Naples, NY is the home of the very popular Naples Grape Festival, held each Fall. As the leaves begin to turn muted colors and the cool breezes gently blow in, crowds of visitors descend upon the little Western, NY town of just over 2500 residents. Known around the state for their prolific vineyards and delicious grape pies, Naples turns into a bustling (and crowded) tourist destination.
Rather than wait until then to visit (and suffer the crowds and congestion), my friend Mary and I recently took a mid-summer day trip to Naples, NY. During our escapade, we stopped for lunch at Bob ‘N’ Ruth’s Vineyard Restaurant, a veritable landmark in town. I had not heard of it, but Mary had eaten there a few times and suggested that we stop in.
As we approached the restaurant, I could see that it was a casual destination, with a small, side parking lot. The older looking building houses a casual diner-style eatery in front, and a more formal dinner restaurant in back. As it was late morning, the more formal restaurant area was not yet open. The front section appeared to be converted from an old house, as was shown by the screen entrance door. It appeared well-worn and had a lived-in look.
Upon entering Bob ‘N’ Ruth’s, I immediately felt like I took a step back in time to the 1950s. The laminate lunch counter, with its aluminum bar stools, reminded me of a luncheonette you would find in Anytown, USA. A few regulars parked there, reading their morning newspapers and gossiping with the waitress while barely acknowledging new arrivals with a half nod.
The seating area included both booths and tables with chairs, separated by a half wall with vertical wood spindles reaching to the ceiling.
It was clean and bright, but in dire need of a full remodel or at least a face lift. The dark, wood paneling and the well-worn floors gave away the age of this place. I appreciated the expansive windows, which allowed in steaming sunlight and a view of the traffic on the main street just outside.
It gave me an eery feeling to see directly into the formal restaurant area, which was dark and desolate. I wondered if they really did use that part of the building anymore or if it was just leftover from happier days gone by. Also, the front diner area did not house its own restrooms. Therefore, we had to traipse through the closed part of the formal restaurant, around the bar and hidden in the back, to get to the (very cramped) restrooms. I worried that I might not find my way back.
The menu was more comprehensive than I expected in such a small eatery. In addition, a dry-erase white board hanging from chains in the ceiling displayed the daily specials. In addition to a hot turkey sandwich with gravy, other specials included a steak sandwich and homemade grape pie.
I would not recommend the Salad Bar, which was a meager offering of lettuce and a few vegetables, set way back in a dark corner of the dining area, next to an unused aluminum coat rack. It didn’t have food guards protecting the food (glass or plastic coverings) and it looked sort of sad.
We were both in the mood for a light lunch. Mary ordered a Chicken Sandwich on wheat bread, with a side of potato chips. The lettuce and tomato accompaniments were fresh and the chicken was moist and tasty. It appeared to be carved from a chicken breast, rather than slices of processed turkey cold cuts. She enjoyed it.
I opted for a Grilled Tuna Melt Sandwich with a side of French fries, which should be no surprise to my friends and coworkers! The sandwich arrived as an open-face affair, in a hot cast iron skillet dish, topped with an explosion of drippy, melted cheese and a thickly sliced tomato perched on top. Nice! It was hot and quite satisfying.
The French fries were also good. Not too greasy. There isn’t a much else to say about French fries.
We both ordered only water for our beverages and did not indulge in dessert at Bob ‘N’ Ruth’s, mostly because it was still so early in the day.
HINT: If you want to try some great ice cream or custard while in Naples, NY, head a few miles down to the road to Lynnie Lou’s Homemade Ice Cream and Custard – it’s so good and the staff is welcoming and friendly.
I felt a bit uncomfortable at Bob ‘N” Ruth’s at first. It seemed like the waitress and hostess were eavesdropping on our conversation and making some sort of uninformed judgement about us. Then, when the waitress asked a question related to our (private) discussion from across the room, I knew that she indeed was listening. Also, our waitress thought that the other waitress took our order, which she did not, so we waited a while to place our order. Finally, it was uncomfortable when the waitress (and the owner?) sat at a booth near us just to chat and relax while we were lunching. Wasn’t there something else they could be doing?
However, our food was brought very quickly, as we arrived ahead of the lunchtime crowd. Our water glasses were promptly refilled and our plated were cleared quickly. We were greeted promptly upon arrival, seated quickly and bid a pleasant goodbye when we left.
The casual front restaurant of Bob ‘N’ Ruth’s is fine for a quick bite to eat during your visit to Naples, NY. Expect to find a well-traveled, neighborhood diner with good food, great prices and lots of local flare. Isn’t that all you really need for a mid-day meal while a summer road trip?
If you go:
Naples, NY 14512
Email: unable to locate an email address
Facebook: unofficial page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bob-Ruths-Vineyard-Restaurant/114086305285761
Business Hours: Daily 6am – 8pm
Meals Served: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Salad Bar
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes (MasterCard and Visa)
Requires Reservations: No
Table Service: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
Parking: Free in private lot on side and in back
Valet Service: No
Bar Seating: Yes
Coat Check: No
Date visited: Saturday, July 18, 2015 (lunch)