Tom Cavallo’s

One of the best

My history with Tom Cavallo’s dates back to 1989, when as a freshman at Utica College, my entire dormitory floor would head over there on Monday night for the $1.99 all-you-can-eat pasta special. Fast forward a few years and the Tuesday night Buffalo wing special was a big draw for my friends and I. In the past 20 years I have been back countless times while visiting the area and it has been the post-race lunch spot the last two years for my friend Doug and I after running the local Boilermaker Road Race.

Cavallo’s has a focus on Italian-American food and I still love their spaghetti & meatballs after all these years. The chicken parmigiana comes served on a hot metal plate, cheese browned, sauce bubbling and with a crispy exterior. I’m a chicken parm hound from way back and this is one of the best I have ever tried. They also feature many local specialties such as chicken riggies, greens, hats & broccoli, “tunnel” sandwiches, mushroom stew, Buffalo wings, roasted long hot peppers and “upside down” pizza. While it is a few hours from Buffalo, the Central NY region has a wealth of great places for Buffalo wings and for me, Cavallo’s is right at the top. Crispy, meaty wings doused in a buttery, tangy, vinegary and spicy sauce are a “must-have” every time I go there.

Chicken riggies are a local dish that can be found on the menu at just about every Italian-American restaurant in the region and each one has its own recipe. The combination of rigatoni pasta, sauteed chicken, mushrooms, roasted peppers, olives and a cream-based tomato sauce is a very comforting dish and Cavallo’s gets it right. My new favorite though has to be their “tunnel” sandwich. The inside of the bread gets tunneled out somewhat and mine was filled with meatballs, sausage, roasted long hot peppers and marinara sauce, then covered in mozzarella and basted with butter and garlic and baked in an oven. Not an everyday sandwich but an indulgence that must be had more than once.

Cavallo’s has been around since 1949 and it is definitely a local neighborhood place. On my last visit, Doug’s aunt was reminiscing of the times she came here with her high school and college friends many decades ago. Everything is just as good (or better) than I remember and I hope they are around for another 65 years.

What to Eat
Tom Cavallo’s, Meatball & Sausage Tunnel
Meatball & Sausage Tunnel
This meatball & sausage tunnel (with roasted long hot peppers might be my new favorite sandwich.
Tom Cavallo’s, Chicken Parmigiana
Chicken Parmigiana
Over the years I've found that whenever chicken parmigiana is served on a hot metal plate it is a sign of good things to come.
Tom Cavallo’s, Buffalo Wings
Buffalo Wings
Some of the best Buffalo wings I've ever hung a lip on.
Tom Cavallo’s, Chicken Riggies
Chicken Riggies
In a region full of choices the version of Chicken Riggies at Cavallo's is top notch.
Tom Cavallo’s, Loaf of bread
Loaf of bread
A loaf of their warm, crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment to just about any dish.
Tom Cavallo’s, Side of Spaghetti
Side of Spaghetti
The spaghetti & sauce at Cavallo's has had me coming back for over a quarter century.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday11 am - 2 am
Monday11 am - 2 am
Tuesday11 am - 2 am
Wednesday11 am - 2 am
Thursday11 am - 2 am
Friday11 am - 2 am
Saturday11 am - 2 am
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Vescio’s Franklin Hotel

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    Vescio’s is a good place for old-fashioned, red-sauced Italian-American food such as chicken parmesan, ziti & sausage, and sauteed veal over penne noodles.

  • Mother’s Cupboard

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    Mother’s Cupboard is a tiny Syracuse diner that serves big omelets and pancakes, heavyweight biscuits and gravy, and a six-pound frittata.

  • Doug’s Fish Fry

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    Doug’s fish sandwich is a New York best: chunky, moist white fish encased in a sandy crust with just the right amount of crunch. Dessert: excellent custard.

  • Roma Sausage & Deli

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    We like Roma for its bakery-style pizza — a thick-crusted tomato pie made without mozzarella, all about the interplay of tomato sauce and crust.

  • Brooks’ House of Bar-B-Q

    Oneonta, New York

    Brooks’ BBQ chicken is marinated and pit-cooked until the skin is crisp and the meat is tender and moist. Upstate New York “Cornell chicken” at its best.

  • Frankie’s Taste of Italy

    Old Forge, New York

    A family restaurant with family-style service, serving from-scratch Italian food. Count on Frankie overseeing not only the cooking, but your enjoyment of it.