Graft Wine and Cider Bar

This is the first of a series of posts highlighting some of the exciting Finger Lakes area attractions which are available to visitors and residents alike. We will begin with restaurants and will focus predominantly on the Seneca Lake area but others may also be included. Personal tastes vary widely so be advised that because a venue or business is included doesn’t automatically make it a recommendation. We will try to highlight what we think are the strengths – and on occasion may point to things that we feel, from our own experience, could be improved. We encourage you to check the online ratings and also “see and taste for yourself”.

The first in our series is Graft Wine and Cider Bar  – the recently re-opened wine and cider bar on Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.  Orlando Rodriguez,  graduate of the Culinary Institute, who was the Executive Chef at Verizons  (Glenora’s Restaurant)  for twelve years is the new chef and co-owner of Graft  along with his wife, Natacia. At Glenora, he created connections with local farmers and he brings that philosophy with him to Graft. This fits right in with the Graft history of giving back to the community featuring local food and drink.

Graft is a cozy, chic restaurant with a unique, long wine bar which seats the majority of its patrons. They have made use of every bit of space with other narrow bars and casual tables providing additional seating. Graft offers a varied and creative menu of selections that are meant to be shared, with several specials each evening to provide additional choices. The ingredients are locally sourced whenever possible, and the offerings are all made from scratch and of gourmet quality.  One of our favorites is the Prince Edward Island Mussels, prepared with coconut milk, a touch of chili paste, garlic and cilantro and served with toasted baguettes.

Ask about the delicious Upstate New York Coho Salmon – something you probably will not find any place else in the area. And, of course, be sure to save room for dessert especially if the Chocolate Rosemary Terrine is on the menu. We can attest to the excellence of the food, great choice of Finger Lakes wines, cider, and beer, and to the personal hospitality. Not only is the staff welcoming – but if there is even a moment when he is not creating his masterpieces, Orlando is found chatting with patrons. Graft Wine and Cider Bar is definitely one of our favorites and we encourage you to visit when you are in the area.


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