Finger Lakes, born and bred.
It was 1989 and two ordinary, average guys from Geneva, NY were wrapping up another great summer of bass fishing on Seneca Lake. Year after year they would swing by their favorite “pit stop” on Route 14 – but they learned that that summer might be their last. The convenience shop was closing its doors. Then by a mix of fate, early-life crisis, and sheer brazenness, the financial planner and accountant became owners of West Lake Market.
Over the next year they would change the name to Seneca Marketplace, add a deli to compliment the lake essentials of beer, soda, and ice. Things were going… smoothly – until Wegmans opened its doors in 1992 and changed the whole ballgame.
Enter in that sheer brazenness and “can’t go back now” mentality of two 30-somethings, Seneca Marketplace grows to have a kitchen and deck.
Memorial Day of 1994 and the summer kicked off with Ports Cone and Grill serving fresh ground burgers, hand cut onion rings, and soft custard on their outdoor deck. Everyone’s favorite lakeshore marketplace had just become the best lunch spot on the West side of the lake.
Over the next 6 years, they would remodel half of marketplace building and turn it into an indoor dining room serving simple restaurant menu, wine, and beer. Eventually the marketplace gave way to the full-service Ports Cafe restaurant and window-service Ports Cone and Grill.
Ports Cafe climbed to the number one spot on TripAdvisor in 2004, outpacing the visions either guy had for their favorite beer run. Serving “good food, fine wine” and great service has always been their simple story.
Eventually they closed Ports Cone and Grille and remodeled the area to expand the Ports Cafe restaurant. Between 2013-2015, Ports opened a new dining room, all-season patio, restrooms, and gorgeous full oak bar (if we do say so ourselves). We continue to draw back local patrons year-around, as well as tourists visiting the beautiful Finger Lakes area.
We believe that great food and better service is what makes an experience worth having again.