Updated: Jan 4, 2019
The Chieftains Restaurant & Bar may just the place! With a population of nearly 5,000, is nestled in rural New York and is the home of SUNY (State University of New York) College of Agriculture & Technology. Although it has expanded its growth over the years, mostly to accommodate farmers and students, its original “Main Street” is only a few blocks long…and it is in that historic local that two Irish brothers from County Tipparary chose to open their dream restaurant.
We felt welcomed with open arms (quite literally, as that is how Kevin greeted us upon entering), and were told to grab a seat wherever we pleased. The layout was impressive. Able to seat 65, but the two semi-private areas and small walls with frosted glass and brass sectioning made it appear cozy and intimate. The décor was full-on Ireland, from the logo (a Celtic “C” and a medieval sword for the “T”) to the homey touches that you see in many Irish homes: tea towels, farm art, touches of stained glass, pressed tin ceilings, ceilings fans, malt vinegar on the tables, and the ubiquitous framed photo of John F. Kennedy. The only thing that looked a bit out of place was the crystal chandelier hanging between the 25 seater bar and the dining area. That is, until our ever-helpful Kevin told us it was Waterford crystal. Sure made sense then!
Although there were plenty of choices on the menu my dining companion and I decided to stick with Irish fare, and the Cottage Pie and Fish & Chips were delicious and reasonably priced. Seating was comfortable (my bench seat had pillows!), and the service was fabulous. I ordered a “Guinness Black” which is popular in Ireland; a shot of blackcurrant is added to a pint to soften the flavor…popular with women who are not interested in a dark beer. Kevin had not heard of that, but he had his own specialty trick. He poured a shot or two of Smithwicks over the Guinness draft pull, and it was amazing. Life changing.
Our experience was pleasant, inexpensive, and well worth the trip. The brothers are certainly on to something successful, as they are in the process of refurbishing the building next store to add a ballroom for banquets (seating for 150) and to allow for a larger music venue.