ITHACA, N.Y. ––  In light of traditional catering business declining due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Serendipity Catering has now found a way to bring their food and drink menu to the public with a new outdoor restaurant and bar location on the south lawn of South Hill Business Campus.

“With our catering jobs postponed, we decided it was a great time to pivot,” Serendipity Sales Manager Alex Kearns-Apuya said.

“Serendipity’s Backlot” as it’s being called, was officially unveiled in a ribbon cutting ceremony through the Tompkins Chamber of Commerce Friday afternoon.

Tompkins Chamber President Jennifer Tavares addressed Serendipity founder Stephanie Holzbaur saying, “with everyone that’s happened in the last couple of months, some of the earliest and most deeply impacted businesses were our hospitality and catering businesses, and anybody that hosts events. So I think it’s incredible that you were able to be creative you’ve found a way to find a path through all of that adversity and offer something beautiful and new to the community.”

“It has been really difficult,” Holzaur said, not only about the loss of business due to coronavirus, but also the work it took to transform the backside of the business campus into a dining space. “But my team has been amazing.”

The Backlot features socially distanced tables and seating and live music at the venue. Family members of all ages, including pets, are welcome to enjoy the space –– the menu includes options for kids, as well as housemade dog treats.

Hours of operation are currently on Fridays and Saturdays, from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and will expand to include brunch service on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Aug. 30. Serendipity’s Backlot offers dine-in and to-go service, as well as delivery service via Ithaca to Go and GrubHub also starting on Aug. 30.

The current menu is available for viewing on Serendipity’s website.

For a look inside the Backlot check out the photos below. 

1 / 14

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at