Last Sunday, my girlfriend Ryan and I were coming back to Canandaigua from a weekend at her parents. It was kind of a special afternoon, being that we started dating a year ago to the day. We caught a matinee movie at Canandaigua Theatres and were looking for a place to enjoy a nice and quiet dinner. Anyone that dines out often knows that Sundays are tough. Most places are closed and the ones that are in fact open, you just don’t feel like going to! I heard about a new restaurant that just opened, Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake… So I figured, let’s try it.
Nolan’s is on Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua and for those that are familiar with the area, it is in the same building that once housed Kellogg’s Pan Tree Inn. When you walk in, you definitely feel the history of the place. If you aren’t familiar with Kellogg’s, it was a Canandaigua mainstay for years and years. I spent my summers as a child eating breakfast there almost every week with my family. The breakfasts were amazing, as were the cookies, but best of all were the homemade cinnamon rolls. Ask anyone who dined at Kellogg’s over the years, and they will tell you these cinnamon buns are the best they’ve ever had! But, enough about cinnamon rolls … for now.
Sometimes you go to a brand new restaurant and you experience what one may call “growing pains.” You know – the service is slow, the servers have no idea what is on the menu, the food comes out cold, etc. All too often I experience this scenario, but I assure you, I experienced no such thing at Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake.
My first dinner at Nolan’s was exceptional. We started the evening off with a bottle of Heron Hill Riesling. In addition to Heron Hill, there are wines from Dr. Konstantin Frank and Hazlitt. They also have Naked Dove Brewing Company beers!
The menu is diverse, with seafood, steaks, pasta, chicken sautés and light fare like burgers and sandwiches. Figuring out what to order was no easy task. We pondered it for quite a while until I ended up with Asiago Scallops and Ryan went with the Chicken French. We’ll have to come back again soon because the Riesling Festival Chicken sounded delicious and we’ll have to try a steak, as all Nolan’s beef is certified angus and wet aged for 28 days.
I had a house salad to start and Ryan had a wedge salad, which was phenomenal. The Asiago Scallops were large, and served over a bed of tomato bruschetta and topped with melted Asiago. Let’s just say there were no leftovers from me! Ryan’s Chicken French was just as good and there was certainly no need for a knife, the chicken was so tender it was like cutting through butter.
At this point we were stuffed, and couldn’t even think about dessert. But, I figured we should at least hear what they have. Our server told us about the signature dessert, an original recipe Kellogg’s cinnamon roll served a la mode. I was sold! I later found out from Nick Violas, the owner of Nolan’s, that the Kellogg family was nice enough to give them the original recipe.
It was everything I remembered it to be and as soon as a tried it, I felt a bit of nostalgia that is hard to explain. I was brought back to being four years old, holding my mom’s hand as we walked into Kellogg’s. I was brought back to my summers swimming in Canandaigua Lake and boating with my father. It’s quite amazing how tastes, sights and sounds can trigger memories. For me, the cinnamon roll and Nolan’s was a subtle reminder of what I love so much about the Finger Lakes.
Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake is brand new, but its unique nod to Finger Lakes history makes it feel like it’s been here forever. I walked out of the restaurant and directly to my left was Canandaigua Lake. It was then I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday night dinner in the Finger Lakes. We’ll certainly be heading back soon.