It was a few years ago on a Friday evening when I learned a valuable lesson about trust. I was driving to New York City to see Harper Blynn and traffic started piling up outside the Lincoln Tunnel. Conceding that my pre-show plans were ruined, I decided to let the night re-plan itself; it was clear that I didn’t have a say. When I finally (literally) saw the light at the end of the Tunnel, it was three hours later and 30 minutes to show time. That’s when the magic started happening.
The lights turned green for the downtown lanes and traffic faded as everyone went their separate ways – mine was straight to the venue. I pulled up immediately next to the building on a side street and put my car in park. I was so shocked the spot was available that I walked across the street to a convenience store to verify that it was actually a legal parking spot. It was. And that’s the part of the story where anyone who’s ever lived in or visited Manhattan gives me a dirty look.
The first room inside the venue was pretty crowded. Everyone was battling to get the bartender’s attention before heading into the main stage. As the bouncer took my money, checked my ID, and stamped my hand, a group of four left the corner of the bar with their drinks and I walked right up to take their spot. Beer in hand, I walked into the back room and the lights went down; onto the stage came Harper Blynn. I don’t remember what they opened with, but I remember hearing every note of the song.
Okay, so what’s the point? This is the weirdest bar/restaurant review you’ve ever read, right? Well you have to know that story in order to know the way I love Hand + Foot. This place is my green light in the downtown lane. It is my parking spot next to the venue. It’s the group of 4 leaving a space to order my beer. Hand + Foot is the first chord of a great concert.
The important thing to remember when you visit Hand + Foot is that valuable lesson about trust. If your plan is to ultimately have a great night out in Corning, then let go of the things you’re accustomed to and let them show you what this small town is truly capable of. Fried buttermilk chicken on a soft roll with bacon, mustard, and a side of ruffles? I’d prefer to hold the pickle, but you can go crazy. Pretzel bread with butter and beer cheese for dipping? Roll up your sleeves. A Labatt Blue tall-boy that comes in a small paper bag? Laugh about it – that’s the whole point.
The truth about this place is that they don’t take themselves too seriously in general, but they’re perfectly serious about three things: selection, hospitality, and quality. Whether you drink wine, beer, whiskey, or whatever the bartender suggests, you’ll either find an old friend or a new favorite. Whether your goal is to belly up or lay back, the staff is completely on board. And if your only idea of a great night is a can of beer and some fried pickles, your table is ready and Hand + Foot.