Marshall Street begins to bustle with business amid pandemic

Marshall Street begins bustling again with business

The reopening of Faegan's Cafe & Pub and the grand opening of Salt City Coffee is bringing life to the Hill.
Published: March 9, 2021
Faegan's Cafe & Pub near Marshall Street on March 9, 2021
Faegan’s Cafe and Pub on Marshall Street reopened on Feb. 23 with limited hours and menu items.

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Marshall Street is experiencing a surge of activity after several shutdowns and losses. Faegan’s Cafe and Pub reopened on Feb. 23 with limited hours and menu items, and Salt City Coffee celebrated its opening on March 5 in Cafe Kubal’s former location.

International Relations and Information Management and Technology sophomore Annika Carlson is excited to see more options around campus, particularly during a semester where student life is so limited.

“I think it’s overall good for Syracuse students, they need a little fun in their life,” said Carlson.

Marshall Street has historically been a hub of student activity, featuring a variety of campus-favorite restaurants and bars. The street has been rapidly evolving over the last several years, especially in 2017 when the development of the new student apartment complex, The Marshall Syracuse, forced the doors of several spots to close. Hungry Chucks was one of the casualties of The Marshall’s development but is now planning to reopen in the fall of 2021 in its former location. A Five Guys location is also expected to open inside of The Marshall as well, according to CNY Central.

Salt City Coffee is another new addition to Marshall Street, filling the spot vacated by Cafe Kubal over the summer. It’s Salt City’s third location and has opened within a month of its second location, a cafe and bar inside Salt City Market. Sophomore English and Public Relations major Sydney Schroder visited Salt City Coffee on its opening weekend.

“Salt City’s valencia cold brew was delicious and they took the time to explain the process behind it. They are definitely still opening up but I think it’s going to do really well on Marshall,” Schroeder said. “It was exciting to see a coffee shop back in that space because I loved Kubal.”

Salt City Coffee owner Maria Metthe said she has “always dreamed” of opening up a location on the Syracuse University Hill and jumped at the chance to occupy the space after Rescue Mission, which runs the adjacent 315 thrift store, contacted her about the opening. Still, opening a new location during a pandemic that limits the number of customers who can visit is tough.

“It’s a huge jump and a gamble because, you know, what is going to take, say, fifty-thousand dollars… pandemic or no pandemic, it stays the same,” said Metthe.

Metthe is looking ahead towards future semesters, and working to “build relationships with the restaurants around us.” In the future, she sees the shop as “ a gathering place for students,” where they can eventually sit and eat together.

These new dining options near campus have come just has SU closed Kimmel Food Court this semester. After the newly renovated Schine Student Center reopened, the 24-hour student cafe was permanently shuttered. While Schine is expected to expand its hours in future semesters, its current dining options close no later than 7 p.m. on weekdays, some as early as 4vp.m. Many students have classes and extracurriculars that fall well outside of those time constraints and may benefit from additional options for food. The weekends boast extended hours, with some shops like Tomato Wheel, Biscotti Cafe and Halal Shack remaining open until 10, but these hours are still significantly earlier than Kimmel’s 2:30 close.

“I don’t think there are that many food options, so I think that introducing chains and small businesses is a really good option,” Carlson said.

Still, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and dining in restaurants remains a risk. The additions on Marshall Street may provide more options for dining and bring some small businesses to campus, but they can also be spaces for congregating. Striking a balance between convenience, safety and business can be a challenging task.

“I’m happy and nervous about stuff opening up on Marshall,” Schroeder said. “I think COVID protocols might be a little less which is concerning.”