Hillary Clinton's Favorite Food & Drink in NY State, According to HRC Herself

Jason Hoffman illustration for Thrillist of Hillary Clinton eating pizza, beef on weck, and New York apples
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

One of the best parts of representing New York as US Senator was getting to experience everything our big, diverse state has to offer. New Yorkers speak every language, come from every continent, and eat every possible kind of food. As I traveled all over the state, I logged a lot of miles and ate a lot of wonderful meals. Here's a short, certainly incomplete, and constantly growing list of not-to-be-missed dining experiences across New York.

DeFazio's Pizzeria
DeFazio's Pizzeria

DeFazio's Pizzeria</a>&nbsp;


Rocco DeFazio's parents moved to Troy from Italy back in the '30s and opened up an imports shop. Today, DeFazio's Pizzeria is run by Rocco and his son, Matt -- and they make just about the best pizza around. I got a chance to know Rocco when we worked together to promote Troy's Little Italy neighborhood, and he’s just as nice as his pies.

Gianelli Sausage

North Syracuse

They say there are two things you don't want to see made: laws and sausages. I know plenty about the first, but when it comes to sausages, I trust the experts. Gianelli has been making sausages on the north side of Syracuse since the 1940s, and they've been a state-fair staple for nearly as long. I recommend the hot sausage, pepper, and onion sandwich. But don't be a hero: wear the bib, you'll need it.

Dinosaur Bar-b-q
Courtesy of Daniel Krieger/Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que


These days, you can get Dinosaur Bar-B-Que all over New York, but nothing tops the place where it all started, and no trip to Syracuse is complete without a stop. You can order takeout to go, or stick around and enjoy the local flavor. 

Courtesy of The Savoy

The Savoy


The Savoy is a third-generation family-owned Italian restaurant opened in 1908 -- so it's safe to say they know their stuff. The East Rome greens and the chicken riggies are delicious, but it's the chicken & artichokes that calls my name. You might as well plan a trip to Rome, because they won't give up that recipe no matter what. Trust me, I've tried. 

Charlie The Butcher's Restaurants
Charlie The Butcher's Restaurants

Charlie the Butcher's


Run by Buffalo's unofficial "food ambassador" Charlie Roesch, this is a Buffalo institution. Beef on weck, horseradish, side of coleslaw -- it doesn't get better than that. 

Lange's Little Store


Bill’s and my favorite neighborhood spot. The only thing better than the coffee and sandwiches is getting to catch up with all the friends who drift in and out all day long.  

red rooster harlem fried chicken
Red Rooster Harlem

Red Rooster


Harlem welcomed Bill with open arms after he left the White House, and the Red Rooster is one of his beloved go-to restaurants. Where else can you get Swedish meatballs, fried chicken, and "Mac & Greens" under one roof, not to mention plenty of vegetable options? If you're lucky enough to find yourself there on a Sunday, settle in for gospel brunch. Best of all, owner Marcus Samuelsson isn't just a phenomenal chef -- he's a great guy who promotes healthy eating all over New York City.

Hillstone Restaurant
Hillstone Restaurant (Midtown NYC)


Flatiron &amp; Midtown East&nbsp;

Fact: Hillstone's veggie burgers are so good, you can't tell the difference. My vegan husband swears by them.

Northern Lights Creamery


Off the beaten path? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. If you can't decide between the homemade gelato or ice cream, there's just one answer: get both. 

Rao's 1896
Rao's 1896



It's been said that it's easier to get a dinner invitation to the White House than a reservation at Rao's. For those determined few who manage to get in, try a little bit of everything -- it all lives up to the legend. And if you're not so lucky, don't lose heart! Whether or not you can get your hands on a table, you can buy Rao's sauces and cookbooks and give it your best shot at home.

Fox Run Vineyards
Fox Run Vineyards

Fox Run Vineyards

Penn Yan

Fox Run is one of the Finger Lakes' famous wineries. If you're in the neighborhood, stop in for a glass of some of New York's best riesling, a light lunch, and a beautiful view of Seneca Lake -- you won't be disappointed. 

culinary institute of america
The Culinary Institute of America

The Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park

After spending a day visiting the home of Eleanor and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, top off your visit to Hyde Park at the Culinary Institute of America for a meal prepared by the students at one of their fabulous restaurants. Take your pick of just about any world cuisine, and leave room for dessert. One day these students will be the hottest chefs in town and you'll be able to say you knew them when. 

Mercer's Wine Ice Cream
Mercer's Wine Ice Cream

Mercer's Dairy


Three words: wine ice cream. As a senator, I started something called New York Farm Day. We'd bring producers from all over the state to Washington to show off the best New York has to offer. One year, we had a winemaker set up next to a family-owned ice cream maker. Long story short, someone was having a really good time, and after a few glasses of wine, they poured some cabernet over a bowl of ice cream. Soon everyone was trying it. Today, Mercer's exports its wine ice cream to 15 countries. Chocolate cabernet, strawberry sparkling, raspberry chardonnay, cherry merlot -- you really can't go wrong.

New York apples
Flickr/Nerissa Villas

New York apples

Wherever you can get them
Little-known fact: New York is the second-largest apple-producing state in the country. That's lucky for me, because fresh apples are one of the few healthy snacks I can't get enough of. I kept a bowl of fresh New York apples on my coffee table in my Senate office, and in my office at the State Department. We even got JetBlue to put them on its flights for a month every year so people from all over the country and all over the world can take a bite out of their own "big apple."

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Hillary Clinton is a mom, grandma, wife, lawyer, advocate for women and children, former first lady, former senator from New York, former Secretary of State, and current presidential candidate traveling the country and setting the record straight about New York values. Follow her on Twitter at @HillaryClinton.