Just because Valentine’s Day or your anniversary has come and gone doesn’t mean romantic dinners are off the menu! For some of us, the quickest way to our hearts is through our stomach. So, naturally, dates involving food are among the best. In the Whiteface Region, there are plenty of dining options for the perfect date night. Whether you’re looking for something intimate or something rustic, you’ll find food packed with flavor and love.
In the most friendly of spirits, four members of our content team (Aurora, Rhiannon, Brooke, and Janelle) set out on four different dates in an effort to survey the different options in the area. The rules: there has to be outdoor seating available and it must be in the Whiteface Region. Before someone gets too hangry, you’ll have to check out the team's reviews to see who found “the best” date night spot!
Aurora - A&W
I'm a total sucker for a good, old fashioned diner. A retro sign, awesome diner food, and a fun atmosphere is a great draw for me. Fortunately for me, I married a great guy who shares my diner dining love. For our date night, what could be better on a warm, sunny summer day than a trip to a classic A&W? The A&W in Wilmington has been serving up cold root beer, hot food, and the charm of yesteryear since 1965. You'll find standard diner fare such as burgers, fries, and hot dogs, plus neat treats like fried Wisconsin cheese curds and mini corn dogs. Of course, there are tall, frosty mugs of root beer floats and milkshakes that are hard to resist. It's not fancy, but chances are you're not at A&W for fancy. You're there for fun, for something flavorful, and to enjoy the retro atmosphere. This A&W has all of that and more! Sit outside in the sunshine at a table for two or in the shade under the covered outdoor dining area, and take cute selfies with the vintage roadside sign in the background. My sweet date and I dug into hot food that was a million times better than fast food and yes, dear reader, we even shared a root beer with two straws. We really are that annoyingly cute.
Rhiannon - The Hungry Trout
With indoor and outdoor seating options providing views of Whiteface Mountain, poised in all its grandeur beyond the West Branch Ausable River, the location of The Hungry Trout is enough on its own to provide an elegant and tranquil Adirondack evening. My boyfriend and I have spent countless hours exploring and recreating through the Whiteface Region, perpetually in awe of its beauty, but even we found ourselves stunned into silence by this picturesque portrait of our favorite place. We opened the menu to find a sophisticated array of fine dining options to perfectly compliment the restaurant’s ambience. With dishes including steak, chicken, lobster, duck, venison, boar, shrimp, and -- of course -- trout, choosing our selection from the variety of flavors proved to be the only difficulty of the evening. Our wonderful waitress, Tricia, guided us through making our final selections, and we were well on our way to a delicious evening, sipping through hand-crafted cocktails, sharing warm, flavor-filled bites of our steak and seafood entrees -- including the best strip-steak either of us ever had, and satisfying our sweet-tooths with the Maple Crème Brûlée and blueberry cheesecake for dessert. My boyfriend and I normally chat, muse, dream, and solve the world’s problems during our dinner dates, but on this evening, we found ourselves completely content to simply sit with one another, savoring every bite, sharing our dishes, and gazing out upon the world. It was a delectable evening in every possible way.
Brooke - Adirondack Mountain Coffee
Shockingly, for someone who's not a morning person, I would rather have a breakfast date than a dinner date. So breakfast it is for me! This past winter a friend told my boyfriend Mike and I that we had to go to Adirondack Mountain Coffee for breakfast. As the food enthusiasts that we are, of course we tried it just a few weeks later. Adirondack Mountain Coffee in Upper Jay was the former home of the Land of Make-believe. It's a small town diner set across the street from the Ausable River. I had seen their coffee beans before sold in stores, and our friends told us they roast their own beans in house and as a coffee lover, I was sold. So we went, and we ate, and we fell in love ... with the coffee and the food! Everything is homemade and fresh and delicious. They use real blueberries in the pancakes, and there's homemade jam, real maple syrup, homemade donuts, cinnamon rolls, and fudge. We now have our staple meals that we get each Sunday. I get scrambled eggs with a homemade biscuit and a side of raspberry jam and a coffee, and Mike gets an order of pancakes with a side of sausage and home fries with chocolate. The fact that he doesn't get blueberry pancakes is a crime in my eyes, but I keep showing up with him each Sunday morning. Adirondack Mountain Coffee sells their coffee beans on site, offers takeout, and have recently opened their outdoor deck for dining for the summer. This place is an absolute gem as far as I'm concerned, and worth it to go a little bit farther out of town. If I was going to do a traditional date night, I would head right down the road to the Ice Jam Inn. But that's a whole other story!
Janelle - Pourman’s Tap House
One weekend, my fiancé and I spent Saturday afternoon boating on a beautiful Adirondack lake, only to find that once we got the boat back on the trailer, it was absolutely time for dinner. After a day on the water, Pourman’s Tap House sounded like it would hit the spot, so off we went to Wilmington. Fortunately, it was a lovely, sunny day; outdoor dining was a great choice to soak in a little more sunshine. From our table we could even see the castle atop Whiteface Mountain! What we liked about Pourman’s was the variety on the menu. My fiancé and I agree on most things, but one thing on which we do not is spice. I’m more of a Classic Margarita flatbread kind of girl, while he orders hot chicken wings that make me cry (it’s happened before). Understandably then, most of our dates leave me bewildered someone could enjoy eating something called a "nuclear wing." Today though, I was more humbled by the relaxing atmosphere at Pourman's. Thankfully, we each found something on the menu that satisfies our range of tastes and agreed we'd return sometime, my date entirely too excited about the prospect of another order of spicy wings. To top it all off, Pourman's has an excellent selection of craft beers. Burgers, wings, beers, pizza, outdoor dining: is there a better way to unwind after a day spent exploring the Adirondacks?
What’s the verdict?
Honestly, there is no one “best” date night spot in the Whiteface Region. With a variety of places to choose from, it’s possible to have the perfect date every night of the week! Or have breakfast dates! The choice is yours. One day you can dine retro and relax, and another day you can opt for fine dining. Your best bet is to book a getaway and stay for awhile. In between romantic meals, head into the woods for an outdoor adventure or stop by a local attraction. We promise you’ll fall in love with the Whiteface Region one date night at a time.