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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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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Asti Caffe

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
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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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Ocean Sushi

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 23, 2014

On Oswego Rd in Liverpool, across from Kost Tire and katty-corner from the entrance to Bayberry is a tiny little plaza. There’s a Starbucks here, a FroYo shop and a custom embroidery place.  And in the middle of it all sits Ocean Sushi.

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The plaza is cute, like cute ’cause it’s small.  Ocean Sushi is small.  In a way it reminds me of the tiny bars & shops you find along the streets in Japan.  Okay, it’s a lot bigger on the inside than that, but by American standards it’s kinda small.  There’s half a dozen seats at the immaculately neat and clean sushi bar, and a series of tables for parties of various sizes.  I’ve been here as part of a romantic dinner for two, and as part of a raucous party of 8.  The tables have a crackly, beat-up finish, but I think that’s on purpose.  The rest of the place is as neat and clean as the bar area.

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Outback Steakhouse – New Hours

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Published on: April 19, 2014

While we don’t always cover chain restaurants, this is a dining review site.  That said, I was at the Outback Steakhouse off Rt 31 in Clay last night, and there were a number of changes.

Most importantly, Outback is now open every day of the week at 11 AM.  That means you can now visit outback for lunch!  I know that for years, many people complained that they had to wait for dinner for a Bloomin’ Onion.  Hehe.

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Also, not that it matters to most folks, they’ve done away with their green beans as a side item.  My waiter was equally as perplexed as I was.  He told me that these were one of the most popular sides.

As you may know, the large Outback on Erie Blvd East closed down a month or so ago.  The Clay location is the only one near Syracuse at this time.  The closest others are in Vestal and Henrietta.

China Road

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
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Published on: April 11, 2014

A couple of our friends wanted to meet up for an early dinner one Sunday, so the hubby and I met them at China Road in Mattydale.  I’m not sure just how long this restaurant has been open, but a girlfriend took me there for lunch about 20 years ago.  I don’t go every week, but I’m there several times a year.

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China Road is a clean, neat, hole-in-the-wall.  If you’ve ever been to New York City’s China Town, and eaten at one of the better places on Mott Street, then you’ll really enjoy eating here.  Walk in and you’re greeted by Chef Simon or his wife.  The front room is tiny – eight tables, including one larger family style table, and the front one where they stage take-out orders.  On especially busy nights, they open the back dining room, which is larger and seats maybe twice as many as the front room.

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Kawa Japanese

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 9, 2014

I stopped in at Kawa Japanese today. It’s in the Glenn Crossing shopping plaza on Oswego Road, across from the dead Kirby’s, in Liverpool. It was just after 1 PM and I had my boys with me. When we walked in, there were several booths already taken, and the gentleman behind the cash register asked us to seat ourselves at an empty booth.

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It took several minutes for him to wait on us, but I can understand that as he was busy ringing out a large table of guests. It seemed like they’d requested separate checks or something. He dropped off menus, then ran off to ring out another customer. By the time he returned to take our order, there was only one other couple left.

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Canale’s Liverpool

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian, Take-away
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Published on: April 4, 2014

Canale’s of Oswego, a restaurant going back over 50 years, opened a simple take-out place in Liverpool a few years back.  It’s on Rt 57, in the Glenn Crossing Plaza.  There are a few other ethnic restaurants here, so it seemed like a good choice.  The space was small, meant only for cooking, with a small waiting area for patrons who were picking up their food.

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Nope.  The patrons would have none of that!  These folks wanted to sit down and actually eat what they’d ordered on premises.  So Canale’s immediately obliged.  The place got so popular that they even build a little area in the warm months, where people can sit outside and be served.  True, the atmosphere out there can be a little. . . smoggy, but what the heck, you’re eating outside!

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Empire Sub Shop

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Published on: February 16, 2014

The wife and I dropped in to this relatively new restaurant on Valentine’s Day.  It was later in the afternoon, after the lunch rush.  The parking lot was relatively clear of snow, easy to find a spot.  There was a couple eating lunch, and another two tables with single diners.  Empire is located in the former Burger King in downtown Liverpool.  The inside is somewhat remodeled, but it’s pretty easy to tell what the place used to be.

The menu is extensive, and is displayed on an easy-to-read panel over the counter.  Whole subs, half subs and wraps are all listed there.  According to their web site (www.empiresubshop.com) they also offer daily soups.  Prices seemed to be pretty good, but I wanted to reserve judgement until after the meal.

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Cole’s Burger Co – lunch

Categories: All American, Casual, Eat-in
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Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: September 29, 2010

After several fits and starts, Cole’s Burger Company is now open on Rt 57 in Liverpool. A very important part of this review is the location – it’s in the building that a lot of us still think of as “Tommy’s.” Sure, it’s hosted more than it’s fair share of failed eateries in the last few years; off the top of my head, I can think of Garcia’s Mexican and most recently Lou-Lou’s. But I don’t really think there’s a jinx on the location. It’s not the building or the lot that causes the restaurants to fail – it’s the total lack of inspiration on the part of the tenants.

Latest case in point – Cole’s Burger Company.

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