A spot for coffee and brews, make a summer escape to little Lake Brewing, just steps away from Conesus Lake. During the summer months, a charming morning coffee shop and nighttime brewery minutes from the shores of Conesus Lake becomes the perfect spot for relaxation and entertainment. little Lake Brewing offers a harmonious blend of delectable beverages, entertainment, and a welcoming ambiance, making it a must-visit destination during the summertime. Make a spot at this scenic venue for a delightful combination of freshly brewed coffee, artisanal beers, live music, and an inviting outdoor patio with picturesque views.




Don and Robbin Carll


Tell us your story and what motivated you to start a business in Livingston County.

little Lake Brewing is owned by Don Carll, who has worked in the food service industry for over 30 years. Don runs all aspects of the business including kitchen management and food and beverage preparation. Don’s wife, Robbin, supports business operations behind the scenes with administrative tasks and technology. When Don wrapped up his time working at a local restaurant, one thing he knew for certain was that he no longer wanted to work for someone else. Family and friends often commented that he should move his hobbies out of his home kitchen and into his own space. After a few years the opportunity to have a space on Big Tree Road presented itself, Don reconsidered retirement and decided to open little Lake Brewing.


What has changed over the years at little Lake Brewing?

We formed the business in late Fall 2017 and spent months updating and remodeling the small space. We opened our doors on July 16, 2018, selling house-roasted coffee and artisan craft beverages. With a little sandwich board sign out by the road, word started to spread through friends and family. Quickly, the morning menu started to grow and Don honored customer requests to include cappuccinos, lattes, and specialty coffee beverages. We had people comment that it felt like hanging out with friends at home, one visitor even said it was like walking into a Hallmark movie set - exactly the welcoming atmosphere we were looking for!

While the morning business was growing, we moved ahead with acquiring our NYS Restaurant/ Brewer’s license. Don spent months building the brew room and was eventually granted a liquor license. This was a bittersweet moment! The approval came during Covid-19 restrictions. It was challenging to say the least. We handed food out the side window for takeout orders. The excitement of getting licensed was put on hold until the restrictions were lifted.

Today, we are finally able to operate as envisioned. We roast coffee, brew beer, and seltzer, and serve food. Thankfully, we also have a fantastic staff. Many of them have been with us since 2018. In fact, this was the first job for some of the crew back when they got their working papers in high school! We’re proud of our crew and appreciate each of them for their commitment and flexibility.


People Eating Food at little Lake


What’s your favorite thing on your menu right now? Any go-to food pairings with your beer?

Don’s favorite food and beer menu items right now are a white hot dog smothered with homemade meat hot sauce (a variation of Don’s mother’s recipe) paired with one of the hoppiest IPA’s like A Lure Tropical Haze or Conefish Ale, which will be returning this year. Conefish was released for the Ales for ALS fundraiser in 2022. Don also loves the Grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich. Robbin is vegetarian and loves the vegetarian version of the sesame “tuna” wrap paired with the house-made cream soda. It’s up to the customers to find their favorite food-beer pairings! It’s nice to hear what people like and share their ideas with others.


You recently expanded your offerings, adding beer and an outdoor grill, congratulations! What was that like?

The expansion of the outdoor bar and grill with a seating area was necessary for us to be able to welcome more guests. With indoor capacity limited to 25, it was difficult to expand our services including the beer and evening food menu. The outdoor space brings an entirely new feel to what we can offer and to what our customers will experience when visiting.


Outdoor Bar at little Lake


What’s the best thing about being in Livingston County?

Without a doubt, the support network for small businesses. Our backyard bar and grill would not have been possible without the Livingston County Economic Development Dream-O-Vate program. The LivCo Libation Loop is especially supportive of craft producers along “the loop”. We carry products from others on the loop and often refer our customers to the other establishments along the loop.

Who could ask for a better location than the Finger Lakes Region? There is so much to offer, see, and do year-round. Yes, the lake business gets slow in the winter, but it’s a perfect balance to decompress from the summer buzz. There’s an opportunity to refocus during the change of each season whether it’s on a business initiative or just taking some time to refresh our personal goals. Plus the outdoor spaces of our region are the best! Our little spot along 20A is perfect. It’s a busy road in Livingston County with a yard, a view of the lake, parking, a short walk to Vitale Park, or a short drive to the 390 expressway. We entertain visitors who come to the region to hike, bike, boat, and paddle! We have the best customers! ‘nuff said.


What’s coming up for little Lake this summer/fall?

The summer will be fun-filled with events and outdoor service. Then this fall, we are looking forward to participating in the first-ever “Meet the Makers of the LivCo Libation Loop” event at Camp Stella Maris. In the late fall, when the weather turns and the tent has to come down, we will move indoors for a fall/winter food menu which includes our craft beverages and house-roasted coffee drinks, soups, appetizers, handhelds, flatbread pizzas, and the coveted chef specials. Indoor dining service will go on until Christmas. We will also entertain small private indoor parties on a limited basis.


Dog with beer at little Lake



LIVE MUSIC: This summer will again welcome live music on Saturdays focusing on smaller music groups and promoting local solos and duos. Two popular larger bands will also perform in August to close out the summer.

CLASSIC CAR NIGHTS: Always popular events, classic car nights will return this summer on the 4th Friday of every month from May through September (weather permitting). The bar and grill will be open for guests as you wander through the lot of classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

GAME NIGHTS: New this year, enjoy game nights under the tent. Planned as weekly or monthly events, starting in May through early fall, game nights are perfect outings for friends. Follow little Lake Brewing on Facebook to keep up with the latest events.

AND MANY MORE!: little Lake Brewing continues to sprinkle in creative interactive events like hula hoop happy hours, solstice sun catcher-making classes, bouquet bars, and more! Some events may include a fee or small donation. Explore the complete calendar of events at littlelakebrewing.com.