Geneseo’s eateries can’t hold a candle to Long Island’s variety

Consistent with the widespread growth in cultural diversification enriching our pleasant village, I feel that I am not alone in saying that the time has come for this town to meet new standards.

My time in Geneseo has been admittedly much briefer than many students here. I transferred in mid-sophomore year, but it doesn't take very long for one to assimilate into the culture of a region, especially if you're the type that enjoys heedless gallivanting for its own sake. We all know that a very big part of any region's culture, and a very big point of pride as well, is its cuisine. While I'm no expert on taste, I do know what I like, and for a bona fide "college town" like Geneseo to consistently stultify its student body with its culinary offerings is, in my mind, an utter disgrace.

As a down-stater, I accept that I have been, until my college career, spoiled by the variety of ethnicities living next door that have imported not only their customs, but their food as well. Glorious, glorious food. Just about every nationality conceivable is represented in at least restaurant form on Long Island, all with their own "just like ma used to make it" bistros dotting pretty much every street corner.

While Long Island isn't the most interesting place in America, it's downright impossible to get bored of eating there. In the area immediately surrounding my town alone, you can get American, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, German, French, Russian, Polish, Greek, Turkish, Spanish, Mexican and Caribbean style dishes, to name most. It's almost like a miniature United Nations of kitchens. While anybody who knows me knows how much I love Geneseo, I am appalled at how little is offered here as far as specialty foods are concerned.

For people who love subs, wraps and garbage plates, Geneseo is probably your Mecca. But seriously, is that it?

Sure, you can get burgers, hot wings, Chinese and imitation pizza from a few other places on Main Street, but I honestly can't count the number of times my roommates and I have collectively scratched our chins about what to eat. "'Main Moon?' … ‘Nah' …  ‘Mia's?' … ‘Nah' … ‘Letchworth?' … ‘How dare you!'"

Seriously, how awesome would a Mexican joint or an artisan burrito bar be on Main Street? Or maybe a decent barbecue place? It doesn't necessarily take an influx of a specific ethnic group in order to start up such a business. As long as the entrepreneurs are determined to provide for the demands of thousands of hungry students, then it will be a win-win scenario. You don't need Indians to cook tandoori chicken, and you don't need Cajuns to open up a Cajun cafe. But a serious investment to bring a truly diverse, gourmet menu to a town packed with college kids every year seems too easy an opportunity for prospective restaurateurs to ignore.

Too long have I been craving a plate of pit-smoked baby-back ribs and garlic mashed potatoes, only to come to my senses before sighing, "Oh wait … I'm in Geneseo." Too many afternoons I've hurt for a pastrami on rye – a REAL pastrami on rye, not the sad excuse Miceli's would have the naïve convinced to buy – only to have to go out and get the ingredients myself. It feels to me that there is a general lack of passion for food in this town, and the residents and students alike deserve more. Geneseo needs better restaurants and better choices.