ITHACA, N.Y.—Aptly named Revelry Yards, the new restaurant coming to Restaurant Row this spring looks to inspire a relaxed liveliness, encouraging people to enjoy one another’s company with food, drink and games.
Kevin Sullivan, who also owns Luna Inspired Street Food, Jack’s Grill and most recently, Purity Ice Cream, said he’s been wanting to offer more to the downtown community as the neighborhoods become “more vibrant each year” following shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The big thing was coming up with a concept that was unique to downtown,” he said, explaining the expansive back patio that will include a wood-fire oven and walk-up outdoor bar made from a shipping container.
Going into the space that used to house the Ithaca Ale House, reconstruction will account for a downstairs full-service dining area, a large wine cellar with wines on tap, an upstairs brewery space (this will be closed to the public but visible from the street) and front patio seating.
The front and back patio are Sullivan’s solution to the “desperately needed outdoor dining space” during the summer months, especially following the early parts of the pandemic when regulations limited restaurant seating dramatically.
“Revelry basically means enjoying each other’s company while consuming alcohol,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s that feeling of celebration and enjoyment. That’s really what we’re trying to create — some place you can eat, but also a place you can meet up with a couple friends for drinks.”
The stars of the back patio are the shipping container bar (pictured below), the lounge seating around fire pits and lawn games like cornhole. “That whole atmosphere in the back is going to be something that doesn’t exist downtown, that lawn environment that breweries and wineries have is very, very popular.
The large windows on the storefront are intentionally designed to show off the aforementioned brewing system on the second level to hopefully pique the interest of passers by, Sullivan said.
Though the restaurant atmosphere is the driving factor, Sullivan said he’s not opposed to the idea of having live music in the back, so long as it doesn’t disturb the peace of neighboring businesses and apartments. Revelry will also have approximately the same number of seats in the back as other existing restaurants had with the Aurora Streatery.
Revelry will offer brunch, lunch and dinner menus, rotating the dinner weekly. Ingredients from local vendors will be highlighted, and the back patio will offer more casual foods focusing on the wood fire oven. Sullivan said that he is envisioning the back patio as a place to hang out while waiting for a table or for drinks before heading to another downtown restaurant.
Hopefully opening for graduation weekend in May, the restaurant will likely open in several stages. Initial excavation began in the fall to reshape the space in the back, and once concrete is poured and they receive the oven and container for the bar, Sullivan thinks the space will fall into place nicely. “With the wood-fired pizza oven, the lounge seating, all the lights, it’s going to be a very unique space.”