The Library Café, a Lessing’s restaurant, opened in October of 2000 in a building that was built as a bank in 1902, converted to a library in the 1950s and sits on the corner of Main St. and Conklin. It beckons patrons with mouth-watering burgers, 30 different flavored martinis and daily specials.
Overview: “A Manhattan-style restaurant with Long Island prices,” General Manager Mike DiTroia said. “The ambiance and feel of the place is why people come back.” The Library’s menu boasts variety, so if you are in the mood for pasta, steak, burgers, fish tacos, or even pad Thai, you are in luck. There is long bar stocked 30 ft. high with a larger variety of alcohol for the bar goers, plenty of seating for diners and room for private parties.
Drinks: “Martinis are what we do best,” DiTroia said, and with 30 kinds of flavored martinis, even James Bond would have to try something different. The bar, which still features the sliding ladder from the building’s library days, is fully stocked with multiple varieties of vodka, scotch, gin and other types of liquor. The Library has 12 types of beer on tap and features Lessing’s Local Ale, which is brewed by Blue Point Brewing Company. The Local Ale is smooth, robust and goes down easy. For $20 you can take home a growler.
Appetizers: The “Starters” menu features bar favorites such as potato skins, nachos and mozzarella sticks; but also includes some non-traditional dishes such as Thai calamari, hummus and buffalo chicken empanadas. Even with all of those options, the wings are still the best test for a bar’s pub grub worth, and the wings at the Library did not disappoint. The hot wings had a good kick and flavored well enough to challenge pubs in Buffalo, NY, while the teriyaki wings were the perfect combination of salty and sweet, with just the right amount of sticky. All were crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and big.
Entrée: Jimmy the bartender said that they use “the keep it simple method of menus - good food, good ingredients, low prices.” The most expensive item you’ll find is a $22 NY Strip Steak and many of the sandwiches and burgers range between $7 and $12. You won’t break the bank in The Library Café.
The Marinated Sliced Steak sandwich comes on garlic bread with fried onion strings and melted mozzarella cheese, garnished with a pickle slice and your choice of waffle fries, potato salad, coleslaw or a side salad. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, absolutely tender and just the right amount of marinade to allow the flavor of the beef to come through each bite. For pub grub, you can’t go wrong with this sandwich, but one would imagine the blackened crab cake sandwich, shrimp po boy or any of their burgers would have been great options.
Overall Experience: Whether you are stopping in after work or are one of the regulars known by name, “You can always come to the Library Café for a great meal reasonably priced,” says DiTroia, “There is something for everyone.”