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Culinary Delights

Mount Vernon - Lisbon Area Offers Many Culinary Delights...From the award-winning Lincoln Cafe to Gwen's Restaurant's home-style cooking...


Once not so long ago food snobs might’ve lumped Mount Vernon/Lisbon into the territory known as culinary flyover country. Now they’re, shall we say, eating their words.

It’s largely the Lincoln Cafe’s doing. This Main Street Mount Vernon restaurant (with its Lincoln Wine Bar a couple storefronts away), its daily specials scrawled on a wall-mounted chalkboard, has earned national recognition for its creations, ever changing and spun from locally grown produce. It’s not haute cuisine, fashionable concoctions that only the worldly can enjoy.  The locals love it too—young, old, farmer or town college professor.

But there are 24 other food joints in town, counting Cornell College’s far from ordinary campus dining. Is the Lincoln a diamond in the rough, the only culinary show in town?

Au contraire.

Every restaurant in Mount Vernon and Lisbon is a different and complementary cog in the food wheel, is how Lincoln Cafe owner and gifted chef Matt Steigerwald describes it.

There is a little something for everyone’s taste buds. A Dairy Queen awaits anyone craving a cone with a curly top. A Hardee’s stands ready to toss a foil wrapped Big Roast Beef your way.

But between the Lincoln and the DQ are food joints as unique as DNA, where amiable cooks are inspired and the dishes divine.

Goodies, greetings and culinary surprises are hallmarks of Mount Vernon/Lisbon’s eateries. At the Lincoln the chef may be whipping up wild king salmon with duck-fat potatoes and red chile-grilled rapini, while at Gwen’s Restaurant, in Lisbon, the three decades restaurant warms bellies and hearts with homestyle cooking.

Chameleon’s Pub & Grub, owner Paul Jerabek has brought his Czech heritage to the menu, offering a Czech twist to some bar and grill standards. And now, under new ownership in Lisbon, Bill’s Tap offers chicken wings and ribeye steak sandwiches, and Saturday night serves a fine steak dinner with diner’s choice of T Bone, New York Strip, Ribeye, or for non-steak eaters, Iowa Chop or Chicken breast. And don’t forget Kyi-Kyi’s, an oriental choice on Lisbon’s Main Street.

At Fuel, the treats are served up with coffee brewed from independently roasted beans. The scones, oatmeal molasses cookies, carrot cake or sugar cookies are made from scratch, the recipes coming from friends or a yellowing Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks. Take your cup of Fuel next door (everyone does it) to Fran & Cherie’s Skillet Cafe for an omelette. Or head kiddy corner, across Main Street to Big Creek Market for organic groceries or a soda-fountain-style lunch—salad, sandwich, daily soup, ending with a slice of pie. Or, wait, don’t forget to try Main Street's Pizza Palace, where generations of college students have refueled their brains with tomato sauce and pastas. Oh, and don't overlook Whitey's Bar and Grill on Highway 30 in Lisbon, where broasted chicken reigns supreme. But the 37-item appetizer menu is the real wind beneath the wings, with everything from fried calamari to gizzards to fried green beans. Drop down into this foodie haven sometime, and explore it cog-by-cog.