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Foodie Heaven in Erie: Food Scene, Breweries, Distilleries, & Wineries

Visiting Erie is a delight for anyone who likes great food and libations. From fantastic restaurants and dining experiences, to chocolatiers, ice cream places, to breweries, distilleries, and wineries, Erie has just about everything delicious needed to have a great time. On our last long weekend, I am not exaggerating in saying that this was one of the best weekends we ever had in the sheer amount of fantastic food we had. The best thing about it all is that every place we are highlighting here is dog friendly! 

We will start off with the classic burger and ice cream joint, Sara's Restaurant at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park. This wonderful place is a tradition to visit when you go to Erie, Presque Isle State Park, and Waldameer. No visit is complete without stopping. 
Doggie Ice Cream at Sara's Restaurant
Erie also has several seasonal markets where local food vendors, farmers, crafts people, and more come to showcase what they offer. On this visit we checked out the LEAF Open Market. Our favorite thing there was ice cream from Erie's own Sundae.

Ice cream and a dog sundae from Sundae

All kinds of vendors brought their delicious foods and more to the LEAF Open Market.

Erie is home to several distilleries, offering terrific spirits. We opted to go to Altered State Distilling, which is very dog friendly.

Altered State is a fantastic craft distillery that offers fantastic cocktails in a wide array of styles. They have a lovely outdoor space and an intimate indoor bar area. They even have bands play on many evenings. Its location is perfect to walk to after visiting the Lake Erie Arboretum (LEAF), especially on a day when they run the LEAF Open Market. 

Underdog Barbecue operates a food truck out of an old firetruck. It was setup as part of a challenge during a show called Undercover Billionaire where Stearns from Bear Stearns was challenged to start a business from scratch, or something like that, and then sold the business to an employee of his to grow. I was unaware of this backstory until after we visited, and I have to say that the food is great. 

The meats are smoked perfectly and make for a fantastic lunch. 

The Brewerie at Union Station is both a craft brewery and a restaurant, in a beautifully restored old train station waiting hall. The station still operates, but does not use this space anymore. Likely thanks to this restoration effort, the station building was saved from the wrecking ball and is not only preserved, but restored to how it looked in its glory days. Many larger cities have completely lost their classic train stations, and even more mid sized cities like Erie have lost theirs entirely as well, making the effort they pulled off here truly remarkable.

When we visited this time, there was an art gallery display going on in the main waiting room area, and regular brewery and restaurant operations being run in an adjacent space. They also have an outdoor patio area that you can eat and watch the train traffic from. The outdoor patio area is dog friendly

Black Monk Brewing, just west of Erie, has a terrific lineup of decent beers and a great place to hang out and relax. They are very dog friendly, allowing dogs both indoors and in the giant beer garden. 

The Cork 1794 is relatively new and completely fantastic. I had a salmon dish from there and it was easily one of the best meals I have ever had in my life. Ridiculously great food. Their outdoor patio area is also dog friendly and very elegant.

The dining room area is very chic and beautiful. The Salmon dish that I had is EASILY one of the best meals I have ever eaten. It was seriously that good. You NEED to check out this place. 

On this trip we did not head up to the beautiful borough of North East, PA on this trip, but we highly recommend it. This is where the wine trail begins and leads all the way up into New York and the Niagara region. We adore so many wineries up there and highly recommend checking them out, especially the dog friendly spaces of Penn Shore Winery, and Johnson Estate Winery, a short ride past the border into New York. We have a few articles about the amazing Lake Erie Wine Trail that you can check out here and here. We also highly recommend the ride up into this area from now and well into fall, as the grape harvest happens and the smell of grapes is so strong that you can actually smell it in your car as you drive through. 

VisitErie has wonderful comprehensive guides on the wineries, breweries (Ale Trail), and distilleries of the region, in addition to the many great dining opportunities the area has to offer. Additionally, VisitErie has come up with a great guide on dog friendly places to visit in Erie, which really came in handy for our two pups. 

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