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  • NorthOfTown
  • Old, tired, and worn-down. Empty-nester. Would eat out more if frickin' restaurants around here didn't close so darned early. Wife and I like to travel, visit friends, and find new places to eat.

Gino’s Original Cheese Steaks

On South Main Street in North Syracuse sits a little bit of downtown Philadelphia, PA.  Or at least, that’s what the folks at Gino’s Original Cheese Steaks would like us to believe.

Gino's original cheese steaks in North Syracuse, NY
Gino’s original cheese steaks in North Syracuse, NY

And here’s something that ticks me off: I’ve read a few comments online about how Gino’s (with an “i”) is a rip-off, and can not be affiliated with the place in Philly – which is Geno’s – with an “e.”  I’m sorry, but these people are morons.  I’ve never read or heard of them trying to pass off that they’re affiliated.  The names aren’t even spelled the same!  End of rant; now back to the review.

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Next Door by Wegmans

I wanted to take my wife somewhere nice for dinner, as it was her birthday.  Traveling was not a problem so I began to look a little farther afield than downtown Syracuse.  Doing some searches, I found a number of positive recommendations for a place in Rochester.  The place is called Next Door.

Next Door restaurant
Next Door restaurant

What shocked the heck out of me is finding out it’s run by a supermarket!

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Highland Park Diner

Highland Park diner is one of those places that apparently everyone loves, and for good reason.  It’s in a slightly sketchy neighborhood in Rochester, NY and that’s actually one of it’s charms.  The parking lot is tiny, as is the building itself.

Highland Park Diner in Rochester, NY
Highland Park Diner in Rochester, NY

There’s so many people coming here that they have tables outside with umbrellas.  Except for the outdoor seating, it reminds me of the best of the old time New York City diners I’ve eaten in.

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Boom Boom Mex Mex

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Published on: June 4, 2014

Over the weekend, some friends took my wife an I out to Camillus to visit one of their favorite eateries.  They’ve been telling us about Boom Boom Mex Mex for several years now, but this is the first time we’ve made it out there.

Boom Boom Mex Mex
Boom Boom Mex Mex

I forgot to take a pic, so I snagged this one from someone on-line.  In this age of Internet-connected everything, I also didn’t find a web site or Facebook page for the restaurant.  This is a place that truly lets their work do all the marketing.  If you don’t like it, that’s fine.  But the folks who do like it. . .

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Yogurt City

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
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Published on: May 23, 2014

Marketfair North Plaza in Clay is the home of the new Yogurt City.  I’m not the best person in the world to review this place, but since I drive past it fairly frequently, I got called on.

Yogurt City in Marketplace North shopping plaza in Clay, NY
Yogurt City in Marketplace North shopping plaza in Clay, NY

Although this is a franchise location, it hasn’t got a lot of competition outside of Destiny.  Not right now, anyway.  And certainly not in Marketfair North, although it’s got a great spot right next to Liehs & Steigerwald.

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American Diner

Categories: All American, Casual, Diner, Eat-in
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: May 16, 2014

The American Diner is across the railroad tracks on Old Liverpool Rd in Liverpool.  It's definitely on the right side of the tracks, and that's the whole point.

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The food is not the point here.  It's fuel for the body, prepared sufficiently and presented plainly.  The prices are completely average – not high enough to gouge your wallet, but high enough to give the staff a decent wage.  The staff – efficient & friendly.  Happy to talk with you if you want, willing to leave you to your own devices.  Parking is sufficient, enough for everyone if the place is packed.  No, there's only one important aspect of The American Diner, and that is the ambiance.

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Coop’s Kitchen

Categories: All American, Casual, Diner, Eat-in
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Published on: May 14, 2014

"Nothing good is ever cheap, and nothing cheap is ever good."  This is the slogan – or warning – emblazoned on the front of the menu at Coop's Kitchen.  There are a number of other breakfast joints that may be cheaper, but it's not like they're charging double what other places do.  Is it worth the extra money?  I'm not sure – I've had a couple different experiences here.

coops_kitchen_001Coop's Kitchen has taken the spot last occupied by PardZee's on Bridge Street in E Syracuse.  PardZee's was a golf-themed breakfast and lunch spot, and some of the golf-themed decorations still haunt the spot.  PardZee's had been there for a number of years, and had built up a steady following.  After they closed, I'm sure many of the regulars moved on to other nearby spots.

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Just Donuts

3 Rivers Plaza in Phoenix is an anomaly.  They have a first class Thai restaurant here at the south end of the plaza, one that's surprisingly good.  They also have a decent Chinese takeout joint.  But if you get up early – like crack-of-dawn early – and visit the north end of the plaza, you'll find a sugar-soaked gem.  It's open Tue – Sat 6 AM – 1 PM, and Sunday 8 AM – 1 PM, closed Mondays.  Tucked into a tiny, tiny spot near a dental office (how appropriate!), you'll find Just Donuts.  And find it you must.

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I've said before, my favorite dessert is another lobster tail.  But that doesn't mean I don't like sweet stuff.  I've never really gone out of my way for confections, but I just might if this place stays open.  If you like truly hand-made sugary delights, you'll have to make your way up to Just Donuts.  Even though these are hand prepared, you can still buy them by the dozen.  And why they don't charge more is a mystery to me.

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Asti Caffe

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
Comments: No Comments
Published on: May 7, 2014

What's the four-one-one on Asti Caffe?  It's their address – 411 North Salina Street in Syracuse.  Not quite in the "heart of downtown," but darn close.

On a recent sunny (but not really warm) weekday, a friend of mine joined me for lunch at Asti.  Neither of us had ever been before.  I have to say that parking on a weekday at noon was tough, but available.  We wound up parking at a meter across on a tiny side street and walking over.  Walking up to the front door, you're greeted by a warm, red brick facade.  The recessed door is reached after you walk under a wrought iron arch.  There's construction work going on nearby, but I was struck by how fresh and clean the front looked.

DSCF0249Part of the sidewalk is blocked off behind a low partition.  Given the tables and chairs out there, I assume that in good weather, seating is available out there for dining al fresco.  We entered the front door and were greeted promptly.  There's a small seating area of booths right in front, with a small, friendly looking bar off to your right.  We were taken back and to the left into a larger, more open dining area.

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Texas Road House

Yes, it’s true – Texas Roadhouse is a chain.  Why review it?  Well, the first reason is because someone asked us to do it.  The second reason is because of what happens inside.  If you’re looking for a steakhouse, you might consider going there because it’s close by, easy to get to, has plenty of parking, and really. . . can they ruin every steak they serve?

_IGP2754Are there other steakhouses in Central New York?  Certainly!  But deciding whether TRH is worth going to – that’s what this review is all about.

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