Market Street is the heart of Corning, New York’s Gaffer District and got its name from the Gaffers, or glass blowers, at Corning Glass Works. 

The Gaffer District epitomizes what the downtown of a small city can be.  It is fun and rich in well-maintained architecture, galleries, shopping and dining experiences.

Baron Steuben Place is a bit reminiscent of Europe

Baron Steuben Place feels a bit like Europe

In the center of the Gaffer District is Centerway Square, known as “Baron Steuben Place.”  (Baron von Steuben was a Revolutionery war hero who aided General Washington and after whom Steuben County was named).  Here you’ll find Finger Lakes Wine Country, a tourism organization where you can pick up information about the region.  A historic clock tower makes a perfect meeting place in the square where you may be lucky enough to hear musicians performing.  Behind the historic clock tower is a foot  bridge adorned by flags of many countries and with foot games for kids.  The bridge leads across the river to the Corning Museum of Glass.

This pedestrian "bridge of nations" leads to Corning Museum of Glass

This pedestrian "bridge of nations" leads to Corning Museum of Glass

Baron Steuben Square is surrounded by a marvelous assortment of stores,  restaurants and galleries.

The Glass Menagerie's Gallery features works by more than 60 artists

The Glass Menagerie's Gallery features works by more than 60 artists

We stopped int0 the Glass Menagerie’s Gallery to find a mouth-watering assortment of glass items by more than 60 local, regional and international artists.  It is open from April through December and strives to carry pieces not found at the Corning Museum Glass Market.  Across the street is the store by the same name, open year-round, where you will find an amazing assortment of beautiful mostly-glass items including jewelry, kaleidoscopes and paperweights, serving bowls, chandeliers and tables, wall hangings and sculptures.

Some of the fun places we stopped included Wild Birds Unlimited offering gift items and supplies for the bird and nature lover, Connor’s Market Street Mercantile with its fun assortment of gifts, collectibles and Corning Souvenirs and The Tea Chest (guess what they sell!).

Charming ambience at the Gaffer Grille

Charming ambience at the Gaffer Grille

There were many more we could have explored, but by now it was time for dinner.  I’d heard good things about many of Corning’s Restaurant’s, but at a friend’s recommendation, we made our way to the Gaffer Grille & Tap Room.   

The Gaffer Grille & Tap Room specializes in steaks and offers fine, but casual dining so we didn’t feel out of place in our casual clothes.

The Gaffer Grille specializes in beef and steak But for those who prefer other fare, the Gaffer Grille also offers seafood, pasta dishes and such specialties as Jambalaya and barbecue.

I ordered prime rib, which was delicious, done to perfection, and which came with warm, buttery rolls, a fresh salad, baked potato and delightful vegetables, not over- or undercooked.  My husband ordered the New York Strip Steak and was equally delighted.  The kid’s menu is guaranteed to tempt a child’s palate, and our daughters loved their chicken.

The restaurant has a full bar, and I was delighted to see a generous selection of Finger Lakes wines.

With dining alcoves and stained glass room dividers shaped like baubles being blown by gaffers, the Gaffer Grille & Tap Room is a fun and ambience-filled dining experience.  The Gaffer Grille & Tap Room is located at 58 W. Market Street in Corning, NY.

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