Within reach It smells good. People going in and coming out with smiles on their faces. This must be the place.

Busy schedules are the bane of my existence; working hard without end, writing, portrait sessions, commercial design and the like. Finding time to celebrate my friend Jeff's birthday over a cup of coffee just didn't seem to happen, but we DID get lucky and find an hour over lunch time yesterday.

We normally go to another place in town for coffee, but I hadn't been to Kelly's in several years and had a yen. It was a good decision.

monroe Kellys dockside cafe 3

This is a combination of diner, seafood restaurant and gathering place. Located on the Inlet, you can sit next to the water, at any of the comfortable tables, or like we did, sit at the stone bar, watching Kelly cook our burgers. Upscale and fancy, it's not. Rather, it's comfortable and very human.

Pretentious people who need their every whim catered to need not come in. This isn't that kind of place.

I saw many workers on lunch break, couples from IC and Cornell, retired folks and a couple of families seated in the quiet dining room. This is a place you can have a great conversation over some really good food.

The menu ranges from (Kelly's World Famous) omelets to steaks, seafood and a hearty selection of lunch choices. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, you can find something new every time – or stick to your comfortable favorites.

monroe Bacon Burger Platter

Being a bit of a burger snob, I ordered the bacon burger plater to see exactly how good Kelly made them. The fresh meat burger was placed on the grill and began cooking slowly. No serious hiss and smoke like other places – just a nice bit of steam and an inviting aroma. The final product was juicy but well cooked with just the right amount of simple spices. Tomato, lettuce, cheese and 2 generous slices of bacon – cooked next to the burger - completed the sandwich. Waffle cut fries and slaw completed the platter. I was not disappointed.

At $9.50, the bacon burger platter is absolutely worth it. The bill for the two of us was under $25, so Kelly's is eminently affordable. Dinner fare is higher priced with entrees ranging from about $11 to over $25 for their seafood and steaks.

The ambience is classic 1950's and reminiscent of the places I went to with mom and dad some 50-60 years ago. Wow. I didn't know I was THAT old….
monroe Kellys dockside cafe 1

If any of you are, like me, grandparents of smart phone addicted, faux-sophisticated kids, then an outing to Kelly's might be a great history lesson that tastes really good. No computers other than a little calculator the waitress uses to add up your check. Your receipt is written on a little carbon paper receipt book just like it was back when we were young. Nobody announces that they will be your server tonight. You are just taken care of by everyone, and well taken care of at that.

Like anywhere, if you come in expecting good food and good people, you will get exactly that. Like Mom said, bring your good time with you, and you'll never be disappointed.

Kelly's Dockside Restaurant is located at 319 Taughannock Blvd, Ithaca, NY 14850.  Their phone is (607) 277-8709.

This one is really within reach, and is a delight. Go! Enjoy!

'Within Reach' highlights the food, wine and fun of places 'within Reach' of Lansing NY.  Of course, your reach extends exactly as far as you want it to. I am Monroe Payne, Uncle Monte to some. Come with me as I visit, taste and play in our own back yard, the beautiful Finger Lakes of Central New York.