Courtney M. Hills

Courtney M. Hills
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Cuse Cheap Spotlight Special: Cuse Cheap

So this week I wanted to do a little something different with our Cuse Cheap Spotlight Special and put the focus on us! It is my intention to be open and honest with you about us and this venture. I want there to be trust and maybe explain more of what we are about and our passion towards making this site and Syracuse/Central New York more enjoyable for visitors and residents alike.

Let's start with introductions. My name is Chuck Fiello Jr (or some may know me more as @OrangeChuck if you follow me on social media) and in July I started this after other blog ideas had run their course. I currently live in a small town in North Carolina where I've been full time caregiver for my mother with Alzheimer's for two years after we lost my father and have lived here since I got out of the Army in 1996. I have longed to be back in the area full time and this year I am looking to make that happen with my mother and myself hopefully around the summer time.

I started this blog because what I noticed as my time as Orange Chuck and over the years, I had heard complaints about how expensive living in NY is and often times complaints about lack of things to do.  Anyone who knows me knows despite living here for professional and personal reasons, I have always loved Syracuse and I am VERY passionate about the area and the businesses that make it up. I have built great relationships with many in the area of the years and I treasure them all.

What I also found in my frequent yearly visits and online relationships is that some aspects of living in CNY can be expensive compared to other areas but there are also many affordable options that don't just include fast food dollar menus or ramen noodles every night. I know many of the negative aspects people complain about are part of the area but I also know that stuff is going on in every town and city in our country today. I also noticed when people said they had nothing to do that I was seeing many local events or business options to keep a life happy and fulfilled.

So I thought to myself, why not showcase the things I see and show people that there are so many positives to the community as well if you remove those dark blinders and watching news filled with negative stories? I looked around and didn't see anyone really doing anything like this so I thought I would give it a try except my friend at Pizza Promos but his dealt solely with pizzerias. There are many free or affordable events to enjoy through various groups, The M.O.S.T. and other museums, libraries or other local resources whether you like family events, beer and food festivals or whatever you may seek. There are also many small, local businesses offering meals, services, products and specials for very affordable prices for those on a limited budget or just looking to save money.

Shortly after starting this blog, after talking to family, I realized I wanted to be back in Syracuse soon with mom to be closer to family and friends there and closer to the place I still call home. I also started into a relationship with a great woman named Nicki who lives in Camden, NY and has joined me in working on this site and I am grateful for her love and support.

If you are thinking to yourself that because I reside in NC, I can't be passionate about the area or lack understanding or out of touch, I would say that though you are entitled to your opinions, you are incorrect. I LOVE Syracuse whether it't rooting for the local teams, eating only Primo and Mary's Salsa or picking up some Hofmann's Hot Dogs & Hinerwadels Salt Potatoes from Spera's Market or enjoy some Empire Brewing or Disco Lemonade or making friends locally no matter their income level, occupation, race or religion.

Now I can talk all day about the area and the many positives so this is why I wanted to do this site. I want people to see that there are so many great aspects to living in or visiting the area and it's not the darkness some like to say it is. If you sit around and watch the news and talking to Negative Nelly's thinking life in Syracuse is all gloom and doom you are missing out on so much that surrounds you. We can each make a difference and it starts with us by sharing the positives and businesses that add character to Syracuse and Central New York in general. There are so many small local businesses that deliver great products and we should embrace them as part of our community and yes I say WE/OUR because as I said, no matter where my physical location is right now (though as I mentioned, there are plans to change that in the very near future), Syracuse is my HOME!!!!

You can find us not only on this website but also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We are growing every day and I am forever grateful to every single friend we make along the way. Our goal is to support the area and businesses and find you the consumer deals that make your every day easier. We can't help you with your taxes or other costs in life but what we can do is point out any deal we can find whether it's a dive bar or five star because we know everyone's tastes varies and we want to help local businesses whether Uncle Jimmy is working out of his home office or your neighbors The Smith have opened up a business with multiple locations. Again, together we can make a difference and we can make Syracuse/Central New York a great place to live or visit if we work together to embrace it as great for everyone no matter your background or lifestyle and when we can, buy CNY.

I promise if you follow us on this journey, you will see people passionate about the Syracuse area and finding reasons for you to be as well and we will give it our all to provide you with great local content. I hope this will not deter anyone who thought I lived there but I felt I needed to be honest and hope you realize I am no less passionate about what we do here. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and we promise to do everything we can to help you enjoy the area and find your way around Cuse Cheap!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cuse Cheap Spotlight Special: Onondaga County Public Libraries

Most communities have them but so many of us do not realize just how fortunate we are to have a resource like your local library. So this edition of our Cuse Cheap Spotlight Special, we thought we would take a few minutes to explain how great a resource they can be by profiling the Onondaga County Public Libraries as a great example because of how much they offer.

How many of you drive past your local library and think it's just a place to hold some books? Did you know many of your local libraries offer that of course but also so much more? Also did you know that within the Onondaga County Public Library system there is the Central Library, 8 branches, 2 satellite libraries and helps serve 21 independent suburban libraries.

So before we get started, do you live in Onondaga County? If so, do you have a library card to one of their libraries? If not, you can click here to get information on how to obtain one. Once you have your card, you have access to all the great stuff we will be profiling here below so feel free to click the link for information...we can wait!

Done? Okay so what can one get with this card? Let's hop on our magic carpet for a ride into a whole new world of exploring your imagination.

So as we stated, libraries are a great resource for books filled with knowledge and stories to explore the imagination. They also offer movie rentals that do not require swiping your credit card at red kiosk in public places. As noted by TeNesha Murphy from Newschannel 9/Bridge Street on Twitter, you can also do some music downloads at some branches as well.  Many of your local libraries are also great sources for computer labs, tax forms/assistance, job search help and information, online learning centers or homework help/tutoring as well as public notaries should you need one.


Every library is different but many are now great resources for guest lectures or events. Let's examine a few examples using specific libraries and the events they host. Many of these are recurring events weekly or monthly so be sure to check the calendars for more information. The best part is that these are fun events that are FREE!

How about some Yoga for Everyone? One hour of free gentle yoga for members at the Betts Branch Library on Monday March 20th from 6-7 PM. Interested? Click here.

Or maybe you have someone in your home aged 12 and up interesting in learning about coding? On Tuesday March 21st from 2:30-4:30 PM you can check it out whether a beginner or expert their Coding Club at the Central Library branch. Interested? Click here.

The Central Library Branch also hosts a Jobs Drop In Lab Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Second Floor Computer Lab. For more information, click here.

Maybe you are looking for a Book Discussion Group? Well the good news is that many libraries feature various book clubs for all ages and one such club is held at the Paine Branch Library on Friday March 24th from 10-11 AM. Interested? Click here.

What about a Family Movie Night with free popcorn? Good news is, you can check out "Middle School: Worst Years Of My Life" at the Beauchamp Branch on Thursday March 30th from 5-7 PM. Interested? Yes you can find more information on this also by clicking here.

Do you have a young person 12 and up who likes training card games and near the Mundy Branch? Saturday March 25th from 10-11 am you can join this event.  Does your kid ages 6-12 prefer to build things with their hands and want to try their hand at the Lego Club at the Hazard Branch Saturday 2-4 PM? Click here. Or maybe your kid prefers Nintendo Wii and other board games? On Fridays kids ages 5 and up can enjoy that at the Beauchamp Branch and you can read about that here.

You can also find knitting clubs, quilting,and craft clubs and story times.

So as you can see, your local library can be such a great commodity in our community and offer so much entertainment for little or no cost to you and your family.  So get yourself a library card and be sure to check out the great resources the Onondaga County Public Library offers by checking out their website, their Facebook page or their Twitter page. And remember, they have a lot of great resources so be courteous, kind and thoughtful towards others around you while there, treat the items with respect but unless they advertise snacks, please don't ask about the milk and cookies...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Syracuse Brunch Scene Volume 1

We here at Cuse Cheap have noticed that many people in Syracuse love them some weekend brunch. Now we say weekend because some establishments offer it on Saturday as well as Sundays.

Obviously part of our mission here is to find least expensive options for places around town (hence the name Cuse Cheap) but we also occasionally will share other local businesses in posts like this, They may not be "cheap" but are still a good deal in case some are searching for more since we all do not share the same tastes and budgets.

A couple of these may be obvious to some but we wanted to compile a diverse list of brunch options and places. We also decided to start with only 10 and refer to it as "Volume 1" because we plan to do more research and possibly make a series of posts to represent various places in the area. Feel free to add suggestions in the comment section below or tell us on Twitter or Facebook.

So here are 10 local establishments to get you started if you are looking to enjoy a weekend brunch alone, with the family or with loved ones or friends. Please keep in mind prices and menus could change but these were the options as of this posting.



Location & Phone Number: 
6475 Collamer Road
East Syracuse, NY 13057
Bistro Phone # (315) 299-4030
Winery Phone # (315) 399-0835

Brunch Schedule: Every Sunday 10 AM- 3 PM

Brunch Menu Options: Full Brunch Menu Available Here

Brunch Adult Drink Options: Irish Coffee (Bailey's topped with fresh house whipped cream), Comfort Coffee (Southern Comfort & sugar topped with fresh house whipped cream), White Wine Sangria, and Mimosa (made with NYS sparkling wine) all for $7 and their Signature Bistro Bloody Mary for $9.

Wolf's Den


Location & Phone Number:
617-619 Wolf Street 
Syracuse, NY 13208
(315) 560-5637

Brunch Schedule: Sundays Noon until 3 PM

Brunch Menu Options: 12 Options as well as made to order omelets plus a dessert table (desserts change weekly and homemade). You can find the full list here

Brunch Adult Drink Options: Mimosas and Bloody Mary's (first two are included in the cost of the brunch)

Brunch Price: $16 for adults, $10 children 8-12 & children under 8 are free.

Brae Loch Inn


Location & Phone Number:
5 Albany Street
Cazenovia, NY 13035
(315) 655-3431

Brunch Schedule: Sundays September through May/June 10:30 AM-1:30 PM (reservations accepted)

Brunch Menu Options: Buffet with over 80 items to choose from.

The Beeches


Location & Phone Number: 
7900 Turin Road
Rome, NY 13440
(315) 336- 1700

Empire Brewing


Location & Phone Number:
120 Walton Street (Armory Square District)
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 475-BEER

Brunch Schedule: Doors open at 10 AM. Blues Brunch music goes live 12:30-2:30 PM

Brunch Menu: Several items including a couple $6 options for kids 12 & under with full list here

Brunch Adult Beverages: Brunch Coffee (using Cafe Kabul) $6, Black Velvet (champagne & Black Magic Stout) $6, Mimosa $6, Red Snapper Bloody Mary $6 and their Cajun Bloody Mary for only $6.

Borio's Restaurant


Location and Phone Number: 
8891 McDonnells Parkway
Cicero, NY 13039
(315) 699- 2249

Brunch Schedule: Sundays (excluding Mother's Day and Easter) 10:30 AM- 2 PM

Brunch Menu: Brunch buffet starts at 10:30 with dinner & light fare starting at noon and special pricing for children. More details if you click the link here.

Brewster Inn


Location & Phone Number:
6 Ledyard Avenue
Cazenovia, NY 13035
(315) 655- 9232

Brunch Schedule: 10:30 AM- 2 PM every Sunday (excluding Easter & Mother's Day) until January 7th, 2018 and reservations are recommended.

Brunch Menu & Pricing: $28 per person plus tax and gratuity with menu options and details here.

The Distillery


Location & Phone Number:
3112 Erie Blvd East
Syracuse, NY 13214
(315) 449-2337

Brunch Schedule: Saturday AND Sunday from open until 3 PM

Brunch Menu: To view their full menu, click here

Brunch Adult Drink Options: There are several options that you can view by clicking on the menu above but among their Morning Pours you can get 2 for 1 Bloody Mary's ($5.50 or $6.50 if you add bacon), Mimosas ($7) and Red or White Still Sangria's ($7.75) with a brunch purchase.

Brunch Kid's Deal: Free kid's scramble (two scrambled eggs, bacon and toast) with the purchase of an adult brunch entree at regular price.



Location & Phone Number:
1208 Main Street
Sylvan Beach, NY 13157
(315) 762-4280

Brunch Schedule: Sundays 8:30 AM- 12:30 PM

Brunch Menu & Price: All you can eat buffet, Adults $10.99, Seniors 65 & over $7.99, and kids 10 and under $4.99

Brunch Adult Beverages: 2 for 1 Bloody Mary's and Mimosas

*Picture courtesy of Cinderella's Facebook page