originally residing in a different storefront in the same building.

“They had no idea that CTB’s familiar corner spot wasn’t its first home,” Anbinder says, “or that Oliver’s [deli] was the corner icon there for a while.”

Patrons enjoy the outdoor patio at Collegetown Bagels’ new location in the University-owned Sheldon Court
Collegetown today: Patrons enjoy the outdoor patio at CTB's new location in the University-owned Sheldon Court. Across the street is the new building housing the Ithaca Beer Taproom. (Photo: Jason Koski / Cornell University)

As major construction continues to change the face of Collegetown, Cornellians asked alumni to share their memories of the neighborhood’s restaurants and watering holes.

As recent grad Reed Rosenberg ’20 observes: “I think the appeal of Collegetown, upon reflection, is that it encapsulates what most people are nostalgic about when they think about their college years: it’s a close-knit, walkable community where you can see your friends easily and frequently.”

The following is a not-at-all-comprehensive (and in no particular order) smorgasbord of establishments that offered nourishment, libations, and entertainment to alums from the mid-20th century onward. While alums weighed in on nearly two dozen favorites, others—such as Café Decadence, the Connection, Dino’s, and Johnny O’s—didn’t get detailed shout-outs. But please feel free to add your memories to the comments below!

Royal Palm Tavern

In business for just over seven decades before closing in 2012, “the Palms” was one of Collegetown’s most enduring bars.

“I used to go to watch football on TV,” recalls John Seiler ’57. “It was dark in there. Fraternity houses didn’t have sets then.”

The Palms remained a dive-bar favorite even as student drinking habits and socializing behaviors shifted—particularly after New York raised the legal age to 21.

In recent decades, Cornellians started hanging out in apartments before heading out for a short stretch right before last call, which became known as “Palms o’clock.”

View of the painted ceiling tiles at The Royal Palm Tavern
At the Palms, most of the ceiling tiles had been painted and nearly every surface danced on. (Photo provided)

For Lucrezia Herman ’76, one of its salient features was the stickiness of its tables: “I once made the mistake of putting a paperback on a table there, leaning my elbow on it for an hour or so and then tearing part of the back cover off when I tried to pick it up!”

The building that housed the Palms is no more; it was one of several properties razed in 2017 to make way for Cornell’s Breazzano Family Center for Business Education.

Jim’s Place / The Chapter House

“I still have my own personal beer mug from Jim’s in my den at home,” recalls Bill Waters ’54. That Stewart Avenue watering hole had opened in the late 1920s; it segued into the Chapter House in the 1960s—weathering a 1980s stint as an ice cream parlor before reemerging as a popular hangout that eventually offered 49 beers on tap as well as house-made sodas, games, live music, and popcorn.

“Mostly, the clientele consumed upstate Pilsner by the pitcher,” recalls Jason Gettinger ’64. “Did it serve food? Who noticed? Oh yes, burgers and fries in a basket lined with a red-and-white checked napkin.” Ron Bulmer ’67, who worked as a bouncer when the establishment was briefly known as “Jim’s Chapter House,” sums up his takeaway: “I learned to hate pizza—messy to wear.”

The Chapter House on Stewart Avenue, circa 1969
The "Chappie," circa 1969. (Photo: The History Center in Tompkins County)

Many recall 25-cent drafts, frat and sorority composites on the walls, and singing along with the jukebox. “Every time I hear Bobby Darin’s ‘Mack the Knife’ or Robert Palmer’s ‘Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley,’ I’m immediately transported back to the Chapter House,” says Sharon Palatnik Simoncini ’78.

Destroyed in a 2015 fire—after which, memorably, a crop of corn sprouted up in the vacant lot, seeded by the cache of popcorn kernels—the building was rebuilt a few years later in a style similar to the original. But the Chapter House has not been revived, and the space remains vacant.

Johnny’s Big Red Grill

The legendary Johnny's Big Red Grill sign, which stayed up for another 30 years after the establishment closed
The sign was a Collegetown landmark for decades. (Photo: Mark H. Anbinder ’89)

In business from 1919­–81, the Dryden Road stalwart long left its mark on Collegetown: its iconic sign stayed up for nearly 30 years after the restaurant closed, finally being taken down in 2009 for safety reasons.

“As freshmen in the U-Halls, we’d often walk there on a Sunday evening, a large group, for a rare dinner out,” says Michael Emen ’71. “When the check would come, it was quite amusing to witness a dozen freshmen try to divvy it up. No one had a credit card and every penny was precious. Great memories.”

And there’s another reason why Johnny’s looms large in Big Red food lore: its proprietor, Johnny Petrillose, was the father of Bob Petrillose, founder of the legendary Hot Truck.

Ruthy’s Place

In business briefly in the early 1970s, the restaurant (also known as Ruthy’s Flamboyan Restaurant) was located across from Chef Italia on College Ave. “Aside from great lasagna and her signature cranberry chicken, Ruthy was best known for her hot, fresh-from-the-fat donuts, available a few evenings each week,” Rick Curreri ’73 reminisces. “If you were lucky, she’d give you the donut holes for free.”


Known for its lunchtime burgers and weekend brunches, Rulloff’s was a Collegetown staple from 1977 until its demise in 2020. (It had been previously scheduled to close to make way for demolition of the Chacona Block that summer, but shut down earlier that spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Night view of College Avenue and the exterior of Rulloff's, a Collegetown staple from 1977–2020
Rulloff's, whose décor featured artifacts evoking its notorious namesake, was the scene of many parental brunches as well as late-night libations. (Photo: Cornell University)

“Rulloff’s was my date restaurant,” notes Matt Van Ryn ’82. “They had delicious quiche and French onion soup.”

The establishment was named for notorious local murderer Edward Rulloff, who, in 1871, became the last man executed in New York State by public hanging. Rulloff’s cerebral organ is one of the most notable occupants of the University’s Wilder Brain Collection.

University Delicatessen

Nicknamed Uni Deli, the sandwich shop at the corner of College and Dryden was a mainstay of the 1970s. While some alums note its corned beef, pastrami, and slices of cheesecake priced at 10 cents per ounce, Beth Anderson ’80 calls it “the place to go for coffee, a sandwich, ice cream, or any type of comfort food.”

The Nines

The beloved pizza joint took its name from its building—the original, early 1900s home of Ithaca’s Fire Station No. 9. A new station was built next door in the 1960s, and the Nines opened in the early 1970s as a bar, restaurant, and music venue (first called “Old No. 9”). Its outdoor patio was one of Collegetown’s largest.

Exterior view of The Nines on College Avenue
Of all the pizza joints in Collegetown history, the Nines was arguably the most beloved. (Photo provided)

“Who didn't love the Nines?” says Peter Brav ’77. “Reasonable prices, many varieties of beer, burgers, those buckets of steamers, and great atmosphere with friends, especially after hockey games at Lynah Rink.”

There was much lamenting when the Nines closed in 2018, with hordes of alumni and locals clamoring for a final taste of its deep-dish pizza—and a glimpse of what Tom Helf ’83 praises as the “very cool” dumbwaiter that transported food down from the second-floor kitchen.

Cosmopolitan Restaurant

Known as Cosmo’s, the establishment “was everyone’s intro to Greek food,” says Curreri. “Demos, the ever-friendly owner-chef, would send out moussaka, pastitsio, avgolemono, and other Greek specialties (along with a great Spanish empanada) for under two bucks. The most expensive dish was a great boneless strip steak and fries, both covered with a Greek lemon sauce, for $2.22.”

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Chef Italia

The Ithaca franchise of this Rochester-based chain helped popularize spiedies in Ithaca in the 1970s. “Where else could you get a burger (or spiedie), fries, and a mug of draft beer for all of 99 cents?” Curreri says of this College Avenue eatery, which briefly became the Italian restaurant the Vineyard before closing in 1980. “And the meager price didn’t prevent us from sending the burger back if wasn’t properly cooked to order.”

Cabbagetown Café

The legendary spot on Eddy Street was a vegetarian mecca with a national reputation, mostly due to its chef-turned-owner, Julie Jordan ’71, who authored the landmark cookbook Wings of Life, as well as the Cabbagetown Café Cookbook, which featured dozens of the eatery's recipes.

Cabbagetown Café on Eddy Street was long a vegetarian mecca with a national reputation
After the café closed, chef Julie Jordan brought her talents to Ithaca's Wegmans supermarket, which created a custom food bar around one of her signature dishes, the Wings of Life Salad. (Photo: The History Center in Tompkins County)

“I went regularly for lunch with friends and co-workers,” says Herman, adding that she still uses one of Jordan’s cookbooks. “I bought a replacement copy when I left Ithaca in the late ’80s, as my housemates had used/abused it heavily as well!”

The Chariot

Located one flight below street level, this Eddy Street pizzeria was a favorite for many years before closing in 2005. “The sandwiches at the Chariot were gi-normous!” says Van Ryn. “There used to be a B. Kliban cartoon, ‘Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head.’ Those were the sandwiches at the Chariot.”

Nicole Neroulias Gupte ’01 remembers the “legendary” corn nuggets. “The Daily Sun used to go there after electing the next slate of editors,” she says, “and they comforted me greatly when I lost an election junior year.”


In business for 36 years until its closure in 2015, Dunbar’s—with its accumulated graffiti, framed jerseys, and the famous Lynah Rink cowbell—was a formative and memorable spot for many. Laura Tocco Mariani ’99 recalls meeting her now-husband, Matt Mariani ’97, there. “Matt offered to buy me a beverage and the rest is history,” she says, adding that they named their border collie after the bar.

Dunbar's, shown here shortly before its closure in 2015, was in business for 36 years
Dunbar's was a fixture at the corner of Eddy Street and Dryden Road for more than three decades. (Photo: Mark H. Anbinder ’89)

Dunbar’s was also a favorite for Michelle Giuffrida Cannon ’90, who reminisces that “Wednesday night was Group Therapy—$6 for a pitcher of beer and some kamikaze shots.” And as Meg Feury Ragland ’94 recalls, “Back in our undergrad days, Pete Shephard ’94 and I used to meet for beers at Dunbar’s on St. Patrick’s Day, along with probably a few hundred of you.”

The Souvlaki House

H. Fisk Johnson ’79, MEng ’80, MS ’82, MBA ’84, PhD ’86, remembers this family-style Greek and Italian stalwart so fondly that he gave the eatery—and its now-retired owner, Peter Papachryssanthou—a shout-out during the 2017 celebration of the gift that created the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

“I think I ate 14 or 15 meals a week at Pete’s restaurant, the Souvlaki House,” Johnson said, then led the audience in a round of applause for Papachryssanthou (who was in attendance) and added: “I highly recommend the large Greek salad with extra feta.”

I highly recommend the large Greek salad with extra feta.

H. Fisk Johnson ’79, MEng ’80, MS ’82, MBA ’84, PhD ’86

Many other alums share happy memories of the Souvlaki House—still in business on Eddy Street after more than half a century.

Notable for its fold-up booth seats and wall art showcasing both soccer jerseys and images from classical history, it has long been a go-to place for hockey fans’ pre-game dinners, featuring not only the eponymous meat dish and huge Greek salads but pizza, Italian entrees, and garlic bread.


Before Collegetown Bagels took the iconic corner spot at College and Oak avenues, Oliver’s deli resided there from 1980–94.

Celia Shafer Feiler ’95, DVM ’99, remembers Oliver’s for having “the best matzo ball soup! Homemade chicken soup and one giant matzo ball that filled the container. My boyfriend then (and now husband) would pick up an order whenever I was sick.”

Collegetown Bagels

The iconic bagel shop first opened in the Chacona Block in 1976, in the storefront that would later house Bear Necessities. It moved to its familiar corner spot in 1994, operating there for a quarter century before moving to its current home in 2020.

Exterior view of the Collegetown Bagels patio at the corner of Oak and College avenues
The former CTB patio at the corner of Oak and College avenues was a beloved hang-out spot for generations of Cornellians. (Photo: Cornell University)

Janelle Teng ’11 calls CTB “the classic, the stalwart. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack. The most coveted seat in Collegetown as soon as the temperatures rose in the spring was on the CTB patio.”

The Collegetown CTB has since spawned four related outposts (some operating under the name Ithaca Bakery)—at the foot of East State Street in downtown Ithaca, in East Hill Plaza, on Route 13, and in the Triphammer Mall in Lansing.

Green Café

The “short-lived, but legendary” eatery—as described by Teng—was located in a large space on the southwest corner of Dryden Road and College Avenue that remains vacant today. “It was an NYC-style Korean deli that served everything from mashed potatoes to sushi to beer towers, open 24 hours a day,” she says. “They closed within a year, during which they were a go-to spot for many students.”

Aladdin’s Natural Eatery

Known for its soups, salads, felafel, and more, it was a Greek-and-Mediterranean favorite for three decades before it closed in 2019. Helen Rubinstein ’04 was particularly fond of the restaurant’s popular fruit salad. “I think of it often, because I have never since seen a substantial fruit salad on a restaurant menu, and it boggles my mind given how healthy and easy but delicious that one was,” she says.

Exterior view of Aladdin's Natural Eatery, a popular Dryden Road restaurant for decades
Aladdin's was famed for its salads and other healthy fare. (Photo: Cornell University Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections)

“It was made with apples, grapes, kiwi, melon, berries, and maybe some other fruit, topped with plain yogurt, drizzled in honey, and sprinkled with walnuts," Rubinstein recalls. "So simple.”

Mama Teresa’s

A staple on Dryden Road for 15 years before moving to Ithaca’s West End in 2012, Mama Teresa’s was (infamously) ranked by Playboy in 1999 as a top spot for diners to enjoy while in a state of—shall we say—inebriation.

“There are not many things certain in this life, but getting a slice during prelims or a night out to get your greasy fix at Mama T’s was certain,” says Lorraine Medeiros ’01. “Nothing made a night more complete than a slice and a soda with friends.”


A view of the bar at Stella's on College Avenue sometime in the late 1990s
Stella's boasted two distinct storefronts: a cocktail bar and an adjacent café where skilled baristas made lattes and the like—long before a Starbucks moved in across the street. (Photo: Cornell Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections)

A somewhat more upscale establishment amid more casual options, Stella’s opened in the early ’90s—amid a resurgence of cocktail culture—and offered a menu with local and organic options and a diverse list of libations. In its adjacent, dark-paneled café, coffee drinks and pastries were plentiful.

Christen Aragoni ’02 has fond memories of her favorite Stella’s beverage, an alcoholic concoction of hot coffee, chocolate, and mint called a Troop Leader—“perfect after freezing at the hockey game.”

Pixel Lounge

Anbinder notes that even though Pixel was only in business for a decade (2005–15), it “garnered just as much attachment for students as did Dunbar’s, which lasted 36 years.” Located in an alley off Dryden Road, it was named one of the best clubs in Ithaca by the Daily Sun. Local and NYC-based graffiti artists were commissioned to decorate the exterior walls; inside, it offered an arcade of old-school games like Ms. Pac-Man, an ongoing stream of projected movies, and a variety of DJs offering hip-hop and electronica mixes to an eager crowd.

Top: Video by Cornell University.

Published March 29, 2022

Do you have your own Collegetown eatery memory to share?


  1. Jim Lowe, Class of 1979

    I enjoyed many of the places listed. Also liked King Sub and Johnny’s Carryout for subs, and The Connection for just hanging out with friends.

    • Charles Schlumberger, Class of 1976

      Yes, Jim, King Submarine on Eddy was great – I remember “The X’er” – the best sub I ever have eaten. I wish I had kept a list of its ingredients! Charlie Schlumberger ‘76

      • Charles Schlumberger, Class of 1976

        King Submarine

      • GAIL CARON, Class of 1972

        Yes, that was the best. Roast beef, corned beef, russian dressing. I can’t remember if there was cole slaw.

      • GAIL CARON, Class of 1972

        OOPS, I messed up on my first post. It was pastrami, not corned beef.

      • Joy Passanante, Class of 1971

        Hello, everyone. I love these comments about King Sub. I worked there starting pretty much as soon as I arrived in Ithaca in fall of 1969 through some of the winter in 1969-70 before I started grad school at Cornell. It was my first job after my undergrad days in the Midwest. Wonderful to get a chance to talk to so many new people and the “regulars” as I was mixing huge containers of tuna salad—in batches so big for me that the nice owners (wish I could recall their names) had to buy me a stool to stand on—or spreading it and any other ingredients customers requested. Great subs, too.

      • Clifford+ribner, Class of 1973

        Yes, my dear friend, Charlie Mayer, worked there for years and loved doing it, making sandwiches for people who loved the whole thing, including Charlie. But I don’t see that anyone has mentioned the Eddy Street Bar (No name) across the street from Elba Italian Kitchen. We used to get pizzas at Elba, which were absolutely great, and bring them to the Eddy Street Bar and consume numerous pitchers of beer

      • Todd Mann, Class of 1972

        OK Kids, Here’s the real story of the X-ER

        As the then current owner of King Submarine House 1970-72,
        I was a Hotelie and taking Advertising classes in the Ag School. I initiated a customer menu write-in promotion for extremely great Sub sandwich creations. The customers filled in the proposed recipe naming forms, and I would make, eat and decide on the weekly Winners. The winning subs for about 8 weeks went onto our new permanent specialty Sub Menu ( 8 new sandwiches including the Tuna Moon, X-er, D MC D, Hot Cosmos and a few others. The weekly sandwiches were advertised on WVBR Radio and the creators names were mentioned as well as receiving free King Submarine sandwiches for a week .
        The X-er : Pastrami,Roast Beef baked with cheese, then anointed with Russian Dressing Lettuce and onions !!!
        As a Chi Psi member, I was able to hire a few of our brothers over those couple of years.
        Thanks for remembering, Todd Mann 72″

        • Don Doucette, Class of 1973

          Todd: Thanks for helping me pay my way through Cornell. I worked there from summer of 1970 through summer of 73. Employees got a sub for every day they worked a 4 hour shift, so I worked and ate one almost every day. I still love subs, though I must have smelled like Italian dressing and onions for most of my college career. You got the X-er right. The only detail is that the pastrami was heated separately to render the fat before being baked with the roast beef and cheese, plus usually tomatoes. It was the most labor intensive sub to make, but remembered by so many for a reason. It was created by Richard “Giz” Geismar, a good friend and apartment mate. My favorite was the Dealer McDope (DMCD), tuna and diced hot peppers baked with mustard and cheese, then lettuce, tomato and onion—can’t remember if Russian dressing was involved. King Sub was the best. I remember most working for Chris Bond and his brother. I’ve been trying to track them down 50 years later. Anything you could share to help me get in touch with them would be greatly appreciated. ( Thanks again for creating a big part of my college experience. Don Doucette
          PS: The bar across from Elba’s and next door to Kind Sub was Morrie’s, the best taps in town—Guiness, Bass Ale, Molson’s and Bud. I drank and tended bar there as I worked my way through college.

          • Richard Geismar, Class of 1973

            Thanks Don for having such a clear memory of the X-er. Your memory is correct about the pastrami. It was grilled first and the cold components of lettuce and tomato with Russian dressing were added afterwards.
            Richard Giz

    • Victor Goldsmith, Class of 1967

      Missing from the list is the Alt Heidelberg bar which, before it burned down in 1968, was home to a great music scene in the mid-60’s. The Mojos, which thrived as a more or less Rolling Stones cover band was a regular contributor to the bar’s raucous and crowded beer and dance scene.

      • Don Danila, Class of 1969

        You hit the nail on the head Victor. Always an alternative to my other favorite, The Palms, the Alt brings back memories of loud music by the Stones and spilled beer on the floor.

    • George Chelius, Class of 1967

      What about the “boxcar” just outside of town. I remember Saint Patty’s Day when they decided to give green beer for five cents. The president of the college declared that anyone that went would be dispelled from school. As a result you the place was was Mobbed from nine in the morning till late at night.

      • Cliff Essman, Class of 1971

        are you referring to the Station Restaurant?

    • Mary Jane Ackroyd, Class of 1978

      I came to Ithaca in ‘77. I loved the spiedies and Lambrusco at the Vineyard on College Ave. It was very affordable.

    • Andy Malcolm, Class of 1981

      Hmmm. Forgot about The Connection. Surprised it wasn’t mentioned in this article.

  2. Betsy Mead, Class of 1982

    The Connection was a favorite happy hour hangout. Free popcorn made it so. Who didn’t need some free food with their beer when they were in college?
    And Dionysus was around for most of my college time.
    Plus Plum Tree, still hanging tough on Dryden Road. Had good sushi there early in the 2000’s.

    • Ruth R, Class of 1982

      My friends and I also frequented both The Connection — I ate lots of popcorn there (we lived in a house on Eddy St) and the Plum Tree — delicious food!

  3. Austin Hickman, Class of 2021

    The past decade has seen such significant change in Collegetown. Just of those listed: Rulloff’s, The Nines, Aladdin’s, Pixel Lounge, Royal Palms, The Chapter House, CTB (location-wise), Stella’s, and Dunbar’s have all gone out in the past decade. Combine with recent large construction projects, it will be very interesting to see how a somewhat new collegetown’s identity grows and shifts over the coming years.

    Hopefully a few new bars will come in to take the place of these legendary ones! I’m very excited about Ithaca Beer Company’s new spot on the most coveted corner in Collegetown. An excellent addition.

  4. Caroline Hecht, Class of 1976

    Before CTB and Oliver’s, the restaurant on that corner was Pop’s Place. That’s what was there when I first came to Ithaca in 1972.

    • Fay Palma, Class of 1968

      Yes! Pop’s Place had great chili and starving student prices!

    • Davia Weinberg Love, Class of 1973

      I lived in an apartment upstairs in the building next to Pop’s. (’71-’72). Directly under us was an old-fashioned beauty parlor – I’m pretty sure the proprietor’s name was Mabel. – Davia Weinberg Love, Hum Ec ‘73.

    • Bob Booher, Class of 1972

      Between Pop’s and Oliver’s there was Muggsy’s. Pop’s was bought by two guys that had the A&W Root Beer franchise down on the strip. Their plan was to bring an A&W to Collegtown but when we stripped out all the layers inside and found the lovely chestnut woodwork, pressed tin ceiling and penny round tile floor of the original ice cream parlor they wanted to restore it. But A&W would have none of it and wanted to install their typical interior. So the guys decided just to open up their own rootbeer place and named it Muggsy’s. We mover the entrance to the side with the greenhouse foyer and added the patio.

    • Michael Zak, Class of 1975

      Yes, Pop’s! The first eatery I tried in C-Town while matriculating in 1971. Downright folksy, as I recall. And for a student on a budget, I recall a decent meal without a sting.

  5. Taed Wynnell, Class of 1989

    I was at Cornell in the late 1980s, and other than Collegetown Bagels and Louis’ Lunch Truck, my favorite restaurant was Sa’s Place, where I usually got a delicious calzone.

    • Dilvio Montealegre

      Sa’s place was a great place. The best pepperoni subs ever. Great pizza and very friendly owner. My favorite restaurant along with Souvlaki house.

    • Richard Chang, Class of 1991

      The proprietress at Sa’s somehow always remembered that I wanted an Xer. Although I did occasionally get a Hot Cosmo. She also had a stash of Coke behind the counter and remembered that I preferred that over Pepsi 🙂

      • Jenn Turney

        Hi, Richard! Very fond memories of Sa’s. Loved the names of the subs – the Eggplanet was one of my faves. Also unusual in that you ordered at the counter (or not, if the proprietress knew your usual order already), then ate, then went up to pay. She never confused orders, just amazing!

    • Cara Harth, Class of 1994

      Used to get the best sandwiches at Sa’s!

    • Justin Norfleet, Class of 1993

      I loved Sa’s too. The best hot subs ever. Hands down. And it was just a short walk from my basement room in Cascadilla. Mrs. Sa was always friendly and remembered that I wanted a Guerrilla Delight (if my age addled mind recalls correctliy). Oh, and don’t forget the short lived Shadow’s and then Billy Bob Jacks BBQ shack on Dryden Road…

      • Sage, Class of 1994

        I still think about the Guerilla Delight all the time. I’ve tried to recreate it at home, and at other sandwich shops that let you customize your sandwich, but it’s never the same.

    • Stephen Ramos, Class of 1985

      Louies lunch- The best hot sausage and peppers sub with the works !❤️

    • Koichi Hiura, Class of 1989

      Does anyone have a list of Sa’s sandwiches and recipes? I’m serious!

  6. Eric Key, Class of 1977

    Ah, the Chariot! We took the whole gang there to celebrate my PhD in 1983. I went there the day it opened, before they had their liquor license. Oh that cheesecake and a pint of Schmidt’s for 50 cents. What poor PhD candidates’ dreams are made of. My wife and I mourn its passing. It had been a bowling alley and the lane remnants adorned the walls. Tom Darling behind the bar in 77-78 and Ralph Byers unplugging the juke box and putting an out of order sign on it. I could go on and on!

  7. Andrew Veghte, Class of 1986

    Although not technically in collegetown, I have many happy memories of Mexican good and live music at the Rongovian embassy in trumansburg!

    • Diane Zahler, Class of 1979

      Aztec Two-Step at the Rongo…And Orleans every weekend at the Salty dog!

      • Susan Male, Class of 1976

        Yes!! Great memories of Cuba Libres at the Salty Dog.

      • Gary Shapiro, Class of 1975

        And some fabulous nights listening to Zobo Fun Band (their troupe of dancers) and Boffolongo (sp.) at The Rongo and other venues in the early-mid 70’s. And we know where some of their music led …

    • Andy Malcolm, Class of 1981

      Can’t mention The Rongo without mentioning the ‘Bastard Series’ of drinks: The Dying Bastard, Dead Bastard, and Suffering Bastard, each with progressively more alcohol.

      • Alyssa Bickler, Class of 1983

        Yes, the Bastard Series! And the West Indies Flying Yellow Bird. The Rongo!

    • William Urbon, Class of 1980

      The “Rongo” was awesome, but a bit of a drive from campus. Appropriately, it was repurposed long after it closed to Garrett’s Brewing Co. There is a plaque honoring the Rongovian Embassy Inn on the sidewalk in front of the brewery.

  8. Andrew Veghte, Class of 1986

    Good Mexican food I mean !

  9. Kimberly Fisher, Class of 2006

    I loved the pizza at Sindbad’s on Eddy Street. I believe they were only open for a few years, but their pizza was superior to Mama T’s and Collegetown Pizza. There was nothing better than a chicken parm slice and a buffalo chicken slice for lunch the next day after a night out.

    I’m transported back to Dunbar’s whenever I hear “Ring of Fire”. Thursdays were $3 (I think) Long Island Iced Tea nights! Rulloff’s was another favorite and I liked that they had both an upstairs and downstairs bar.

    • Janice Maxwell, Class of 2009

      Sinbad’s was my first experience with getting a late night slice after going out! FAR superior to the other pizza places 100% agreed!

  10. John F. Monhardt, Class of 1985

    We were five Swedes that studied at the same time in the mid-80s. We came independent of each other, but soon hooked up.(You can easily tell a Swede…) Olivers, Rulloffs, and Connection (free popcorn)were our most visited places. 40 years later we still see each other and celebrate a symbolic Thanksgiving every year.

  11. Paula Amols, Class of 1975

    King Sub! Their Exxer sub was crave-worthy, I think it’s still the best sub I ever had. I lived on Williams St., so after closing time at the Chapter House it was up the hill to Eddy St. for an Exxer sub and then back down the hill to my apartment. I would give a lot for one of those subs today.

    • Charles Schlumberger, Class of 1976

      Amen! Loved that sub!

    • Paul M Cashman, Class of 1973

      From sophomore to senior year I lived in my fraternity, whose cook was not the best by any means. So many nights along about 10 pm, some brothers and I would pile in my car for a run to King Sub. Not only did the the sub nourish me, but learning to parallel park in a tight space on a hill at night in pouring rain or a blizzard was one of the life skills I learned at Cornell that has stood me in good stead to this day.

    • Leslie Hertz Kawaler, Class of 1980

      The Exxer and the Tuna Moon were my favorites.

    • Diane Zahler, Class of 1979

      I haven’t thought of the Exxer for decades! Utter deliciousness. I want one NOW.

  12. Mariela Smith, Class of 1993

    Missing from this list are Cafe Decadence and Temptations in the early 90s, which both predated Stella’s, and made way better coffee drinks than Stella’s did when it first opened. For all the hype, Stella’s was mediocre and overpriced.

  13. Cindy Fuller, Class of 1978

    I was more of a Connection person as an undergrad. I liked being able to hear my companions talk. And one of the bartenders was a former microbiology lab partner. I returned to campus in 1986 to attend grad school. The Vietnam restaurant on Dryden Road was my go-to place for cheap and cheerful chow. Aladdin’s was the venue for my first lunch date with my partner Julian Vrieslander (PhD ’81). We also used to hit Café Decadence, next door to Aladdin’s, which was co-owned by one of my fellow nutrition grad students.

    • Mark Willis, Class of 1985

      Help me out here please Cindy. I also recall frequenting The Connection (this was early 80s), with its economical beer and popcorn diet. But I also remember DANCING there (to David Bowie and the like). Am I crossing wires in my head? I can’t seem to find anything on the web confirming they had a little dance floor. But I can’t imagine what other dance place there was in C-town. This is bugging me! Hope someone can clarify this.

      • Joe Magid, Class of 1979

        I think that’s right. Though you had to go to the North Forty to dance enough to work off a fraction of the popcorn consumed!

      • Adriane Simmons, Class of 1985

        Could it have been at Johnny’s?

  14. vincent abbatiello, Class of 1966

    obbees diner out of town greasy hamburger apple turnover with butter at 2 am cornell 62-66

    • Ron Gerard, Class of 1964

      Obbees diner was the best way to end the night. Great burgers and friendly casual atmosphere. I actually worked the grill part time for tuition money for the Hotel School!

      • Bradley Olman, Class of 1964

        The best! The BoBurger and Bud who could remember and get right long orders from squads of people. He famously said ‘with’ with every coffee order.

        • Bradley Olman, Class of 1965

          sorry, my class was ’65..

        • Roger Smith

          I remember having boburgers and those tasty apple turnovers after hockey games! Wonderful memories for sure! Roger Smith BA 70, MS 73

      • Lee Leonard, Class of 1963

        Great memory! Speaking of the grill in there, it was so cold one winter night that (having had a few drinks) I leaned over the grill to get warm.

        • Richard Hoffman, Class of 1967

          Obie’s closed when Obie (Cortland O’Brien) retired to Florida; Bud kept it going for a short time. As well as the BoBurger, he had Yeager or Yeagerburger–a burger combined with BLT. Grease was the #1 ingredient. And the jukebox had treasured ancient tunes, such as “My Best Friend”. It was the greatest late-night spot.

    • Dottie Hjelstrom Leelike, Class of 1966

      Finally, someone who remembers where I used to go often!❤️

  15. Rumour, Class of 1982

    State Street Diner…moseburger

    • Charles Schlumberger, Class of 1976

      In my day there also was the Ithaca Diner – open 24 hours. I ate many a “Hungry One Special” at 3 a.m.

    • Chuck Roby, Class of 1967

      Best boburger in town!

      • Bradley Olman, Class of 1965

        Have to differ..Obies.. over the tracks was the best..Late night was always so crowded he had an out of order on the pinball machine

  16. Jeanne Arnold

    I was a denizen of The Palms. I also loved Johnny,s after chorus rehearsals or concerts. I worked at the original Collegetown Bagels, and at Rulloff’s when it first opened. One of the owners was dating Bonnie Raitt.

  17. Shelley, Class of 1976

    Ahhh, times spent sitting with a friend in the window table at Uni Deli, eating blueberry ice cream and watching the “movie” — folks walking to and from or hanging out on College Ave. 50 cent rusty nails at the Nines. The best eggplant pizza in the “window” table at the original Elba’s (not the one in the photo), yummy Souvlaki’s at Souvlaki house — all on a college budget! Makes me so sad, though, to see historic buildings razed — nothing can create the special college town environment like preservation of history and the physical presence of the historic place that is Cornell. I think the city is missing out on keeping an environment that will make it more valuable, emotionally and economically, over time.

  18. Marilyn Blumberg Cane, Class of 1971

    The Unmuzzled Ox. It was a cafe inside a church. Very anti the War in Vietnam. This was 1967-71. There was also The Commons inside CURW.

    • Elaine Reynolds

      I volunteered at the Ox. Can’t beat the brownies.

  19. Kevin Stark, Class of 1991

    Growing up in the Southwest, Collegetown was a great introduction to many foods I had never really tried. Collegetown Bagels was my first introduction to bagels with cream cheese (I often grabbed a hazelnut coffee and a cinnamon-raisin bagel toasted with cinnamon-raisin cream cheese on the way to class in the morning). And Aladdin’s was great – first place I ever tried falafel. The place I really miss is the Greek House – we ate lots of pizzas, garlic break and greek salads there. Boy does that B&W picture of collegetown in the 80s make me feel old!

  20. Stephen Scott, Class of 1989

    The closing of Oliver’s robbed the world of some of the best NE clam chowder ever made!

    • Don McNerney, Class of 1990

      Yes, the New England clam chowder was a little peppery, as I recall. I really liked it.

  21. Charlie Tramel, Class of 1983

    In the late ’70s/early ’80s, Reggie Jackson was playing for the New York Yankees. Dunbar’s used to run a “25 cent shot” special anytime Jackson struck out on television. He was traded to the California Angels in 1982, and the special was discontinued. However, whenever the Angels played the Yankees on television, the special was revived. That was my senior year, and I was living with three guys in an apartment above Kinko’s Copy, next door to Dunbar’s. So, whenever Jackson struck out, we would run downstairs, quarters in hand, slam them on the bar and down shots. Drivers on Eddy Street, listening to the game on their radios, would throw their cars into park, jump out, run into Dunbar’s with a quarter, and down a quick shot before getting back in the car and driving away. No way that would be acceptable behavior these days!

    • Andy Malcolm, Class of 1981

      Dunbars was my ‘Cheers’. Many a night spent there. My apartment senior year was half a block down Williams Street. This allowed me to head up in the dead of winter without a jacket and not have to worry about losing it. Wrote ‘Party at Dunbars’ on my mortar board at graduation.

  22. Charles Schlumberger, Class of 1976

    Outside of Collegetown, in the ‘70s the was The Box Car, the North 40, The Haunt, and The Salty Dog.

    • Chuck Roby, Class of 1967

      In the ‘60’s the Boxcar offered free green beer on St. Patrick’s day beginning at 8:30 am for an hour. Too good a deal to pass up. Didn’t do well on my prelim later that morning. I believe the Boxcar was started by Garry Morfit, Garry Moore’s son (of TV fame, e.g. I’ve Got a Secret).

      • Chuck Roby, Class of 1967

        You can find a fun segment of To Tell the Truth featuring Garry Morfit Jr. and the Boxcar by Googling it.

      • Mark Anderson, Class of 1968

        I recall a St. Paddy’s Day morning at the Boxcar where the waiters wore orange jockstraps over bright green long johns while serving green beer.

    • Jason Straka, Class of 1994

      Oh my, the memories. The best one though is meeting my bride-to-be, Heather Straka (Sytsma) ‘95, on the patio at Oliver’s during summer break. All our friends would order a pitcher of beer (or two) and let the world go by. Married now for 25 years with two great kids. How different my life would be without Oliver’s.

      • Janice Maxwell, Class of 2009

        This made me tear up. I met my husband at Rulloff’s and we’ll be married for 10 years in June and expecting our second (older brother Ezra <3) in October – what a different route my life would have taken without that place!

    • Doug McWilliams, Class of 1975

      And Don’t forget the Pine Tavern. I think eventually the floor gave way to the basement.

    • Michael Tannenbaum, Class of 1975

      Yes – my personal haunt was “The Haunt’, as well as The Fall Creek House.

      • Suzanne Bors Andrews, Class of 1988

        Yes, the Haunt was formative for so many… amazing bands, no-privacy bathrooms, cheap beer that took an hour to order, the ceiling that always looked as if it was about to fall in. Shout out to John Brown’s Body and Kevin Kinsella – best concert I ever saw there

      • Janice Maxwell, Class of 2009

        Only time I ever got invited back stage by the artist’s was G Love and Special Sauce at the Haunt! What memories!

      • Andy Malcolm, Class of 1981

        Early each fall semester The Haunt took a photo of all of the patrons in the parking lot, enlarged it, and put it on the wall inside. Sometimes we had to go back for several weeks before the weather was good enough to take the photo.

        Recently heard an interview with Joe Bonamassa talking about playing at The Haunt. Impressive.

    • Susan Male, Class of 1976

      I think I misspoke when I mentioned the Cuba Libres at the Salty Dog. It think it was the special drink on Friday nights at The Haunt!

    • Andy Malcolm, Class of 1981

      The North 40. Can’t mention all of the questionable activities, but ‘all you can drink including top shelf’ on Thursdays was epic.

  23. Richard Test, Class of 1978

    My sister Karen was two years ahead of me at Cornell and she and her friends introduced me to the Palms. I remember starting my weekend pub crawl on Thursday nights. Loved the grittiness of the place — a complete dive, which is what made it special. Great times there with fun, warm people. Cherished memories!

    • Chuck Roby, Class of 1967

      Had my first freshman drink at the Palms, I was 17 at the time. Loved the place, a real dive.

  24. Joe Johnson, Class of 1994

    There was a Vietnamese restaurant too, best beef cubes rice. I can’t remember the name and it is bothering me now!

  25. Bill Landberg, Class of 1973

    An all time favorite was Steak A Roma on College Ave.

    • Lucrezia+Herman, Class of 1976

      I was waiting to see if anyone mentioned Steak A Roma – I worked there the last couple of months it was in existence as cashier/busboy and “Texas Toast” maker. The place got closed down for a week by the Health Dept. for several violations in June or July 1976, re-opened, and then was ‘mysteriously’ destroyed by a fire a couple of months later. If you ate the Athenian Chicken and survived, all credit to your digestive tract! (I worked lunch and dinner shifts and with little time between them would head to the Memorial Room at the Straight, where every dog in the building would sit looking at me expectantly as I smelled strongly of steak!) –

      • Michael Tannenbaum, Class of 1975

        “Slide down, please. Next!”

    • Mike Costello

      Are they the ones who had “The Steakburger”? Came with, I think, steak fries a salad and garlic bread.

    • Susan Male, Class of 1976

      I forgot about Steak-a-Roma! I learned what Texas Toast was there.

    • Gary Buerman, Class of 1977

      Yes, you could get a full meal with steak, potato, soda and a salad for under $5 at Steak A Roma

    • Michael Zak, Class of 1975

      Indeed, Steak Aroma! Came to be known as “Fake Aroma.” A regular stop for Sunday night dinner when dining was closed at Alpha Delta Phi. As I recall it, a decent dinner for $1.99. Then mint-chip ice cream cones from somewhere around there, can’t recall the name of the place for now.

  26. TP Enders

    Few seem remember the excellent Italian restaurant that previously occupied the space of Little Joe’s in the mid-80s: Vinnie’s Italian Kitchen. It was excellent in its own right until Vinnie, who was always on the premises, got sick of Ithaca weather, shut the place down in about 1988, and retired to Florida.

    • Irene Hendricks, Class of 1986

      Also loved Vinnie’s pizza! The bacon pie was my favorite.

    • I worked next door at Cabbagetown… Vinny was a great guy with excellent food. His pizza was GREAT and I grew up on LI to I know great pizza. There was a time when a bunch of the businesses were getting robbed at night. When I was chatting with him about that he said, you know why I wasn’t robbed? And he pointed to his Italian flag. I was bummed when he closed.

  27. Tessa, Class of 2019

    NOT SOUV!!!!! My best memory is these hot dog rolls.

  28. Don Staffin, Class of 1985

    I showed up on campus in the fall of 81 and The Vineyard was still in business. A year or two later it became Duffy’s for a few years before closing. So the 1980 date in the article is off by a bit.

    • Pia Murray, Class of 1987

      I remember getting pitchers of green beer for $2 at Duffy’s- the day after St Patrick’s Day! 1984.

  29. Elisa+Bremner, Class of 1990

    I used to favor the restaurant called Greek House (over Souvlaki House). Whatever happened to it?

  30. Mariangela (Nicolosi) Noyes, Class of 1986

    Met the man whom I’d later marry for a first date at Duffy’s in 1984. Being a North Campus resident with most classes in Martha Van I really never ventured into Collegetown and had to ask him where Duffy’s was when he asked me out! I arrived 30 minutes early and scoped out a seat at the bar with a view to the door. Waited a few hours … and a few wine spritzers later … sure that I had been stood up. Looked around for any other KDs in the place that I could make the long cold (February) walk back to North Campus when in he walks. He had “no idea” that the movie The Right Stuff was three hours long when he and his MAE buddies went to see it. Needless to say he was shocked I was still there waiting. I appreciated the drink and the ride home. Guess the roses the next day worked … here we are 38 years later (married 36). So, Duffy’s definitely holds a memory for me!

    • Lindsay Liotta Forness, Class of 1984

      I remember when you had to ask where Duffy’s was! LOL

  31. Rima Blair, Class of 1964

    I graduated in 1964. I remember Purity Ice Cream and I think it was the Taconic Inn for big splurge dining.

    • Bill Russo, Class of 1971

      That’s Taughannock Inn. Definitely our #1 big splurge place until long after I graduated in 1971. Rack of Lamb, lobster, roast duck…good wine list…great views of Cayuga Lake.

  32. Jeff Rapp, Class of 1980

    Sad to see so many of the old favorites gone from Collegetown, certainly lots of great memories from the late 70’s at so many of those old classic spots. A bunch of us mostly engineers who lived up the hill on Dryden Ave used to meet at The Connection on Thursday nights for “fluids lab”, putting many pitchers of beer to the test.

  33. Aron Steck, Class of 1982

    The first picture in the piece really brought back some memories: My parents generously paid for my tuition but I was responsible for my living expenses so I worked in the hospitality industry throughout school. Oliver’s was one of the first places I cooked. It wasn’t easy getting up to prepare brunch after one of those Sigma Pi parties. Later on, I bartended for a couple of years at Rulloff’s. That was probably the best bar/restaurant job I ever had. Great cast of characters on both sides of the bar. And thank god for CTB, after a hard shift one of those chewy bagels smothered in cream cheese hit the spot. Too many other memories to count at Dunbar’s, Souvlaki, Nines and more.

  34. Mitchel Weintraub, Class of 1979

    My favorite food memory is my girlfriend taking me to the Moosewood Cafe. After looking at the menu, I asked where is the food? I’m glad to see that it’s still open. And I like vegan food now.

  35. Bob Dremluk, Class of 1974

    One of my favorites was the hot truck found behind University Halls on West Campus!

  36. Bob Smith, Class of 1976

    Loved the Chapter House after hockey games (very special times), but Chef Italia’s pizza and salad bar resulted in big time take-out for a financially struggling student. Missing Collegetown … many years ago!

  37. Brian Earle, Class of 1967

    As a freshman engineer in the early ’60s, Pop’s Place was a great place to procrastinate and grab a sandwich. Later, I always chuckled seeing the subway tile floor in the north side of Chef Italia. It was a barbershop where I often had my haircut as a student. Another nearby hangout, often for the hockey team, was the Fall Creek House.
    Great article Joe.

    • Robin Feiner, Class of 1978

      How funny. I remember that bit of tile floor, and thought it was an authentic detail throwback to the old country, like the straw Chianti bottle on each table. Hey, I was 17.
      Hello Brian, ole advisor mine!
      I didn’t get to my 45th reunion last week, but I hope to make it—literally—to the 50th.
      (I did tune in and watch Corey, however.)
      Hope to see you then 🙂

  38. Steve Scheirey, Class of 1990

    My favorite memory is going to Oliver’s and hanging out in the patio senior year right after our wines’ class ended.

  39. Jonathan Ferrini, Class of 1981

    I purposely haven’t visited the campus since graduating in 1981.

    The campus was “magical” during my tenure.

    I prefer to remember fondly those places as they were, not as they have become!

    I never visited the Vet campus but chose it as a recipient of my philanthropy.

    Save your comments, please.

  40. Nancy, Class of 1982

    1978 – 1982 was a great time to be in Collegetown. Most of these establishments were flourishing and the drinking age was 18.

    • Andy Malcolm, Class of 1981

      Yes Nancy, and that was part of the reason I almost didn’t graduate from Cornell. 😉

  41. Nancy, Class of 1982

    An additional note – as seniors we would take Prof Christiansen’s Wines course on Wednesday afternoon, then progress to Johnnie’s for happy hour, then stumble to the fraternity for date night. Luckily my first class on Thursdays was photography at 2:00 pm.

  42. Marley Lubin, Class of 2011

    Missing out on mentioning Level B!!!

  43. Mike Love, Class of 1972

    Lived in apartment above Pips, across from student agencies, home of legendary pinball marathons.

    But for food – Hurry on down to Hardee’s, baby, where the burgers are charcoal broiled. Eddy St, just outside the gate.

  44. Annette Lee, Class of 1987

    Inside the Straight, there was a ride board to find rides home, phone booths, a candy counter that sold a small sleeve of whoppers for 10 cents, a popcorn place with many flavors for $.25 to 1.00 depending on the bag size and an ice cream counter called the straight scoop. I think the combination of these was about half of my “meals” from ‘83 to ‘86.

  45. Elliot Band

    The 9s had an actual fire engine inside in the mid 70s.

    • Andy Malcolm, Class of 1981

      I remember dancing on the bar at The Nines the night they closed in winter of 78-79.

  46. Alan Steinberg, Class of 1981

    The loss of the Chariot was like the loss of a good friend.

  47. Rosa Fontana, Class of 1993

    There was a Korean restaurant, Cayuga, that opened up while I went to school there, with the spiciest beef soup and by there an Indian small market where we would get bidis to smoke. Also much excitement when a Wendy’s opened there.

  48. Lindsay Liotta Forness, Class of 1984

    On the Commons: The Common Ground. Famous for peanut shells and popcorn on the floor and always had mellow live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Good for a burger and to “get away from the crowd.”

    • Betty Litsinger

      Oh I think you mean the Ground Round. Common Ground was the excellent gay bar

  49. Leila, Class of 1965

    From the 60’s, not restaurants but movie theatres heading downtown — the “Near Near”, the “Far Near,” the “Near Far,” and the “Far Far.” And there was a late night ‘restaurant’ all the way across town. I think the specialty was apple turnovers, open almost all night but I can’t remember the name. There was also a hot truck over near Risley and Alpha Phi.

    • Charles, Class of 1972

      Rosebud Cafe?

      • Joan K. Leighton, Class of 1964

        Obie’s, of course!

        • Eric Mueller, Class of 1973

          Later, in the early 70’s, known as Bud’s Boulevard Diner. I had many a late night munch there with the WVBR crew.

    • Mary G, Class of 1969

      The “far far” was also known as the “way out” and the food truck near Risley was the wonderful Louie’s Lunch!

    • Cliff Essman, Class of 1971

      was that the Rosebud?

  50. Doug McWilliams, Class of 1975

    I used to manage Lum’s then fell into managing Old Number 9’s for a stint early on, about 1974ish. 2 partners owned it including Mike Turback. I sold a huge oak coat rack to Turnbacks that resided in the entry hall there. Love to get that back.

  51. Pops place a favorite during my graduate school years 1971-1975, also ate at Joes every night while completing the writing of my dissertation in summer of 1975. Friday’s after biochem seminar we got drunk at Chapter house.

  52. Dana Cooperson, Class of 1981

    My favorites: (1) The Chariot (great pizza and beer, jukebox, mismatched plates), where my friends in the band “Your Mother” serenaded me on my birthday one year. Still hang with those friends. (2) Cabbagetown: Cornbread and huevos rancheros. Yum, Still use the cookbook. Fond memories of my calculus professor taking the whole lecture class to the 9s for green beer on St. Patrick’s day in the early am. And lastly: The Chapter House celebrating after our women’s lacrosse NY state tournament win with beer and singing along with jukebox fave “We are the Champions” at maximum volume (we may also have danced on the tables…)

  53. Dana Cooperson, Class of 1981

    Oops! One last indelible memory to note: Going to the Palms and being astounded that my friend Al Biederman (’79) knew all the words to “Love Potion #9”. Another great Collegetown jukebox!

  54. Pia Murray, Class of 1987

    Johnny’s on Dryden Rd was definitely open into the mid 80’s- but I had no idea they served food. We would wait in line to get in on a Saturday night, literally wall to wall people. Mixed drinks were $1.25 and there was a closet in the back room by the DJ where they served beer out of when it was too hard to get to the bar.

  55. Manmohan Mehra, Class of 1967

    I remember The Heidelberg tavern. Wonder what happened to it?

  56. John Beatty, Class of 1988

    Have to add the ABC (Apple Blossom Café) on Stewart Ave. One of the pioneers of vegetarian and vegan food, and a great live music venue.

    • Roberta Paikoff Holzmueller, Class of 1983

      yes! and you could do your laundry in the attached laundromat when I was at Cornell. We lived just down the block.

      • Nan Rogers, Class of 1978

        I loved playing the pinball machines in the laundromat for just 10 cents a game while doing my laundry.
        I also loved watching the guy holding the huge snake in front of the Uni Deli.

  57. James McCaffery, Class of 1985

    When I returned to Ithaca in 2011, I was surprised at how much had survived from the Eighties. Oliver’s, my favorite place to meet friends for cheap beer and conversation whose topics could run from “Paradise Lost” to “Meet the Ramones” was long gone, but Ruloff’s, the Palms, the Nines, and the Chapter House were still around, and Stella’s, though too recent to be a memory of my student years, became my new favorite place to kill an hour or so with a coffee or coffee-like beverage. Since then, Collegetown has not evolved so much as imploded. The closure of Ruloff’s, the demolition of the Chacona block and its replacement with the hideous Student Agencies Building was just the last straw.

  58. John Martindale, Class of 1972

    I worked for Chef Italia which was owned by Guido Iacavelli out of Binghamton, not Rochester. We opened a Chef Italia in Syracuse, Horseheads, Rochester, and then I helped open the one in Ithaca when I returned to finish my degree in the Hotel School. Being Binghamton based we had to introduce Ithaca to Speidis. We handed out free speidi cards at the football stadium. They became a best seller. We had lines out the door so we handed out plastic glasses of sangria to people waiting in line. I left Chef Italia to get my MPS at the Hotel School.

  59. David B. Simpson, Class of 1960

    David B. Simpson Class of 1960

    You missed one of the greatest eating places of all, the Dutch Kitchen in the Ithaca Hotel. Eating there was a real treat and the Cornell Daily Sun held its annual black-tie banquet there.

  60. Dennis P Walsh

    There is a whole community of people who used to work at the Chariot and the Nines. I worked there, mostly at the Chariot, in the early 1980s, and spent many nights with friends at the Chariot. Its owner, Mark Kielman, was something of a mentor to many of us. And I still have my very beat-up copy of “Wings of Life” from the Cabbagetown Cafe. I have made the cashew chili many times.

  61. Ron Klein, Class of 1976

    My friends and I, many of whom lived at a house on Cook Street, had the dubious distinction of being asked to leave (actually, kicked out) of the Royal Palms for getting too rowdy playing a drinking game! I always seemed to lose that game.

  62. Alice Andrews, Class of 1987

    Wow – so many memories. What other place had so many amazing places to eat and drink in just 2 small blocks. We had it good in the 80s and early 90s!

  63. Stefan G. Belman

    As a class member of ’58 BS and ’61 DVM, I have a fond memory of a white structured hotel downtown Ithaca, Cayuga St.?? On Sunday evening they would serve spaghetti dinners, all you can eat for $1. I would fast all day and enjoy three large red sauce covered steaming hot bowls. Didn’t have to eat the entire following day. I, during those seven years on the hill had very little spare cash.

  64. Steven Meller, Class of 1974

    My favorite in all of Ithaca was the Rosebud diner downtown. My buddies and I would go there for the filling meal that would carry us a few days. To this day it remains my gold standard for diner food. Sadly, a few years after graduation I returned to Ithaca and saw that the restaurant had closed!
    For daily libation the Royal Palm was my favorite.

  65. Wendy Marx, Class of 1987

    Best food memories (mid-80s):

    RBC mush garden no grease from the Hot Truck
    Endless salty popcorn from the Connection
    Brown rice with cashews and cheese from Cabbagetown
    Toasted sesame with cc and sprouts from CTB
    Greek salad from Souv

  66. Bradley Olman, Class of 1965

    I think nobody mentioned “The Parker House”, perhaps the most mediocre Chinese food served ever, but we had many a fun meal in large rowdy packs of Beta Sigs.

  67. Bruce Cochrane, Class of 1973

    I have fond memories of going to Cosmos with Rick Curreri (1973, quoted above), Brian Prindle (1973) and others during my sophomore year, usually to order “strip rare, french [fries]”, which indeed, with tax, came to $2.22. My junior year I lived on Highland Place, around the corner from Elba. Probably too much of a good thing.

    • Rick Curreri, Class of 1973

      Cochrane!! Good to see that the Collegetown Diet hasn’t buried either one of us yet!

      • Bruce Cochrane, Class of 1973

        Nope – still chugging along, as is another Cornell ‘73 friend Jeff Schwartz, who had suis bused in from Shortstop for the celebration of his 60th birthday at the Manhattan law firm of Hahn and Hessen. Which, BTW, are not as good as the hot truck originals.

  68. Dick Beal, Class of 1961

    I live in Collegetown and we used to eat breakfast at Pop’s and in the evening drank beer at the Palms.

  69. Eric+Key, Class of 1977

    Ah, The Chariot. Went there the day it opened, pre-liquor license. Best juke box, pizza, turkey soup and bartenders, including my friend Tom Darling. Cynthia Grossel Silber and I lament its passing every day we are in Ithaca.

    • Larry Edelstein, Class of 1987

      It’s the fries that I remember, that and being able to drink there somehow, despite it being after the age limit was raised

  70. Phillip V.

    If my “wealthy” Japanese Hotelie friend was treating, the Nabeyaki Udon at the Kayuga restaurant was the best. Otherwise, I bought Chinese foodstuffs at a tiny little Asian food store past the top of Buffalo St. and made my own noodle dishes. That little store introduced me to sambal olek, which more than satisfied a New Mexican’s craving for a little more 🔥 in his meals.

  71. James (jim) Morrow

    Nobody ( I think,)has mentioned ZINC’s—(“we’ll all have drinks, at Theodore Zinc’s
    When get back”….etc)- a classy bar/restaurant down the hill aways from Collegetown.

    During under graduate days,I lived in Cascadilla, and many nights, for dinner, I went to Collegetown for a TULI-BURGER !! A monster sandwich which was very filling and delicious.

    When i returned for MBA School,I used to work at the Collegetown Book Store, it was a
    Great experience. .

  72. JOSE REYNOSO, Class of 1992

    Reflections of a Cornellian: Last call at the Palms! Hanging at Fufu’s (Ruloffs). Too many beers at Dunbars. Senior year conversations (over decent beer) at the Chapter House. Dino’s, the first bar to hit on way into the center of Ctown senior year when I lived on Catherine. Grabbing a bagel on the way to class at CTB when it was just a crowded little storefront. Sunny days at Olivers. Pizza at the Nines and the Chariot. Coffee with my college girlfriend at Cafe Dec. And, finally, a nice meal at Aladdin’s, Kayuga Sushi on Eddy Street or at little Joe’s (or “Big” Joe’s downtown). Can’t believe it’s been 30 years!

  73. Charles H Bridges Jr, Class of 1974

    I can remember my father, Class of 1934, visiting me during the early 70’s. Of course, we went to Johnny’s to eat. Mr. Petrillose took one look at my dad and said, “Didn’t you used to hang out with . . .” I was floored!

  74. pat brown, Class of 1962

    Bill’s quick lunch on college ave. cheap Tully burgers

  75. bernard ross, Class of 1956

    Tully burgers at Bill’s on College Ave,Sunday night steak dinner at Zincks,late night burgers at State St Diner and great Italian meals at Joe”s downtown.

    • jeff frey, Class of 1959

      Definitely can’t forget Bill’s, sort of grubby but invaluable for all-nighters. Was banished once for a food fight. It was probably worth it.

  76. Gordon Harris, Class of 1971

    The rice pudding at the Cosmo was great! Shortly before graduation I convinced the owner that I was leaving town and wouldn’t go into competition with him, so he gave me the recipe. Used it for years.

    The other great place for dessert was the Dairy Bar on campus. They had great ice cream, often new flavors that were being tested. They also had incredibly good cottage cheese. It was almost as good as the ice cream, particularly if you had them put hot fudge on it. (Weird, but delicious!)

  77. Bob Fabbricatore, Class of 1966

    You could say I was a three sport star having tended bar at Johnny’s Big Red Grill, The Royal Palm and the Chapter House. My dog Max monopolized the bowling machines at The Palms and the Chapter House and they put a sign up at Johnny’s that read, “No dogs allowed, except Max.”

  78. Susan Male, Class of 1976

    Had many a pitcher of sangria at Chef Italia freshmen year–we’d trek up from UHalls. It was a great cheap night out.

    That, UDeli and Number Nines are my most vivid memories of Collegetown, with a bit of The Palms and The Chapter House thrown in.

    Seems kinda sad that Collegetown looks so fancy now. It had the reputation and insistence of being rundown, gritty and funky, with echoes of 60’s counterculture, which gave it an instant attraction for us in 1972.

    • Gina Strauch, Class of 1980

      I liked the gritty, funky, and run-down. Still do. Collegetown seems so slick now; in fact most of Ithaca does. It’s seems very cavernous and big city-ish and impersonal. I still walk through there a couple of days a week but when I eat out it’s at the tavern in my town, or the Glenwood Pines, or, if I’m feeling upscale, at one of the farm-to-table places along one of the lakes.

  79. Janice Maxwell, Class of 2009

    There are so many great comments here making me nostalgic for my reunion coming up this June where our son, Ezra (5), will be getting his first memorable Ithaca experience!

    I know there were a lot of people that flocked to Dunbar’s on Wednesday’s for Group Therapy, but I found a Wednesday home across the street at Level B for Fishbowl night! Nothing beat sharing a literal fishbowl (always blue – red was gross) with at least a pint of vodka and a signature plastic animal with 5-10 friends. The best part was the thrill of hanging on to your animal and trying to steal other people’s! There was a rumor your could turn in 18 animals for a free fish bowl (they were $18 a piece I believe) but who would ever trade in their treasured collection for one measly free drink?! I certainly didn’t and my son still plays with those vodka soaked animals to this day (cleaned and sanitized of course).

    Lastly, I’d be remiss not to mention that I met my spouse pouring over the Karaoke song book on a Monday night in March 2008 at Ruloff’s. He slyly sat down to discuss my pick (which was always Shoop by Salt N Peppa, so Lord knows why I was looking at the book anyway!) and the rest is history. This was one of the first places we took our son when he came to campus as a 2 month old in 2017 for my husband’s reunion and it meant so much to us his middle name was ALMOST Ruloff but we thought it a little sadistic to name him after a serial killer in the end.

    Great article, great memories.

  80. Ruth (Dritch) Salinger, Class of 1967

    O’Brien’s (Obie’s?) – in a diner car, with Bo-burgers (cheeseburger, fried onions, fried egg), and apple turnovers kept warm on the grill. A jukebox which always had an out-of-order sign on it.
    Nothing like it!

  81. Jeff Hopkins, Class of 1982

    Dunbar’s was my place from the moment Dave and Lee bought it in ’79.

    I lived right around the corner on Dryden Rd., so I could drop in several nights a week. We’d drink and play those newfangled things called video games. I still have a couple t-shirts from there, including the very first one they sold (although none of them still fit). And in the days before ATMs when the banks were closed on the weekends, if I ran out of cash, they were willing to cash a personal check for me. It was such a shame to see it close.

    Trivia question: Who was Dunbar?

    • Mike Wapner, Class of 1982

      Their dog. I noticed in the article that someone said they named their dog after the bar. I liked the “full circle” aspect to that.

  82. Edward J. Kowalski

    Not a CU student but I worked as a Life Safety Officer/Public Safety & Risk Management for 35 years at Cornell. (1974-2009) Besides patronizing most all of the aforementioned eating establishments in college town, let’s not forget the iconic “Louie’s Lunch Wagon” housed on the corner of Thurston Ave across from Risley Hall. At the helm for many of those years, Dick and Rita Ellston who lessened the pain of a growling stomach during an 8am-4pm or a 4pm-12am shift with great conversation and even greater comfort food.

  83. Irene Hendricks, Class of 1986

    A shout out to Duffy’s which was next door to Rulloff’s on College Avenue and introduced me to the “fishbowl drink” – Blue Hawaiians in particular! And downtown, Dos Amigos for the best melon margaritas and chimichangas. Last but not least the iconic Turback’s out on Route 13 and L’Auberge Du Cochon Rouge (now La Tourelle by IC) for when someone’s parents were treating!

  84. David Pine, Class of 1982

    Does anyone remember the Uni Deli jingle set to the tune of Comin’ Through the Rye? Here’s a part of it that I recall (but there is more…):

    The people at the Uni Deli
    Pile pastrami high
    They want you to see
    The roast beef coming through the rye

  85. Alan Yuter, Class of 1978

    Thanks for posting the photo of the original CTB when it was just a take out bagel place. I was almost certainly one of its first customers as I walked by it every morning from my run down apartment on Dryden Road. I couldn’t believe my luck that I could get a fresh toasted bagel with cream cheese. My son, class of 2016, was surprised that the corner location was not its first.

  86. Zack and Margaret Kollias, Class of 1989

    Love Sa’s. Used to catch salmon and trout in Lake Cayuga and trade the owner for sandwiches.

  87. Michael Zak, Class of 1975

    Maybe they are somewhere in the fine print, but I didn’t see any references to “Morrie’s.” It was right at the corner of Dryden and Eddy, where today it appears there is a place called Hideaway.” Right across the street from it there was a Burger King. Morrie’s was a famous part of Cornell’s history.

    • steve wayne, Class of 1971

      lived across the street from Morries and my landlord Gus? had a store next door in 1968.Lived above the bookstore after that with a back fire escape that was across from the Palms-what can I say about a Stinger cocktail before noon? My roommate Jack, was a very bad influence. The Clover Club deserves a salute. Steve Wayne Hotel 71 We went to every bar from the Genoa Hotel to Tweatmans and lived to tell some of the stories.

  88. Gina Strauch, Class of 1980

    Although it wasn’t in Collegetown, Andrews Confectionary, not far from the old Strand Theater, was a place I walked to weekly for a few chocolate covered wintergreen patties. Dunbars was the place I my first ever beer, and the ABC, a collective that started as the Apple Blossom Cafe, just past the Chapter House from my college house, was the place for Sunday breakfast.

  89. Michael Cogan, Class of 1980

    No comments about Hal’s??? Not actually in Collegetown, but jeesh, how could you overlook Hal’s?

    • Robin Feiner, Class of 1978

      Thank you.
      It was pretty dingy even back then, and the food undistinguished (as someone raised on Brooklyn deli), but I was glad to know it was there.

  90. Scott Mitchell, Class of 1991

    How is The Club House not on this list? Only lasted a few years but Sunday nights watching The Simpsons were a blast! And hitting Dunbars for a Combat or some Rolling Rock ponies right before closing was a staple of life back then. Miss it all!

  91. Steve Schmal, Class of 1962

    I know that restaurants and bars tend not to be forever. But as a townie and a Cornellian, I am saddened that not a single place for food and drink in the Collegetown of my Ithaca days has survived.

  92. Cliff Essman, Class of 1971

    Meatball and cheese sub on garlic bread at the truck was wonderful….and date night at the Station Restaurant. I waited there with Brian Cornell. Great cheesecake.

  93. Cliff Essman, Class of 1971

    What about Hal’s deli? A classic

  94. Ben Curtis, Class of 1967

    For anyone interested, I have collected pictures and stories about the Royal Palm and published them as The Book of Palms at Judging from the comments above, it sounds like a volume 2 or maybe more may be warranted. Here’s to the memories and the mornings devoid thereof.

  95. Curtis Alling, Class of 1975

    A great follow up to the College Town story would be nostalgia about favorite hangouts down the hill. Like the Haunt for happy hour, North 40 for dancing, and my favorite, the Creek or Fall Creek House.

  96. Matthew Ginsburg, Class of 1996

    Biggest loss by far is Ruloffs.
    Too many memories to count.
    Dates, hang outs, bachelor parties, you name it!

  97. William Urbon, Class of 1980

    Although not in college town, there was a great local bar called the Fall Creek House (aka “The Creeker”) in the Cayuga Heights neighborhood. We visited there in 2013 when our daughter was looking at colleges and it had not changed a bit in over 30 years.

  98. Carl Anderson, Class of 1968

    Freshman year (’64-65) I spent part of most evenings at the Chapter House. (“A pitcher of beer here, and one for my friend.”) Sophomore year, when I lived on Eddy Street I often had breakfast at a Greek diner near Dryden Road; I think it was called Athena. Junior and senior years up to half a dozen of us would have late dinner at Johnny’s most evenings after the libraries closed. Friday evenings, though, were reserved for the 400 Club at the corner of College and Dryden, where we regulars would watch “Wild, Wild West,” “Star Trek,” and “Mission Impossible” in the rarely open second dining room. A year after graduation I worked part time in the kitchen at Johnny’s for six months. I especially remember loveable 300?-pound Huggy behind the bar every evening, Mrs. Petrillos checking the previous night’s check and order stubs in front of the waitresses, the evening I got to be “worst waiter ever” when a number of other staff called out sick, and locking the especially ditsy waitress in the walk-in refrigerator almost every time she ventured there. Staff were allowed anything on the menu except for steak or lobster for their dinner break. Whenever Johnny or Bob were particularly annoying we’d send Huggy his choice of steak or lobster; we never heard a single complaint and it would be a while before any Petrillos annoyed us again.

  99. Mario Villanueva, Class of 1998

    I ate at The Chariot a few times (once with a beautiful girl if you can believe it!) and The Nines twice but my favorite and most frequented Collegetown restaurant during the 90’s? Wendy’s!

    My favorite bar? Even though I didn’t drink alcohol, was Dino’s. Spacious with plenty of room for playing electronic darts, it was great for me. The Palms was okay but Dunbar’s was claustrophobic. I hated going to that bar!

  100. Mike Puterbaugh, Class of 1999

    The moon room in the basement of Wendy’s was a memorable experience.

    And, when I was in the mood for a hamburger that cost slightly more than 99 cents, Billy Bob Jack’s Outhouse.

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