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Mar 12, 2010 05:15 AM

March Madness (syracuse + nearby)

Hello New-Yorkers!

A bunch of friends and i are going to be heading down to syrcause for the sweet sixteen and elite 8 rounds in syracuse from toronto and kingston (ontario, canada). The main group is all male, but we may meet up with some ladies we know who are also going down separately.

Are there any ncaa-specific food (or even non-food) events that happen in the city during the weekend (thurs-sat)? We'd totally be up to join in! We're staying 10-15 minutes away from the Carrier Dome and plan to go the outlets in Waterloo during the day Friday.

Some past search of recommended food in the syracuse area include: empire brewing, dinosaur bbq (, heidi's of liverpool - roadside hotdogs (, sandwich/polish food (, Alto Cinco - more bbq, Sal's Birdland - fried chicken in sauce! Any comments about these places? other suggestions are welcome because we'd eat pretty much anything at reasonable prices!

This was a past thread i found:

We're pretty amped up for that week!!

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  1. Welcome to the Syracuse area! (Rolling out the Red Carpet.)

    The thread you mentioned pretty much covers the good places to eat here. When (not "if") you go to Dinosaur, just be aware parking can be a hassle and there will be a line...both good signs. is another great resource.

    BTW - having not heard of, I tried to follow the link and it came up dead. Also be aware Sal's Birdland on S.Salina St. is closed.

    I think you will have a good time here.

    1. Hello-
      I ws the negtive one on the old post that you read.(LOL)
      If I were going to the games I'd hit:
      Scotch and Sirloin(good steaks and scotches like the poster said in the old post you looked up)
      Heidi's---which you already mentioned
      Clark's Ale House downtown(lots of beer and good sandwich)
      Definetely Dinosaur---but like the last poster said parking is a problem
      Kitty Hoyne's downtown also;Irish bar and good bar food.
      Coleman's is another Irish bar with a lively crowd as well.
      When you get to town get a copy of the "New Times";the local free paper that lists all the places that serve food,have entertainment,ect. and get a copy of "Table Hopping" yet another free publication listing restaurants with entertainment and other eating opportunities for you and your friends.
      You can usually find these publications at many bars and restaurants in town .
      You might ask at where you are staying where you can find one of these publications as well.
      They are both good guides to food and entertainment around town.
      Have a good time!!!

      9 Replies
      1. re: catnip

        thanks for your responses!

        i'm pretty sure we'll try to make it to heidi's and dinosaur! there a "down" time to go to either of these places?

        a quick look at the heidi's website says that there's free fries after SU games! do ncaa tournament games count? hahahha...also, what would you recommend to get there?

        similarly, there seems to be a tonne of options at dinosaur (esp. on the appetizer side of things) we even need to bother with apps? i'm thinking the bbq dishes are heavy enough accompanied with all those sides! but is there a signature item? ribs perhaps?

        thanks for the bar tips catnip! we might try to get around to them in the evenings!!

        1. re: msprnt

          We just get the white hots and regular hots at Heid's;we think their mustard really puts the 'zing' into their dogs.
          Having done "it all" at Dinosur I'd stick with the straight Bar-B-que myself and take some apps back to your motel for more fun eating later!---that's just me.
          It's alway fun on Marshall Street (on the campus) after the game also.

          1. re: msprnt

            Heid's (not Heidi's) is a hot dog place. It's out in Liverpool, and it's not the easiest place to get to right now since Rte 81 is closed through the city.

            Dinosaur is downtown, as is Clark's Ale House and Kitty Hoyne's. Pastabilities and Lemon Grass are also good places there. You can't really make a mistake at Dinosaur, except to go when you're not hungry.

            Yes, there are good places to eat on campus. Alto Cinco (Mexicanish, not barbecue) is near campus and is very popular.

            1. re: sr44

              oh, why is rt 81 closed? i'd imagine we'd head to heid's after the games one night, or on the way to the waterloo outlets .... would it be closed next week as well? we'll be bringing a gps nav, so we should be ok to get around ....

              nice!....thanks for recommendations!....we'll make sure to go to dinosaur when we're there a "best" time to go? or are lineups inevitable?

              also, i read something about white casing sausages being a unique syracuse item....anything particular about those?

              1. re: msprnt

                A building near the highway started to collapse, and the highway was closed in case falling bricks fell into the roadway and caused more problems. It may be open again in 2 weeks. There is a detour, and with a GPS you should be able to get there.

                Maybe late afternoon for Dinosaur?

                The white sausages are called "coneys" and resemble German weisswurst.

                1. re: msprnt

                  Getting around the closed portion of 81 shouldn't be too difficult and if you want local Heid's with the locally made Hoffman Hots is a good call. When you return from the Waterloo outlets you could stop at Curly's in Auburn. It's a bar with decent food. Nice place and you go right by it on Rtes. 5 & 20. Easy parking in a lot across the street. It's next to the prison (big gray walls with armed wall towers, tallest smokestack in Auburn). Another local eatery would be Doug's Fish Fry just off Rte. 20 in Skaneateles.

                  1. re: Old Red

                    whoa, that's unfortunate the building collapsed!

                    but thanks for the tips!!... keep the recommendations coming!

                    curly's is on the way!!.... fish fry sounds great too!... i was dreading the outlet food courts....hahahha

                    maybe we'll go to dinosaur on the thursday before the first semifinal game!

                    1. re: msprnt

                      Rte 81 is now open northbound, although there is construction (as well as deconstruction) that slows traffic down.

                      There is also a shuttle bus between the University and downtown that might be helpful.

            2. Within a short distance of the Dome, consider Phoebe's
              thoughtful modern American cuisine and a nice bar, Angotti's 725 Burnet Ave well crafted simple Italian food huge portions, Clark's Ale House (30 great drafts and 2 sandwiches). Right off campus King David, Komachi, Panda West are my favorities on Marshall/South Crouse area.

              King David's Restaurant
              129 Marshall St Ste 1, Syracuse, NY 13210

              Clark's Ale House
              122 W Jefferson St, Syracuse, NY 13202

              727 S Crouse Ave Ste 2, Syracuse, NY 13210

              3 Replies
              1. re: jlgwald

                perfect!..thanks!.... we were going to explore the campus one day.... and these places nearby sound perfect!....

                i'm not sure if my expectations are high, but i'm ready to get my eat on regardless!...hahahah.... looking forward to some great games too! (perhaps more upsets to come!)

                1. re: msprnt

                  I would be interested in your take of the area. Please post back after; you get back home.

                  1. re: al b. darned

                    Thanks for all your recommendations! We’re back in Canada now after a great (long) weekend in the states. We made it to fewer places than we had hoped, but mostly due to a ridiculous amount of time shopping…. Haha

                    The first day, I had a conversation with someone in our hotel lobby about dinosaur and he said that he didn’t see the reason for waiting an hour or two for decent food. In essence, he was saying he didn’t understand why anyone would wait for that amount of time for food quality that you would expect anywhere. Point was taken, but we still tried to go before the Thursday tournament games around 4:30pm. When we got there, the wait was over an hour so we left because we didn’t want to jeopardize missing any of the games. Luckily, from your recommendations, we went to Kitty Hoyne’s which wasn’t too far away. The kitchen was slow, but it was filling up fast with cornell fans. We weren’t in a rush, but it took a good while anyways. Here’s my take on the food we got there. We all got sandwiches except for one person who ordered the fish and chips, at the server’s recommendation. The open-faced steak sandwich was good, but is what it is….a steak sandwich. Would have liked it hotter in temperature – the steak didn’t even melt the garlic butter on the bread it was on, but it was cooked med. rare as I had ordered. Larger steak than a Canadian would typically expect on a steak sandwich. Overall, the portions were generous given the menu price (but is what I’ve come to expect eating in the states). The opinion on the fish and chips, reuben, and blue cheese burger was that they were all fine, but nothing to rave about. There were different types of whole grain mustards so that was nice. The burger was cooked well-done when asked for medium-well (but that’s easy to mess up). We had some IPAs which were quite hoppy and which we enjoyed! I had some racer#5 and someone else had burning river….never had these before, but I typically like india pale ales.

                    The next day, we met up with a friend from the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls and had some sandwiches there at a place called Zuzu’s café. Good grilled sandwiches and good seafood chowder! Lots of shrimp and clams! Good feeling to that place. We had a group of 5 and they had a family-sized dining table near the back! Haha

                    We tried to go to dinosaur around 10pm on the Friday, expecting a long wait and it was so. We decided to get takeout and ordered 4 different meals. From the menu descriptions we expected to get 1-1/4 chicken and 1-1/4 racks of ribs. However, we only got the equivalent of 1 chicken and 1 rack of ribs. We didn’t find this out until we got back to our hotel, but that was a little disheartening (not that we needed all that food, but we felt a little misled ….and taken advantage of because of the takeout situation). Our overall impression of the chicken, ribs, brisket, and pork was that this was all good stuff, but not something that is truly amazing! My favourite of the bunch was probably the brisket. The sides were good too and the cornbread is something I always enjoy, but again, nothing we felt was worth the hype that dinosaur receives. Regardless, we were more than stuffed with the food we had and it was satisfying. It could have been a different experience had we eaten in the restaurant, but we were in no mood to wait an hour for our table and likely 30 minutes for our food.

                    We went to Heid’s the next day and liked the classic feel it had. Everyone had a coney’s and a frank. Consensus was that we liked the franks a lot more than the coney’s. There was more “hotdog” flavour in the franks. We likened the coneys to the tubular breakfast sausages and their white flesh. Fries were typical and the birch beer from the soda fountain was good! Never had it before, but it was like a cross between dr. pepper and root beer. We couldn’t understand what the reason was behind the “white bread” buns, but figured it was a tradition thing? In Toronto, our street dogs are actually larger than Heid’s and they have different types of buns, ranging from eggy-poppyside buns to large sausage buns. Perhaps, we’ve been spoiled since they only cost $2-$3 at the stands…I’d say the actual (hoffman’s) frank itself at Heid’s is better than your typical hot dog though.

                    I guess we weren’t expecting to be blown away, but the local food we did get to try was satisfying and up to expectations. Coming from Toronto, we wouldn’t think twice about trying ethnic foods, so we knew that we’d be eating typical “American” food. Come to think of it, eating out in the States or Canada is usually accompanied with very little vegetables. The main form of vegetables really only comes in salad form…..whereas in asian cultures (at the least), there is typically just as much (if not more) vegetables than there is meat…. Just a thought!

                    thanks again!

                    Zuzu Cafe
                    107 Fall St, Seneca Falls, NY 13148