82 Things That Make Syracuse a Great Food Town

Source: eatfirst.typepad.com

**UPDATED 3/3 at 7:50 a.m. **


I’ve condensed the additions into the original list for the sake of organization. Thanks to everyone for stopping by. If you like what you have seen, click the Follow by Email link to the right or Like Us on Facebook.

Syracuse is going through a sort of rebirth in terms of civic pride. In addition to the usual suspects — local chambers of commerce and young professionals groups — there is also Believe in Syracuse, a grassroots organization committed to showcasing all that is good about living in Syracuse (Disclosure: I used to work with its founder and know members of its advisory board.), Syracuse365, Syracuse Guru and Syracuse First, to name a few.

I’m not one of these cheerleaders. (One, I’m not a cheerleader by nature. Pessimist? Not quite. Pragmatist? Yes. Cynic? Very much. I prefer to call myself a skeptical realist. I look at Syracuse like my family: I’ve been around it all my life, it’s a part of me and there are very, very good things about it, but there are so many problems that no one will deal with and our economic condition has been teetering for years.) But, there is one thing about this town I will jump up and down about: the food.

I’ve been to some great cities in the past couple of years (Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New Orleans, Dallas) that have cool food scenes and I would put Syracuse’s food culture up there with any of them. Yes, we lack the name-brand chefs like Donald Link, Emeril Lagasse and Stephan Pyles. But, we have an area full of food built on the back of family-owned enterprise. And that can be even better than a trip to Peche, Emeril’s or Stampede 66.

A story on Syracuse.com on Tuesday about the venerable Ascioti’s Market in Solvay made this resonate with me. So, indulge me for a moment on my list of the 62 74 78 Things That Make Syracuse a Great Food Town. In no particular order:

ANOTHER NOTE: It bears repeating that this is not a list of the best restaurants, places or things to order in Syracuse. This is about the elements that make Syracuse/CNY a great area for food. 

  1. Wegmans. Yeah, I know it’s based in Rochester, but we have them too. We were talking with friends about where we would move if and when we sell our house. Towns like Baldwinsville, Tully, Lafayette, Jamesville and Marcellus were eliminated immediately for one reason: too far away from a Wegmans.
  2. Driving on a warm day within 1/4 mile of the Dinosaur Barbque with your windows down. There’s not a better smell than flying down I-690 and getting hit in the face with the smell of pork smoking.
  3. DiLauro’s bread. Columbus Baking Company is nice, but it’s for amateurs. It’s for medigans. The Italians get their bread at DiLauro’s.
  4. Personal feelings aside, I cannot deny the popularity of Columbus bread. The line on Christmas morning is quite a sight.
  5. Unless we’re buying the stretch bread at Pasta’s Daily Bread. Speaking of which…
  6. Lunch at Pastabilities, cafeteria-style.
  7. Nichols Supermarket. A first-rate deli and meat market, plus it’s the only supermarket in the area that carries all of the Italian fish (smelt, baccala, eel).
  8. The sound of the bandsaw at Ascioti’s when you walk in an ask them to cut strip steaks for you.
  9. The meatball mix from Ascioti’s. And the braciole. And the sausage. You really can’t go wrong there.
  10. Ordering cold cuts at Lombardi’s on Butternut Street. You want prosciutto? They have about 60 different kinds. You like olives? Scoop your own from the buckets in front of the deli case.
  11. The calamari salad at Asti Caffe. It’s like my father makes it.
  12. Speaking of squid, the calamari steaks at Francesca’s.
  13. Soft serve from Hafner’s. Yeah, all soft-serve is basically created equal, but Hafner’s is the ice cream stand of my youth, therefore it’s the best.
  14. The bleu cheese at San Remo’s Pizza in Liverpool/N. Syracuse. Homemade with this garlicky flavor to it.
  15. The Lobster BLT and the Bonsai Beef from The Blue Tusk. If they only cleaned their beer taps more often.
  16. The Big Mamou platter (at right) at Empire Brewing Company, rivaled only by
  17. The Tres Hombres at the Dinosaur.
  18. Pico de gallo and homemade chips from The Mission, they are a perfect segue to…
  19. The Mission‘s seafood enchilada.
  20. While we’re on the topic, pork al pastor from Boom Boom Mex Mex.
  21. Mussels from Moro’s Table.
  22. The Syracuse Real Food CoOp. Ever been there? I don’t get there enough.
  23. Green Planet Grocery in Fairmount. It’s within walking distance to my house and has been a great help since The Kid was diagnosed with Celiac disease.
  24. And the niche filled by Natur-Tyme is unquestionable.
  25. Byrne Dairy Chocolate Milk, which is the perfect accompaniment to…
  26. A Hoffman’s hot dog from Heid’s (mustard and onions only).
  27. Basilio’s sausage. The only reason to visit the New York State Fair.
  28. Okay, so there’s the pizza fritte from Villa.
  29. Speaking of outdoor events that I dislike, when the Solvay Festival is on the calendar, you must hit the Tyrol Club for polenta carbonara.
  30. Mezza for Two from King David’s. The only appetizer in Syracuse that serves as a meal. And leftovers.
  31. The smell that comes from the big oven at the Ironwood in Manlius. If you’ve never smelled sauce and dough while it’s in the oven, you’ve missed out. (at right)
  32. Of course, Pavone’s Pizza across the street is the best in town.
  33. Wake Robin Farms’ Farmer’s Fromage.
  34. Thought I’m partial to their Mona Lisa.
  35. That Syracuse supports multiple gluten free bakeries, like Deborah’s Sweet Treats and The Cookie Connection.
  36. A Dog Days of Summer from Freedom of Espresso. Half iced coffee, half iced tea. Full brilliance.
  37. Driving through Downtown when Smith’s Restaurant Supply is roasting coffee.
  38. The rotating lineup of small plates at Laci’s Tapas Bar.
  39. There are 100 different N.Y. style pizza joints in town, but Twin Trees is the only Syracuse, NY style pizza. Always cut in strips, it makes the perfect lunch, dinner, breakfast and/or snack.
  40. Hinderwadel’s Grove. Not the clambake part, but the seafood market where you can buy bushels of clams, enormous bags of enormous shrimp and salt potatoes all in one stop.
  41. The Clam Bar around the corner. Probably the best seafood restaurant in Syracuse you’ve never heard of.
  42. The Retreat in Liverpool, which is the best seafood restaurant in Syracuse that you have heard of.
  43. The snowflake nature of Provisions‘ ultimate chocolate chip cookie. I nearly broke my tooth on a hunk of white chocolate in one of these. The best cookie in Syracuse.
  44. The Harrison Bakery‘s chocolate chip and half-moon cookies.
  45. The CNY Regional Market. Every city has one, but this one has opened my eyes to Wake Robin, Deborah’s, Flour City Pasta, and
  46. Bostrom Farms pork and
  47. Apples from Belle Isle Terre Farms and
  48. Corn from Delaney Farms and
  49. Green beans from the Sunburst Farms. The organic farm from Cayuga County sells some of the best produce at the market.
  50. The reuben or schnitzel from Danzer’s.
  51. Tully’s tenders. Yeah, it’s a chain but it’s a local chain and that’s okay right? Right??
  52. Being greeted by Bobby Angotti while he makes pizzas and calzones in the closet-sized kitchen at Angotti’s.
  53. Mrs. Angotti’s eggplant parm.
  54. A banh mi from Ky Duyen.
  55. French fries from Zebb’s. Think Five Guys but better.
  56. Breakfast from Stella’s at 5 p.m.
  57. The frittata at the Gardenview Diner in Liverpool.
  58. This Little Piggy Goes To Utica, a sandwich with pork and greens from Darwin on Clinton.
  59. Catfish burrito at Alto Cinco, though I’ve been told that I need to have the paella at Otro Cinco.
  60. The weird gastropub menu at Beer Belly Deli.
  61. The angel hair roll from Koto (at right).
  62. The semolina bread from Nino’s Italian Bakery on Lodi. They’ve gone old school and adopted the recipe used by Ragusa’s, the long-shuttered bakery that once resided in that space.
  63. Pretty much anything being scooped at Gannon’s Ice Cream.
  64. The iced pour over at Cafe Kubal. I’m a Starbucks devotee, but if Kubal had a better location I would be there every morning.
  65. Liehs and Steigerwald’s. Founded in 1936, they are babies compared to Ascioti’s. But, there is no where else in Syracuse you can buy rabbit. That’s important, kids.
  66. Santangelo’s. They’ve been open and busy forever. An elegant little restaurant in Liverpool that is still family owned.
  67. The handwritten and always changing menu at Riley’s. Nothing extraordinary, but consistently good day in, day out.
  68. Same thing with Parker’s in Auburn. Consistency and warmth goes a long way. Plus they use Bostrom Farms pork!
  69. Fins & Tails. You wouldn’t expect Syracuse to have a really good fish market. Not only is F&T good, but whenever you walk in there is something on the stove. Their fumet is spectacular to cook with.
  70. The Farm at Elderberry Pond. Some of the best fine dining in Syracuse and probably the best example of farm-to-table dining. I had a mediocre experience the last time I was there, but enough people have rang in that I’ve decided to add it.
  71. And since we are talking farm-to-table, let’s add Circa and its use of the awesome agricultural resources in Madison County.
  72. Roast pork on rye with mayo and onions from the Brooklyn Pickle. When was the last time you went to a deli and ordered roast pork? When was the last time you went to a deli and found a report on the doneness (rare, medium rare, etc.) of the roast beef? It’s also the only non-Kosher deli in town where you can get a Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda.
  73. Living within walking distance of Peter’s Polar Parlor makes me appreciate the neighborhood ice cream stands like Hafner’s (mentioned above), Big Dip in N. Syracuse and Sno-Top in Manlius. Soft-serve is soft-serve, but everyone claims their own as the best. You don’t get that in a lot of other towns. (Friendly’s, fro yo bars and the rest of Big Ice Cream don’t count.)
  74. You can keep Festa Italiano, Polish Fest, Irish Fest and all of those. It starts and ends with St. Sophia’s Greek Cultural Frestival. I need some spanakopita.
  75. At the urging of Cheyenne, Wyo. Bureau Chief Jim WalterThe Brewster Inn, which passes time during the winter months by offering cooking classes in its kitchen for local gourmands.
  76. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, think about all of the copycats of the original Pastabilities‘ hot tomato oil. For years people exchanged their recipes for it in an attempt to crack the code. Now it’s sold in grocery stores.
  77. I’ve never particularly enjoyed it, but Funk N Waffles is one of Syracuse’s cooler concepts and does make CNY pretty special. Homemade sweet and savory waffles plus great coffee. My problem is that I have an allergy to hipsters. :)
  78. I don’t like Thai food but the people have spoken on Bangkok Thai. Every commenter on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and down below have told me that you are not a customer, but an extended family member. And if the overly-caffeinated Jon Rogers says the coffee is good, it must be darn good.
  79. Speaking of Thai food, Max Chutinthranond’s Lemon Grass has been around since the dawn of time. I’m not a big fan of the cuisine, but they have a loyal following, an endless line of diners and a rabid fan base. And the kitchen is now run by All-World chef Chance Bear.
  80. Syracuse once had a proud tradition of family-owned grocers like Peter’s, Sweetheart and Smith’s. Nichols remains. So does Nojaim Bros., which provides jobs and nutritious foods to a very poor part of the city.
  81. And while we are on the topic of grocers that aren’t named Wegmans, Tops or Price Chopper, let’s talk about the cult-like following of Green Hills Farms. Their produce section champions local growers, the aforementioned Fins N Tails supplies the seafood, and their bakery is no slouch either.
  82. I totally whiffed on Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard and the fact that it is the epicenter of the fall season in Central New York.

And I’m sure there are things I have missed. I didn’t include any beer or wine here. There are some I eliminated because they are overrated (Dominick’s). Some are loved by people but not me (Dominick’s). Some are just outright terrible (Dominick’s). Tell me what I missed and make your case for adding them to the list.

There are so many things that have been lost to time:

  • Grocery shopping at Williams in North Syracuse, from parking under the gigantic metal canopy to the big cowboy sign to the pizza, was always a treat.
  • So was the Pu Pu Platter at Frankie’s Chinese Restaurant. Ragusa’s.
  • Pat’s Pizza in Mattydale.
  • Roast beef subs the size of your leg from Kegs and Cases.
  • Going to the old Serpico’s on North Salina Street for post-drinking breakfast at 2:30 a.m. and winding up at the counter seated between a hooker and a drug dealer, and having them work a deal like you aren’t even there (remember kids, dining is an experience and the food was SO good). All lost to the ether.
  • Grimaldi’s and Giovanni’s on Erie Boulevard. I went to both as a child and remember them fondly.
  • Duck Two Ways at Kettle Lakes (R.I.P. Brian Shore).
  • How did I forget Steak Au Poivre at To The Moon, the restaurant where I proposed to The Wife? I’m really a terrible person.
  • Reubens from Weber’s on the North side. It was the only restaurant of note that did takeout near St. Joseph’s hospital. I ate a lot of those reubens during the 90s when various members of my family decided to get cancer.
  • Donuts from P&C. Nothing short of awesome.
  • Plainville Turkey Farms. Big Farm came to town and bought them out so I don’t count it as local anymore. Mostly I’m mad that they closed the store and restaurant in Cicero.
  • Aunt Josie’s. I asked my father why we never went to Aunt Josie’s. He said that the line was always too long. With a dining room the size of my laundry room and an excellent menu, I can see why.
  • Greg, a friend, former college roommate and Syracuse expat to NoVA, suggests Aunt Fannie’s in Solvay to the lost but not forgotten list. I don’t remember Aunt Fannie’s and neither does The Wife (a Solvay native). Can anyone toss an assist to me here? UPDATE: See the comments below.
  • People who remember such things also say that Caroma’s is missed. The longtime family owned restaurant was named after the three sisters that worked in the kitchen: CArmel, ROse & MAry. Ca-Ro-Ma. Pretty cool, eh?
  • Leaving The Wife’s house at night, back in the days when she was The Girlfriend, and driving past the old New York Bakery in Solvay. The smell of fresh bread is a beautiful thing. New York Bakery is still around and providing bread to just about every deli in town, but they are no longer a retail outlet.
  • Poodle’s and their frittatas but it had closed long before my parents had even met.
  • The Aunt, alerted to this list by one of her Internet-ready friends, informs me that I missed Squadrito’s. I love the woman but she was convinced that there were no fillers in their sausage, as if the pig ate a steady diet of garlic and fennel.
  • As a kid, we would drive down Route 11 in North Syracuse and pass Angelo’s Cornucopia. The sign out front had a, wait for it, gigantic cornucopia on it. I always thought it was weird that there would be a restaurant that served only vegetables. It turns out I might have taken the sign a little too literally.
  • Where Barbieri’s Restaurant in North Syracuse sits today was once Oscar’s Restaurant. A mom-and-pop shop (Literally. The husband worked in the kitchen. The wife worked the front counter.), Oscar’s had awesome soups and a menu written on an enormous chalkboard behind hanging from the wall.
  • I’ve been reminded that I’ve missed Clark’s Ale House. It was a Syracuse landmark with a great beer selection. It has been gone a long time and talk of its reopening has been out there since, well, the day the doors were locked. Count me in the minority of “believe it when I see it” when it comes to this place reopening and surviving in an otherwise mediocre location.

NOTES:

  • Multiple people have told me that I have whiffed on Eva’s European Sweets in Solvay. Though a favorite of The In-Laws, I have never been. I’ll have to work on that.
  • Someone mentioned Liehs and Steigerwalds on Facebook. That’s one I missed, if for no other reason than they have exceptional customer service.
  • Former teacher and current resident of John Boehner’s Congressional district Linda Wiehl mentioned Santangelo’s and Joey’s below. Santangelo’s is one I missed and will add. As for Joey’s, well, I’ll be at Asti.
  • bc fell off the list because they tinkered with the lobster and crab salad. When you play with my emotions like that, you get banished.
  • I need to get to New Century for some pho.
  • Brooklyn Pickle isn’t my favorite, but it is very reliable. Find it at #69.
  • I’m not getting into the chicken wings discussion. The Blarney Stone does a nice job, as does Twin Trees Too and III, but in the world of wings there is Duff’s and everyone else.
  • Apparently, I need to try the Better Brittle Company.
  • Based on what people have said, I need break my Starbucks habit and try local roasters some of the other local roasters. I’ve always been partial to Freedom, so we’ll see how they stack up.
  • A note on Marshall Street. I included King David’s. I will likely pass by Cosmo’s and Varsity. Yes, the atmosphere and experience are pure “college,” but the food is not all that good. Plenty of St. Bonaventure graduates will sing the praises of the long-passed S&G Pizza in Allegany. It had nothing to do with the food. It was “our” 24-hour outpost for grease.
  • I still don’t like Thai food, but have acquiesced because you, dear reader, have been insistent. And they are probably right.
  • Just like this list isn’t necessarily about the best, it’s also not about my personal feelings. I can’t deny what Columbus Baking Company’s bread means in this town.

95 thoughts on “82 Things That Make Syracuse a Great Food Town”

  1. Soooo much good stuff here, and I love that a lot of it has been around since we were kids. Hafner’s ice cream … two-berry twist! Pavone’s … I’m salivating. Anything from Angotti’s … . I have been away from the ‘Cuse for too long to be in tune with the new crop of good stuff, but you’ve done a fine job with the classics.

      1. … or give a shout when you’re next in Roc. We live in the city, mere steps from some of the spots you’ve profiled!

  2. Agree with you 5000% on Dominick’s. I think people are dazzled by the ginormous portions and don’t realize the food is from Sysco. One of my faves is the linguine with white clam sauce from Rico’s in East Syracuse.

  3. I wanted to add bc because I think the lobster and crab salad was amazing. Was…they changed the recipe and screwed it up.

    I had a very ordinary experience the last time I was at Elderberry. But, that was two years ago it could have been an off night.

  4. Glad to hear Pavone’s is still in business. I loved that pizza! Nothing in Buffalo or Niagara Falls compares to it. I also miss Pastabilities lunch. Again, nothing like it in downtown Buffalo. Oh and did I mention the bread is also horrible out here! Good to see many of my favorites are still thriving 20 plus years later.

  5. Jared, I loved reading this because one of the many things we miss about Syracuse is the quality and diversity of restaurants. In southwest Ohio, it is all about the chain restaurant … we miss what Syracuse has to offer when going out for a bite to eat. But, you forgot Santangelo’s …. their fried mozzarella, greens and beans, Primavera ala Camille …. we loved the family atmosphere. And, what about Joey’s? I don’t think anyone makes a better Caesar salad than Joey’s ….. Yes, Syracuse is a great place to have some very fine food. :)

    1. See what I’m saying? With the exception of my four years of college, I’ve spent my entire life within a five-minute drive of a Wegmans.

      And it wasn’t unheard of for me to drive to Hornell or Jamestown if I needed a fix.

  6. Nick’s Place right in the M&T building downtown is great too. Really good coffee, cheap and delicious food, and a great staff.

  7. Great list! A few more favorites you might consider:
    Riley’s
    Gentile’s
    New Century – awesome pho!
    Mother’s Cupboard – not the same as it once was when it was open at night (nothing like stumbling past the potatoes waiting to be homefries at 2am!) but still pretty darn good!
    Fins and Tails – best place to buy fresh seafood in the area

    1. I’ve never been to New Century, though friends rave. Mother’s Cupboard is HIGHLY overrated, as is Gentile’s. But, you’re right on the other two. I missed those.

  8. At the market you can’t miss Forty Weight coffee, and you can get Rabbit from Finger Lakes Co-op at the market most weekends. You also missed Elderberry Pond in Jordan, well worth the drive

  9. Dominick’s food is not from Sysco.
    Everything is homemade (pastries,sauce, bread, pizza). I love Dominick’s you guys are just haters considering they have awards and have been a successful business for over 30 years. They must be doing something right.

    1. Two things: Quantity does not equal quality, and water at the bottom of a bowl of pasta is generally considered to be a bad thing. I appreciate you defending your family’s enterprise, but the food is below average compared to the Italian offerings in this area. I could give you 11 Italian restaurants in Syracuse with better food: Angotti’s, Antonio’s-To-Go, Asti, Attillo’s, Carrabba’s, Delmonico’s, Francesca’s, Pastabilities, Rosalie’s, Santangelo’s and Twin Trees Too. Given the options in this area, Dominick’s should be very thankful for its fiercely loyal customer base.

    1. I’m not a big fan. Like Dominick’s, they overwhelm with portions. I would take Stella’s any day, but that’s what makes a discussion like this fun. Everyone has a favorite.

      1. Yes the portions are monstrous! I can eat until full and have leftovers to bring home. The thing I love the most is the home fries. No where else compares to Serpicos, not even Stellas.

  10. You forgot the two oldest restaurants in syracuse.. Colemans and Weber’s the most authentic foods syracuse had to offer growing up here..

    1. Weber’s is long gone. Coleman’s…it’s unique and certainly a landmark, but I don’t think it adds anything to the culinary footprint of the area. You could make a better case for The Blarney Stone.

  11. I’ve been to barbecue joints in the Carolinas, Atlanta and Texas, my dad has been to ones in Kansas City and Oklahoma, and I know people from Texas who have been here for school or work. Invariably, Dinosaur has been better than everything any of us has had.

    Another good place is Borio’s in Cicero. The food is good to excellent, they have a very nice outdoor setup during the warm weather months, and sitting right on the southern shore of Oneida Lake makes it a very picturesque place, especially when the weather is cooperative.

    1. BBQ is one of those things that people get really defensive about. The Dinosaur is something Syracusans get defensive over, like when Rochester starts yammering about theirs and how it’s “better” than the original. Nothing beats the old days of the Dinosaur when it was loaded with bikers all day long.

  12. When you extend Syracuse to a 1 hour drive radius it gets even more impressive. Craft Beers, wine, ciders, CSA’s. Having left CNY for greener tax pastures I miss the food scene. It is very underrated. If I had to add something to the list that is truly special, I’d say the 800 plus bottle wine list at the Brewster Inn and the duck at Ye Olde Landmark Tavern in Bouckville.

      1. You must add it to your list. It is spot on from the food to the service to the atmosphere. The owner has high standards and expectations for the staff and it shows. Mondays are burger and a pint night which is a great burger experience and Tuesday’s they let you bring your own bottle of wine, which can be a real cost effective way to visit. Here is a Madfoods blog I wrote about it. http://www.madfoods.com/brewster-inn-shines-on-a-wet-tuesday-night/

  13. Downtown dining week and all the deals in surrounding restaurants make eating in February the best month – plus the food and drink contests during Winterfest!

  14. Where is the love for Boom Boom Mex Mex on this list? Though only seasonal, you will be hard pressed to find better Mexican food anywhere, and the lines speak for themselves.

  15. Atilios on North Salina in little Italy is one of the best placed to eat. Has a great atmosphere, amazing food and the staff is extremely friendly. They have desserts to die for! Just like grandma used to make! If you are ever in the area it’s a must!

  16. Fantastic list sir! I must hasten to add: Better Brittle (made right here in the ‘Cuse by the nicest couple you’ll ever meet); Recess Coffee in my ‘hood; the home made madeleines from the guys at Syracuse Soapworks; and, of course, Samir’s (RIP Samir and Gabby).

    Bob Allen, Syracuse

  17. My only offering to this list would be Phoebe’s. I have to add that it’s been about 2 years since I’ve been and things may have changed culinarily. Love the eclectic menu and seasonal dishes. I think it gets overlooked due to location. A great stop before hitting up a play at Syracuse Stage.

  18. I would concur with the other Thai food lovers and put Bangkok on the list. Be sure to grab a Thai iced coffee. A handshake and “rock n roll” from the owner and a smile from joy. It’s like coming home to the Thai family you never had.

    I would also concur with going local for coffee. Kava cafe on West Genesee street serves Kubals drinks and some Ukranian food to boot.

    I didn’t see any Skaneateles mentions like fish tacos at Blue Water Grill, Doug’s Fish Fry (which, to be honest, I’ve never had but expected to see it as a staple of Syracuse)

  19. I think Vinomania should be on the list, because, well, wine is food and Gary Decker runs a great resource there. And speaking of Eva’s, you have to include Picasso’s Pastries which features the work of Eva’s son. It’s the sort of creative foodie bakery Syracuse has been needing for a long while.

  20. Aunt Fannie’s, first in Solvay, then in a plaza on Rt. 57 (near John Glenn Blvd) was a small restaurant run by chef/owner Laurie. Excellent food, great staff–you could die over a bowl of her Pasta Primavera or her Chicken Tetrazinni. Lasted less than 10 years, but OH, so good!

  21. I miss Webers. Big Time. Loved, loved their reubens, the salads were always fresh, and it was the one last place that had that “old” neighborhood restaurant feel, excellent prices for the quality. I would go there on St. Patty’s day to enjoy the best corned beef in Syracuse.

    Brewster Inn is the BEST Sunday brunch in CNY.

    Sherwood Inn has the best (Yankee) Pot Roast around.

    I miss the old Krebs Sunday brunch. If only the “new” one would open, I could decide if I liked that one, too.

    Ye Olde Landmark Tavern’s BBQ sauce is my personal favorite in CNY. Hard to find, though.

    You need to venture south now, to Cortland area. Some amazing dining, farms and food experiences there. I’m still exploring the area myself. It’s a hidden gem.

    1. My pot roast is the best around. Just sayin’… As for Krebs, by the time I made enough money to eat there, it was gone. The reopen is a lot like Clark’s Ale House. I’ll see it when I believe it.

      I think that there are a lot of hidden gems in the Route 13/96 corridor from Cortland to Ithaca to Elmira. Some excellent beer being brewed as well.

      1. Krebs Sunday Brunch was actually the least expensive Sunday Brunch in CNY for several years before they closed ($11) so it was a steal of deal both for brunch and for Krebs. You missed out indeed.

        Beer? I’m talkin’ cheese, milk, soups, baked goods, greenhouse veggies. We have so much beer and wine and now liquors in NY, it’s impossible to choose. But to find little farms and farmstands turning into sources of fresh milk which you can watch it being bottled, cheese and baked goods being made, it’s quite a sight. It’s a growing trend especially down Cortland way.

  22. Please don’t forget Caroma’s, it was truly the best Italian family owned restaurant of the 60s and 70’s. And, a good word for China Road…one of the only Chinese Restaurants where Chinese-Americans eat.

    1. Caroma’s goes on the list. I don’t know of China Road, but that’s probably because I lump Chinese restaurants into a “seen one, seen ‘em all” pile.

  23. You should visit our shop sometime in Manlius. Check out our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/luneauchocolat
    We are a local artisan chocolatier, making everything by hand and scratch.
    We have brought a European chocolate shop to syracuse in 480 square feet…
    We are truly unique and love sharing wd chocolate with the community we love and live in.
    You also listed tons of our favorite places! Awesome write up!

    1. I was just at Side Hill Farmers yesterday and spent my food adventure budget there. If I didn’t think The Wife would kick my butt, I would have dropped in.

  24. Mario & Salvo’s – best pizza dough
    Strong Hearts Cafe – amazing milkshakes even if they are vegan
    Recess Coffee House – great coffee
    Picasso’s Pastries & Cafe – mouthwatering pastries
    Lycourt Bakery – best donuts
    CJ’s Seafood – only open on Friday’s
    Lao Village – yummy soups and curry dishes
    Doug’s Fish Fry – fried goodness and delicious seasonal sundaues

  25. You mentioned Belle Isle Farms for Apples (which I do not know). I have always enjoyed going to Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in the fall.

  26. Coleman’s beef O’Clarity is amazing.

    Soon to be back Clark’s ale house roast beef sandwich.

    Krabby Kirk’s has some preety good bbq and now have ice cream.

    Azteca has great low priced Mexican food right down the road from you.

  27. I think #15 is pretty accurate when talking about The Blue Tusk’s sandwich selection. But the accusation of them having dirty beer spouts is inaccurate to say the least. I worked there for 5 years and one thing I can say is Sunday the only day they are closed is used specifically to clean all 69 of their beer lines and taps. They have someone who specializes in this and comes every Sunday faithfully, hence the reasoning behind them being closed on Sunday.

    1. Marceline: Then something is wrong. I’ve been sick after drinking there a few times and not because I drank too much. Either the glasses aren’t getting washed or the taps are dirty. Either way, I don’t go in there anymore. Impressive beer selection but I can’t run the risk of spending the day in the bathroom.

  28. Jared, next post you should include cleanliness @ some of these places. Just for instance, Mothers Cupboard.. I had grease drip on my head from an overhead light. Sunshine diner on Thompson, best b’fast hands down.

    1. Linda: It’s one of my turnoffs about M.C. I’ve sent food back there before because dishes were dirty. Maybe all of the publicity has made it impossible for them to keep up with the little things.

  29. I appreciate your list of places of Syracuse’s bygone days; I miss Williams.

    I was surprised to see that Mother’s Cupboard missed the list. Along the same lines, what about the All Night Eggplant. I consider both to be (although, after ANE left E. Genessee St. I’ve not been back) quintessential Syracuse food venues.

  30. You’re right about the All Night Eggplant. That was my bad.

    I think that Mother’s Cupboard is overrated. There is an aura with places like M.C. and Dominick’s. It’s as if long lines and huge portions are indicators of good food, when in essence it’s just good value. And that’s fine, but to me it’s not what makes this area special and that’s what I’m going for here.

  31. Kyokos located on Brooklea Dr in Fayetteville formerly located in shop city. This Japanese restaurant has been around for 27 years!! They are one of our best kept secrets. The owner puts on special 9-12 course dinners that are out of this world. Happy to accommodate and they have a lot of regulars that have supported them for that whole 27 years. Also, Recess Coffee and Strong Hearts !

    1. Nope. No love for Cheeky Monkey. I do know of Serious Eats, but I’m partial to the original made on Franklin Street. Often imitated, never duplicated.

      1. Totally disagree, but to each their own, thankfully. Not a fan of eating sodium benzoate, so will not be buying Pastabilities any time soon. Plus, I saw a article in which the owner told how she developed the recipe based on something she’d tasted in Italy…..and tried to duplicate.

      2. I don’t buy it at Wegmans. I still go to the restaurant and ask them to package the fresh-made stuff for me. And they still make it in house. As for Cheeky, then it’s a duplicate of a duplicate.

      3. Whatever you want to call it, tastes way better and all-natural. Easy choice for us. Still, to each their own!

    1. I’m not sure what Soo Lin is.

      It’s funny that you say that about fish sandwiches. Everyone has their favorites. Personally, I don’t like fried haddock.

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