Top Taste Restaurant
7 Black-Owned Culinary Destinations in Upstate New York
Around the corner from SDF Cafe is a small vibrant restaurant that smells as inviting as it looks. Five years after opening Top Taste, Albert 'Sammy' Bartley received a 2020 James Beard nomination for Best Chef in New York State. His magic combo of hard work and raw talent was nurtured years ago. “I’ve had it in my heart a long time to do something like this,” says Chef Bartley, who grew up cooking with his grandmother in Clarendon, Jamaica, making everything from fried chicken to fish soup, and liver with dumplings, yams and banana. “Right now, I am cooking constantly from Monday to Saturday. We’ve been struggling a bit in the pandemic, but my wife Malenda and I feel a lot of support. I’m not going anywhere; I love what I do.” While there are usually four tables for indoor dining, the restaurant is currently only offering to-go orders, so pick up bright mood-boosting plates of oxtail, jerk chicken, or curried goat with sides of rice, cabbage, and fried (yet tender) plantains. Friday specials may include barbecue wings or pan-seared catfish bathed in a broth of onions, scallions and garlic. Post-feast, drive five minutes down the road to Mt. Zion Cemetery, an African-American Burial Ground that was recently named a New York State Historic Site.
How to get there: One hour, 45 min by car