Like our décor, food, prices, and service, our intention is to give you a comfortable, honest homestyle dining experience. We value consistency, getting it right the first time and every time. The Antlers features Classic and New American Cuisine — Steaks, Seafood, Pasta, Daily Seasonal Salads, and a new 10 item Burger and Sandwich Menu.
History of the Antlers Restaurant – A Local Landmark Since 1972
Fresh out of college in 1972, the boys bought the current building which was nothing more than a rustic redwood building in the midst of a pine stand in Varna. A local watering hole for locals, hunters, and the stray college student who happened to stumble upon it, it was a diamond in the rough.
Bill and Toby christened the place The Stables Inn and adorned the interior with equestrian tack and gear. It was an apt name for two polo-playing fellows who immediately attracted a clientele of Cornell polo players that loved the clubhouse atmosphere — and the fact that no one minded their gaminess as they stopped in for a beer after a match.
The menu (as such) was minimal, consisting of a few appetizers, sandwiches, and steamed clams for a dollar a dozen. The Stables Inn was the place to go. It became the showcase for local bands, attracting college students and locals alike looking for no-holds-barred evenings featuring pitchers of beer and mountains of steamed clams.
Its reputation escalated with the introduction of the renown all you-can-eat chicken BBQ, some legendary Halloween parties, and a high-energy staff that generated as much entertainment as the featured musicians. Standing room only weekends, nights that ended at 2 am, and a youthful disdain for moderation of any sort were the benchmarks for two decades at this rollicking little roadhouse.
As age caught up with the building (and the owners), it was time to “rethink” both lifestyle and the very concept of the restaurant itself. Slowing the pace down, renovating the building, and introducing a new menu became the guidelines that led to the restaurant’s rebirth as The Antlers. A full year was spent researching and testing the menu offerings and searching the Northeast for the authentic antique appointments.
Reclaimed from an old farmhouse foundation, The Antlers’ fieldstone hearth is now the heart of the building, and a welcome focal point on blustery winter evenings.
The back bar once graced an old hotel in the heart of town, a building with its own century of lore and history. Ancient buildings undergoing demolition were prime targets for scavenging the bits and pieces that grace The Antlers’ interior. Gathering completed, The Stables Inn celebrated its last New Year’s Eve (and what a party it was) and closed to undergo a two week renovation and its rebirth as The Antlers. Of course, regular patrons were skeptical about the proposed transformation, but Toby and Bill’s hospitality and good food quickly won their loyalty to The Antlers.
Today, The Antlers is the oldest restaurant in Ithaca to boast sole proprietorship — a testament to Toby and Bill’s dedication to their calling as hospitality specialists. They are there nightly, as your hosts, to ensure you of a dining experience that will live up to your expectations. Enjoy the evening, if you’d like a little entertainment, they may be coaxed to spin a yarn or two about their stewardship of this little gem tucked away in the hills surrounding Ithaca.