Flames to Please

Several Central New York restaurants offer good food — and fireplace seating

By Margaret McCormick

Winter in Central New York is cocooning season. But sometimes it’s nice to step out when Jack Frost is nipping at your nose — especially when a restaurant or entertainment venue has fireside seating.

Ask for a table near the flickering flames at these establishments.


Scotch ‘n’ Sirloin, DeWitt

A commanding wood-burning fireplace is the centerpiece of the bistro room and makes the Scotch a cozy place to be on a cold night. The fireplace is ringed with seats, but you’ll be plenty warm at the community table or one of the booths nearby. Seating around the fireplace is first come, first served.



Nestico’s, North Syracuse

Fun fact: Well-known Central New York restaurant owner Julie Nestico, who died in 2008, had a fireplace in all his restaurants (The Trivet House, Guv’nors Grill, Julie’s Place and others), according to his son, Peter Nestico. When father and son opened Nestico’s in the former Angelo’s Cornucopia in North Syracuse in 2000, they added a gas fireplace. It’s two-sided and built into a stone wall that serves as a sort of divider between two dining areas. There’s also a fireplace in the restaurant’s small bar. For similar innovative wall solutions, check out this site at https://www.acoustic-movable-walls.co.uk/.



Arad Evans Inn, Fayetteville

In spring, summer and fall, the patio beckons at this elegant restaurant and bistro housed in a circa-1840s Federalist-style residence. There are two fire pits, and they’re in use until it’s time to close the patio for the season. After that, you can enjoy drinks by the fireplace in the parlor, which is close to the bar or request a table near one of two fireplaces in the dining room.


The Ridge, Chittenango

Formerly open to the public as a restaurant and bar, The Ridge has turned its attention to private events and live local music. The facility has an outdoor stage, but during the fall and winter months events move inside. A rustic wood-burning fireplace is a highlight of them.



The Brae Loch Inn, Cazenovia

If you’re after a table by a fire, chances are you can score one here: The Brae Loch has five fireplaces spread across its intimate dining “nooks and crannies.’’ You’ll also find fireplaces in the inn’s lounge areas and guest rooms (three rooms have fireplaces that burn Duraflame logs).



The Brewster Inn, Cazenovia

When it comes to warmth and ambiance, this elegant country inn on Cazenovia Lake flames to please. The expansive outdoor dining space stays open as long as the weather allows and guests gravitate to two fire urns, six fire tables and a fire pit near the outdoor bar. Inside, two dining rooms have fireplaces — as do four guest rooms in the main house.



The Krebs, Skaneateles

Looking for a place to come in from the cold during Dickens Fest in Skaneateles – or any time during the winter? The Krebs has fireplaces in its lounge and dining room. The landmark restaurant in the village was reimagined and reopened by new owners Adam and Kim Weitsman in 2014. The restaurant’s proceeds are donated to area organizations in need.



Rosalie’s Cucina, Skaneateles

Rosalie’s has a trio of fireplaces: One outside, one in the main dining area and one in its private dining room. Can we get a table by the fire? That’s a burning question during the winter months. Get your requests in early and enjoy wood-fired pizza, house-made pasta and grilled meats near the dining room fireplace.



The Sherwood Inn, Skaneateles

What’s a historic inn without a fireplace — or three? The Sherwood has an inviting wood-burning fireplace in its lobby and it’s common to find people sitting by it, reading a book or magazine. There’s also a wood-burning fireplace in the tavern and in the main dining room. When there’s a chill in the air, you can expect a fire in all three. The inn’s conference room and most of its guest rooms have gas fireplaces.



Persimmons, Baldwinsville

In spring and summer and on warm fall days, the best seats at Persimmons restaurant at Timber Banks Golf Club in Baldwinsville, offer a view of the links. Come winter, you might want to settle in to one of the comfy chairs and couches near the fireplace for a seasonal drink or bite to eat.



The Lounge at Colloca Estate Winery, Fair Haven

Some people come to Fair Haven, on the south shore of Lake Ontario, for winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. Brrrr! Others come to Fair Haven to drink wine, listen to music, and cozy up to the fire at The Lounge at Colloca Estate Winery. The wood-paneled lounge is in the winery’s event center. Check the website or Facebook for entertainment announcements.



Jake Hafner’s Restaurant and Tavern, North Syracuse

You don’t have to travel far for libations and a relaxing lunch or dinner by the fireplace. Jake Hafner’s in North Syracuse is an option: a two-way fireplace adds some heat to the bar and dining room. The menu is warm and comforting, too.



Point Place Casino, Bridgeport

Relaxing seats by the fire at a casino? You bet. Take a break from the slots and gaming tables at Point Place Casino – or come strictly for its fireplace. the fireside lounge features a wood-burning fireplace and a circular seating area, framed by armchairs and cocktail tables along the perimeter.



Lombardo’s Bridie Manor, Oswego

The massive stone building that houses this restaurant was originally known as Ontario Mills and it played a major role in Oswego’s industrial history. The Lombardo family purchased the building in 1988 and established Lombardo’s Bridie Manor. Outdoor dining is popular in the summer. This time of year, come in from the cold for lunch or dinner by the gas fireplace. Menus feature Italian-American and classic American fare and many tables in the restaurant offer a view of the Oswego River.



This list is not intended to be comprehensive.

Margaret McCormick is a food writer and food blogger in Syracuse.