Cooperstown’s newest restaurant is a total renovation

Ian Porto, proprietor, sits at Natty Bumppo’s bar, now back downstairs. (Tara Barnwell/

Cooperstown’s newest restaurant is a total renovation

Not too many businesses opened during the past 18 months thanks, of course, to COVID.

But welcome to Natty Bumppo’s, the newest restaurant to open in downtown Cooperstown.

Owner and Cooperstown native Ian Porto has been a longtime fixture on Main Street. You may know him as the previous owner of Tin Bin Alley, or perhaps from Northern Eagle Beverage and Cooperstown Brewing Company. Maybe even from Brewery Ommegang.

Now you’ll get to know him as the owner of Natty Bumppo’s on Hoffman Lane behind the U.S. Post Office in Cooperstown. Most recently the site was was home to Cooperstown Back Alley Grille, and before that, Hoffman Lane Bistro.

“I was a sports medicine major in college who got bored and got into the restaurant business in California,” Mr. Porto said. “I’d always had a dream of actually owning a restaurant rather than working in one. When this building became available, my wife and I decided to go for it.”

And go for it they did.

“Every single inch of this place has been renovated,” he said. “No more southwestern motif. We changed all of the walls; we brought the bar back downstairs. We have more tables outside for people to enjoy outdoor dining.”

The food is new, too.

“We wanted to offer a cuisine that wasn’t easily found in our area,” Mr. Porto said. “We call our style of food Latin American Infusion. It’s the typical tacos and burritos, but we didn’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves into being a Mexican restaurant.”

“We need to hit all of the different palates and we have success with our spices and pickling agents, infusing them with mango and pineapple and roasted corn,” he said.

That the food is made fresh and in-house gives him and his chef, Caroline D’Amico, plenty of creative leeway with his specials on offer.

“Ninety-nine percent of our food is made fresh in-house,” he said. “Chef showcases her talents in the kitchen with menu development and flavors. We try to source our foods locally as much as possible to make sure our products are the freshest.”

There’s music and entertainment on tap, too.

“We are bringing in live music on the weekends,” Mr. Porto said. “We pretty much have bands lined up for the rest of the year, with a New Year’s Eve party at the end.”

Natty Bumppo’s is also bringing a Sunday Brunch into the mix.

“We still have our full menu, but we are introducing our Sunday Brunch too, everything from eggs Benedict to shrimp and grits,” he said. “Our chefs are very talented and creative. A new lunch menu has also started. Our bar centers around margaritas but we have a full bar and plan to start happy hours and bar specials.”

“We’ve had great response from our locals, the support has been great,” Mr. Porto said. “And we will depend on that local support over the winter. We can’t do this without that local support.”

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