Through the decades we still maintain that the charcoal-grilled pork spiedies served at the 1947 Binghamton tavern Sharkey’s are the Platonic ideal of the Italian-accented skewered meat dish. Yes, it doesn’t hurt that Sharkey’s almost looks like it’s still operating in 1947, and it’s hard not to love what, to be perfectly frank, can still be described as an old man’s bar with a dining room in back.
Sharkey’s is the spiritual home of the spiedie, a Binghamton-only shish kebab cousin with an Italian-American genealogy. The word spiedie is said to come from an Italian word for the skewer upon which meat is cooked, or perhaps the meat on that skewer. In Binghamton, that meat was originally lamb but it’s been decades since anyone has seen a lamb spiedie around here. Pork had become traditional until the last decade or two, when chicken has overtaken it to become the spiedie of choice (much as chicken has elbowed other meats aside all over the country, so that chicken cheesesteaks and chicken-topped pizzas are not uncommon – this is a development that irritates us no end). Continue reading
Minor league baseball stadiums, like NYSEG Stadium, home to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, AA affiliate of the New York Mets, haven’t gone all-in on the current major league trend of offering local food specialties at their concession stands. For sure, at the big league level, it can sometimes seem as if the fans are more interested in the food than the ballgame. In the boonies, hot dogs and beer are still more the rule, but regional food or, at the very least, extreme food, is finding its way onto the menus more and more in places like Charleston and Louisville and Fort Myers. Continue reading
All things considered, we think Danny’s Diner is the most Binghamtonian place for breakfast in the Southern Tier. Staffed almost completely by women, this Depression-era Sterling diner is remarkably gleaming and shipshape. These folks serve basic diner renditions of eggs, hash, potatoes, toast and coffee at low, low prices and dish out a warm and friendly rendition of diner sass. Continue reading
Give us good pancakes made with farm fresh berries, and a bottle of locally produced maple syrup, and we will spend the rest of our day with smiles on our faces. And that’s just what happens to us at the Apple Dumpling Cafe inside the farm market at the Apple Hills farm. Continue reading
Anyone who has spent significant time in the Binghamton, NY area knows what we mean when we assert that diners capture the essence of life in these parts. Some have closed over the years but many remain, some have been spiffed up and tricked out, others seem to be melting into the ground upon which they’ve stood for decades. All dish up the same predictable and reliable eats to anyone, from any background, who has the ability to pay the modest tabs. Gerald Smith, the Broome Country historian, has written a story that surveys the diners, both thriving and long gone, that have fed the Binghamton-area residents over the years. Check it out.