Why We Love The Riddler

By Sean Kenniff and Erin Lettera | Kim Van Liefferinge and Megan Swann


Sean Kenniff and Erin Lettera
Kim Van Liefferinge and Megan Swann
Interior of The Riddler
Interior of The Riddler


The 100 Club 

Rebecca, a late-twenties professional, was in the middle of bottle #71 when we started tracking her progress. Originally, her interest in The Riddler stemmed from an article she had read. Already a champagne drinker, and being drawn to the empowered female leadership, she decided to check it out. Over the course of two years she’d go sip with friends or her boyfriend. Rebecca credits the expertise of The Riddler’s staff and her drinking companions’ palates as her most helpful resources. After 94 bottles, she can firmly say that she has found a favorite. It’s Cedric Bouchard, a producer of single vintage cuveés in the Côte des Bar region, and using her own adjectives to describe it, Rebecca says, “SO flavorful, interesting, and a little funky.” She is saving her 100th bottle for her 30th birthday, when she will claim the fourth 100 Club personalized bomber jacket. (The first three jackets went to a couple, Rachel and Jason, and a woman named Brooke who is in her 90s.)  



The Joan

Inspired by the drinking style of a character from her childhood—an always thirsty lady named Joan—Jen Pelka added an item to The Riddler menu called, “A Joan: For when you’ve had a hard day, a glass of cheap house wine, filled to the rim.” It’s only 12 bucks and can change the entire course of your day, maybe even your life. The Joan has developed a cult following. The tableside pour is almost ceremonious, as once the glass is finally, completely filled, you have to bow your head to it for that first slurp. (Other things at The Riddler that Joan probably, definitely would have liked: tater tot waffles and free flavored popcorn.) 






Caviar Service

(paddlefish roe, chives, crème fraîche, potato chips)
Pelka and the team did 32 potato chip tastings before landing on the winning chip for their caviar service. The runner-up was Cape Cod, which have a good crunch but were cut for being too oily. For its neutrality (gotta be able to taste those fish eggs!), classic Lays won the spot on the menu. 






As the menu advises, “Yes, this is a thing.” On one of the nights the StarChefs crew crowded around a table at The Riddler, a group of Cornell alumni seated outside made quite the scene as they downed a series of chambongs. They were well out of college and clearly living their best lives.      

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