We wrote in February about the new Mix Social Dining, opening where Lucatelli’s closed three years ago, and we can finally tell you it’s time for the restaurant to open! Mix officially opens its doors to the public this Friday, August 5th.
The menu at Mix Social Dining is made up of “plates intended for people to share, rather than a few plates for one person” as at some tapas eateries, according to Tim Gammons, a management team member who’s worked in the Ithaca restaurant scene for about a decade. “Everyone can mix and match their own dish for the night,” Tim says.
Chef Shayne Johnson from Mahogany Grill and his wife Mix are the restaurant’s new owners, and they’re working with Matt Torchia, Mahogany Grill’s owner, on the new project.
Shayne and Mix refer to the menu’s variety as “multi-ethnic,” with clear influences from Western Europe, Latin America, Asia as well as the southern U.S. “We will gather ingredients from around the globe, while showcasing the bounty of our beautiful region,” Shayne says. The local offerings will vary from week to week depending on the season, but among the regulars will be fresh bread from Ithaca Bakery and coffee from Ithaca Coffee Company.
Lucatelli’s Ristorante, and the Char-Pit before it, stood on this spot for some forty years, but the beautifully renovated space is bright and welcoming, with large photos of the Finger Lakes region on the walls and glass sculpture around the room. The iconic Lucatelli’s salad bar is gone, but Mix Social Dining has a raw bar, which will feature a choice of traditional accompaniments like champagne vinegar mignonette, cocktail sauce, and horseradish, or an Asian-inspired lemongrass sweet & sour mignonette, fried shallots, and lime.
Tim is responsible for the bar, and he says he’s excited about the variety of local spirits, from producers like Myer Farm Distillers, Finger Lakes Distilling, and Knapp Winery, that will find their way into the house cocktails, not to mention herbs grown out back on the restaurant’s patio that will also make appearances in daily specialty waters and the kitchen’s wide variety of sauces.
In fact, there are dozens of sauces — nearly sixty — that appear throughout the menu, and they’re all made from scratch rather than taken from a jar. “I’ve never seen this exactness of sauces and presentation on so many dishes,” Tim says of the variety.
He says people who want their own entrée can of course order a large plate and keep it all to themselves, such as banana crusted mahi mahi, sriracha buttermilk fried chicken & Hanoi waffle, or a Cajun sugar-rubbed flat iron steak. But he suggests picking a couple of small plates per person, like a brandied chicken liver paté, crispy bao buns with duck confit, purple sticky rice dumplings, shortrib tacos, even deviled eggs.
The dessert menu will feature twelve different cheesecakes made in-house, and fresh donuts made daily, with espresso drinks and locally produced limoncello available.
Mix Social Dining will be as much about the social as about the dining, and that’s evident in the conversation nook with couches and armchairs next to a fireplace that will no doubt be inviting in February. “There’s nowhere in Ithaca that combines our beautiful atmosphere, feels like an upscale NYC lounge, and has so many diverse menu items,” adds Anna Scheglov, who joins the Mix team after several years at Mahogany Grill as well.
Expect to spend $20-25 per person on a few sharable plates, more with drinks. Mix is at 205 Elmira Road in Ithaca’s Southwest, opening at 4pm on Friday, August 5th. Call them at 607-319-4248 or visit mixithaca.com and tell them you heard about them here.