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Long Lake friends write restaurant review book

August 8, 2011
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Ever have a tourist stop you on the street or at your place of business and ask you where a good place is to eat?

Or head to a town in the outskirts of the Adirondacks that you're not very familiar with and not know where to get dinner?

Two Long Lakers are trying to help you out.

Article Photos

Authors Molly Irvine and Matt DeLaMater hold their book about local eating Friday at the Blue Moon Cafe in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)

Matt DeLaMater and Molly Irvine recently put on the market a book called "Adirondack Eats Restaurant Guide."

As someone who waited tables in Long Lake since she was 14, Irvine said people constantly asked her where they should eat the following night.

"We saw that there was a need for it, or we thought that there might be," Irvine said.

So starting in May 2010, the pair started talking to everyone they could in the Adirondacks about where they liked to eat out. They cornered friends in bars and sent out messages over Facebook to poll people on their restaurant preferences.

Then, after narrowing down their selections a bit, they started visiting restaurants throughout the region. When they were at a restaurant, they'd try to talk to people there and find out things about the place like what it's best known for, all without tipping workers off that they were writing a book so their food and service weren't affected.

They visited about 90 places throughout the Adirondacks, splitting them up into four regions.

"There's been a lot of driving," Irvine said.

She bought a brand-new car last fall that already has 17,000 miles on it.

The book consists of longer reviews for Irvine and DeLaMater's top 46 restaurants, plus a "Local Lowdown" section that has shorter reviews and listing information for more eateries. For consistency's sake, Irvine wrote the "Local Lowdown" sections while DeLaMater wrote the Top 46 reviews.

The whole book is broken up into four regional sections: north, south/east, central and western. Saranac Lake and Lake Placid are included in the north region, and the list includes local favorites like Liquids and Solids and the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery in Lake Placid, and the Lakeview Deli and Eat 'n' Meet Grill in Saranac Lake. Tupper Lake is included in the central region, and the Lumberjack Inn is included in the top 46 for that region.

Through the reviews, the authors try to be informative and helpful while also being entertaining.

The book also includes a section at the beginning that talks about the challenges of running a restaurant in the Adirondacks. Since Irvine has worked in a lot of restaurants and both she and DeLaMater have a lot of friends in the service industry, they know how difficult it is for restaurants in tiny hamlets like Long Lake to go from 10 tables on a weekend night in the winter to 200 in the summer. They want visitors to understand that.

"If you come here expecting Manhattan efficiency on July Fourth, you're probably going to be a little disappointed," DeLaMater said.

One of the most challenging things about writing the book is that it tries to cater to a wide range of eaters: from Manhattanites to people on camping trips to locals.

"It's such a diverse range of people looking for all different things," DeLaMater said.

That means Irvine and DeLaMater had to compare the Tap Room in Raquette Lake to barVino in North Creek, which are very opposite ends of the spectrum. They didn't always agree on the rankings and had to fight most of them out.

And even now, they look back and question some of their decisions. At a recent brunch at the Blue Moon Cafe, Irvine said she thinks it might have been a good idea to include that place in the Top 46.

They hope to update the book yearly, since the restaurant world can change rapidly in this area, with chefs leaving or a place closing at the drop of a hat.

That shouldn't be too hard, since they never stop critiquing restaurants even when they're not doing research for a book. At the Blue Moon, DeLaMater expressed skepticism when ordering the corned beef hash, but when he gave it a try, he proclaimed it totally worthwhile and said he'll never come to the cafe again without ordering it.

They're also looking for feedback from readers on their own experiences with Adirondack restaurants. Irvine said people can submit them at the book's website,

The book is now available for sale at the Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid, Eat 'n' Meet in Saranac Lake, Hoss's Country Corner and the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake, and various other locations around the area; Irvine and DeLaMater are working on getting it into more stores. It's also available on or at the book's website.



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