Vegan Food at Wildflower Cafe & Rooster Fish Brewery in Watkins Glen, NY

As vegans in Watkins Glen, New York, we had many choices of places to dine, especially for such a small town. Due to its proximity to Farm Sanctuary, as well as the university town of Ithaca, Watkins Glen is a haven for vegetarians and vegans with many local restaurants serving up delicious meat-free meals. We chose to have dinner at the Wildflower Cafe, a restaurant operated in conjunction with a microbrewery called Rooster Fish Brewing. We were excited to try both the food and the locally-made beer!

Rooster Fish Brewing – Pints of Beer!

We were warmly welcomed to the restaurant by our server, and asked if we’d like to try one of their beers. All of their ales are freshly brewed right in Watkins Glen using organic malts, American hops, and water directly from Seneca Lake (the lake where Watkins Glen is situated). It doesn’t get much more local than that! You can check out their full beer list if you’d like, but here is the one that Justin chose:

Mysterious Amber – Caramel in color, you can taste notes of apricot and freshly baked bread – what do you think? Try it with a burger or steak!

and I went with…

Summer Sky Hefeweizen – You can distinctly smell and taste a banana flavor with a clove finish produced by the yeast. In Germany, Hefeweizen is a breakfast beer.

I thought the part about the “breakfast beer” was pretty hilarious as I couldn’t imagine having a beer for breakfast! The part about the banana flavor was definitely true. It was very refreshing and delicious! It’s too bad that Rooster Fish Brewery didn’t serve up their ales in our neck of the woods, or else I would be ordering this one all of the time. Justin really enjoyed his beer as well, and said it was very refreshing and smooth.


Now, for the food that we ate! Wildflower Cafe is not a strictly vegetarian restaurant as you’ll encounter your typical pub-fare. However, there are a number of vegetarian options on the menu at Wildflower Cafe, and our server was quick to point out what was vegan, and what couldn’t be made vegan. She definitely was “in the know” when it came to vegan food, which was a great chance of pace from what we normally encounter! For instance, we ordered an appetizer of sweet potato fries that normally came with a ranch dip (has dairy in it), and she was quick to ask if we would like to have a spicy ketchup dipping sauce instead.

A huge plate of sweet potato fries reached our table, and we quickly devoured them. That spicy ketchup was definitely something special, and it had us thinking of making our own spicy ketchup at home!

For our main dishes, we both went with veggie burgers. Justin ordered the Portobello Burger, and I ordered the Black Bean Burger. Each burger came with a tasty little bean and corn salad on the side. We didn’t notice this until after we ordered our beers, but each menu selection has their own suggested “beer pairing”. Even though we didn’t drink the suggested beer with our burgers, the meal and our beer choices were great matches for one another!

Black Bean Burger at Wildflower Cafe
Portobello Burger at Wildflower Cafe

Both burgers were cooked perfectly, were extremely flavorful, and it was definitely the kind of meal we were looking for after a day spent hiking around the gorge at Watkins Glen! We would gladly return to Wildflower Cafe for another meal, or even another pint at the adjoining Crooked Rooster Brewpub. If you’re looking for vegan food at Wildflower Cafe, you’ve come to the right place!

Wildflower Cafe and Crooked Rooster Brewpub

223 – 301 N. Franklin S

Watkins Glen, NY

open weekdays 11:30am-9:00pm, weekends 11:30am-10:00pm

Do you have a favorite microbrewery or beer?

22 Responses

  1. Hannah Logan
    | Reply

    Breakfast beer?! Oh wow. Of course if would be a German thing! That’s really great that they were quick to ask you if you wanted a vegan substitute. One of my closest friends has dietary restrictions and most places we go to make her feel like she’s asking to much of them when questioning the food or asking about substitutes. Good to see that some places care.

    • Some places are better about making substitutions or asking questions about the menu items than others. I think more people these days are asking questions and have allergies, dietary restrictions, etc, so it isn’t all that uncommon! Thankfully we aren’t hassled most of the time!

  2. Oooh, those burgers look goooooood…..

  3. Alli
    | Reply

    Everything looks so yummy! You two find the most unique places to eat all the time! I would have also tried Summer Sky Hefeweizen – the breakfast beer! Never knew such a thing existed! 🙂

  4. Those burgers look fantastic! And beer from organic malts is a definite plus, and I love hefeweizen. We head up to Buffalo fairly often, so I was already googling about where this is – but it’s so not on the way… haha! NY is such a big state! And is breakfast beer in Germany really a thing?? I’ve been to Germany, but was never offered this – I guess it’s reason to go back and investigate 🙂

    • Oh, who knows! It could be an American’s perception of a Germany thing. I don’t really know anyone who drinks beer for breakfast. But it’s pretty funny that it is marked that way on the menu! 🙂

  5. Antonette Spaan
    | Reply

    I’m not a fan of beer but these ones look really good (a bit like pop, too). It’s great that they came with the suggestion to substitute ranch dressing by themselves, it shows that they are really involved with what they’re doing 🙂

    • They were really yummy beers…I think the one that I had, that a lot of non-beer drinkers might like it for its slightly fruity taste!

  6. Corinne Vail
    | Reply

    Yum! I’m not sure about breakfast beer, just as I’ve been shocked all summer with servers asking me if I saved room for dessert, after breakfast? Just weird! But, I would try some of their brews a little later in the day!

    • What, really! I’ve never been asked about dessert at breakfast! Wow LOL. I guess…there’s always room for dessert? haha

  7. The Crowded Planet
    | Reply

    Sounds amazing! I’m a big fan of veggie burgers (often choose them over meat options) and of course artisan beer can’t be beat! It’s so good to know there are many vegan options available, unfortunately this is not the case in many places…

  8. Chris Boothman
    | Reply

    So much amazing cuisine and of course the beer to choose from, where do you even begin! But that’s a nice problem to have and we always love experiencing these types of breweries on our travels.

    Breakfast beer you say? Definitely can’t beat that so would love to try some of that next time I venture to NY!

    • There were lots of different kinds of beer to choose from and definitely a unique experience as it was all brewed right there!

  9. Freya
    | Reply

    veggie burgers are great and these ones look delicious

  10. Ashley Hubbard
    | Reply

    Those sweet potato fries….yummmm!! And, the beer looks delicious as well 🙂

  11. Mandie Sanders
    | Reply

    I’m a total carnivore, but one of the best burgers I’ve ever had was a black bean burger. And the sweet potato fries…SO YUMMY.

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