Foodie favorites and unique eats: Get your fill during Downtown Dining Weeks
Downtown Dining Weeks 2022: Featured foodie favorites
The annual Syracuse Downtown Dining Weeks are back, happening now through March 13.
Fifty participating restaurants, all locally and independently owned small businesses, are currently offering special menus and pricing deals to diners for the duration of the event, which continues through this week.
Featured deals across establishments include three-course lunches for $15 or less and three-course dinners for $35 or less, among other specials, which differ by restaurant.
Below, take a closer look at a few of the many participating restaurants and check out their deals.
The Sweet Praxis
A local bakery specializing in vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free foods, The Sweet Praxis brings both savory and sweet choices to the table. Co-founder and owner Jennifer Walls said the shop prides itself on working with a variety of dietary restrictions.
“We kind of like to say, there’s a place at the table for everyone here,” she said. “And that applies not just with food preferences but with human beings as well.”
This week, customers can choose three items off a set lunch menu, to build their own trio consisting of one savory option, one salad option and one sweet treat.
Savory items include the choice between a focaccia flatbread or Vietnamese bánh mì-inspired wrap. The flatbread is served warm, slathered with a house-made creamy white bean spread and topped with roasted mushrooms, parsley olive oil and asiago cheese. It can be made vegan by substituting the asiago with plant-based feta from local company PMA.
The bánh mì wrap, which is gluten-free and vegan, features tofu marinated in a five-spice blend, white bean spread, pickled onion, carrots, jalapeños, radishes and a touch of cilantro, all wrapped up in a gluten-free tortilla.
For the salad options, the restaurant offers a choice between its spicy broccoli salad or its Mediterranean grain salad. Among the dessert options are three seasonal cookies: carrot cake, vegan salted chocolate and vegan/gluten-free Thai coconut.
Check out The Sweet Praxis’s Dining Weeks lunch menu and Sweet Treat Deal here.
Water Street Bagel Co.
Located at 239 E. Water St., Water Street Bagel Co. is a beloved favorite in town for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Among Syracuse University students, it’s best known for beating away the “Sunday scaries” with the help of a delicious bacon, egg and cheese.
Sophia Hutchens, manager at Water Street Bagel Co., explained the restaurant’s special process that goes into baking every one of their bagels, which begins two days before the end product hits their shelves.
Each bagel is hand-separated and formed. They’re proofed, boiled, then baked in a wood fire oven. It’s this extra touch of flame that produces the unique taste of their bagels, Hutchens said.
For this year’s Dining Weeks, the shop is offering a lunch deal similar to the one they featured last year. For $12, customers get to choose from five different bagel sandwiches, a bag of chips or fresh fruit and bottled water, hot tea or coffee.
Hutchens recommended customers try the pepperoni pizza bagel, citing it as a big seller. Her other top pick would be a simple bacon, egg and cheese. “Can’t go wrong with the classics,” she said.
Check out Water Street Bagel Co.’s Dining Weeks lunch menu here.
Pie’s The Limit
“There are lots of bakeries in Syracuse, [but] there aren’t really any that specialize in pie, and there aren’t any that are trying to popularize a savory pie in particular,” kitchen manager Roxanne Broda-Blake said. “That’s definitely part of our mission, [to] make savory pies more of a thing in Syracuse.”
Some examples of the kinds of pies you can find at Pie’s The Limit include the classic chicken pot pie and spicy Italian sausage hand rolls. The restaurant offers some vegetarian and vegan options as well, like their cheesy spinach and artichoke roll.
For Downtown Dining Weeks, Pie’s The Limit is offering combo meals for both lunch and dinner.
The $15 lunch deal includes customer choice of one savory roll, a bottled water and any one of their monthly desserts. For dinner, the pie shop’s three-course $20 Dining Weeks deal consists of your choice of either one chicken pot pie, any two savory rolls or two chickpea curry hand pies, plus a side of roasted broccoli, bottled water and finally, choice of dessert: a slice of chai custard pie or a slice of shaker-style Meyer lemon pie.
The vendor may just be starting out, but they’ve already claimed a piece of the pie for themselves in the downtown small business scene. Check out Pie’s The Limit’s Dining Weeks menu for both its lunch and dinner deals here.
A staple in Syracuse fine dining and sister restaurant to the Westcott neighborhood’s Alto Cinco, Otro Cinco has been on the scene for nearly a decade but recently adopted a new identity.
Originally opened as a crossover between the Mexican fare offered at Alto Cinco fused with Mediterranean cuisine, the restaurant has of late began to focus exclusively on serving Spanish and Mediterranean dishes. Sarah Pallo, Otro Cinco’s general manager, says their menu (and their style) has completely changed.
“That’s kind of something that we’re highlighting during Dining Weeks,” she said of the new change. “It’s very focused on sharing.”
Diners will choose an item from the menu’s first course, two items from the second course and an item from the third course to split over a shared experience in dining the Spanish way, which emphasizes togetherness and socialization.
All diners receive bread and olives at the table to start, and then servers will take them through the three courses, finishing with a sampling of sherry wine and Marcona almonds.
Pallo hopes Otro Cinco will serve up an authentic experience for diners that incorporates Spanish cuisine and culture.
“That was kind of the impetus to really transition more toward that menu and that kind of food. After the pandemic I just felt that there was this need for people to [gather],” Pallo said. “We were all missing it so much.”
Check out Otro Cinco’s Dining Weeks dinner menu here.
Other participating restaurants