Syracuse, NY – Breweries, Elk Burgers, and Shot Wheels

Whenever I’d tell people that I was headed to Syracuse, I would often receive the “I’m so sorry.” response. And some of these people were from the area. I didn’t have high hopes going into Syracuse, but was determined to find some cool stuff to do and see.

Remember in a previous post when I said that sitting on the right side of the plane while leaving Seattle will reveal the most beautiful views? Well, this SEA to MSP flight was no exception.

And Delta served my favorite first class meal, the sausage and pepperoni calzone (seriously, out of all the meals I’ve had, this one is the best, by far).
I landed in Syracuse in the evening and the Syracuse airport has a weird process for exiting baggage claim. Instead of having a TSA agent guarding the exit, they have these small pods that can fit 4-6 people in each pod, and the back door closes leaving you in the pod for a few seconds before the front door opens. In theory, this works, but many people went in one at a time (even though signs says to go in with more people), therefore leading to long lines to exit the airport.
We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Armory Square, which was actually located in a really good spot.
I arrived at the hotel at about 11:00 p.m. and there were not many options open late. The hotel suggested I check out this place down the road, and so I did. American Garbage Plate is this plain, unsuspecting store front that is a late night take out restaurant, that also does delivery. And by late night, I mean 4:00 a.m.
While the menu has your typical late night take out like wings, pizza and sandwiches, I was intrigued by their signature dish, the Garbage Plate. Essentially, you pick two sides, a meat and toppings. My creation was mac and cheese, curly fries, pulled pork, onion, burger sauce, mustard and ketchup. By the way, the burger sauce was like a slightly-sweet sloppy joe sauce with hamburger in it. Um, it was pretty freaking good.
The next I woke up and SNOW!
Then I had work to do at the mall, of course. But after that I went to Empire Brewing Company with coworkers. Empire is this cool spot that I kind of wish existed in Seattle. I loved the layout and the staff was very accommodating (we’re a tough group sometimes as we have some gluten free co-workers and we always have separate checks).
I had the Raspberry Sour Cider, which was delicious and I could have had five of them (you know, if I were not a responsible adult).
For dinner, I had the Elk Burger. It was also delicious, and I feel like whenever elk is available as an option, you should order elk.
We had to go back to the mall, then retire to the Courtyard, as we had a big morning opening the store the following morning. After the opening, but before our evening event, my co-worker Ali and I decided to be bad and get TCBY. When is the last time you’ve seen a TCBY, let alone get it??
The next morning, I was headed to PHX on a 6:40 a.m plane, but that didn’t stop me from going out with my coworker Ali to explore Syracuse, and check out a few local spots in Armory Square. Yep, We went on a #CuseCrawl!!
Our first stop was Al’s Wine and Whiskey Lounge. Now, you probably know, I LOVE whiskey, so I was super impressed with this place. They had a huge whiskey selection and pretty decent prices. The clientele was totally 25-30 year old males and I think that we arrived as the band was taking a break. All in all, I’d go back, for sure.
Next stop was Small Plates Detroit. Now, as a Detroiter that has been to Small Plates many times, I didn’t even know there was one in Syracuse – and it was called Small Plates Detroit. We just had a drink there, but the service was super fast and they had a good cocktail selection.
It was time for food, and finding food post 10:00 p.m. was not the easiest thing to do. We ended up walking a couple of blocks to Kitty Hoynes. They had a decent late night menu of mostly apps and sandwiches. I ended up with the Turkey Sandwich. They also gave you a large selection of different mustards (I LOVE mustard!) when they bring your sandwich.
Additionally, for an Irish bar, Kitty Hoynes had a good selection of liquors.
We had one more stop left, so we headed to the dive bar across the street from our hotel, The Penny Pub. This place was amazing, the bartender was really friendly, and the drinks were cheap. The Penny has pool tables, dart boards, a beer pong table… oh, and a shot wheel! You spin the shot wheel and that’s the shot you get.
Of course Ali and I had to spin the wheel, and we actually did it twice! First shot was the Jolly Rancher and the second spin got us a blow job shot.
So, to all the people that said I’m so sorry, I’d like to report that I actually had a really good time in Syracuse. That’s a good thing, because I have to go back in the middle of January (which might be really cold, and really snowy?). I know I have to check out Pastabilities on my next trip, but if anyone has other Syracuse must-do suggestions, please let me know in the comments.
And of course, since we were entering the winter season (and it was like 25 degrees out!), we needed to get de-iced before leaving SYR.
Next up, Phoenix (and warmer weather!)


  1. OMG I LOVE Syracuse!!! I've been a few times. There's a place there that has the best BBQ. But bring friends, the servings are huge lol. It's called Dinosaur BBQ.

    They also have a very decent mall there if you're in the mood to shop.

  2. I was just there last weekend and totally went to Dinosaur BBQ! I'm going to try to get my post up this weekend… and yes, I know the mall all too well, that's why I had to go there, an event at the mall.

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