Courtney M. Hills

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Cuse Cheap Spotlight Special: Empire Brewing Company @EmpireBrew

I admit I have been slacking on Spotlight Specials lately to concentrate on other things but hopefully I can get back into doing them regularly. With that in mind, I wanted to bring it back with a local company I personally love and have for years: Empire Brewing Company.

For the last few years, when I am around Armory Square, one of my favorite stops is Empire. After following them on Twitter and hearing Tim Butler on KRock's The Show, I started to become interested in trying their products. Now I am not generally a craft beer guy but I have enjoyed some of the beers I have tried over the years there. In fact, one of the last memories I have with my father before he passed was sharing a Otto Amber Ale/East Coast Amber with him over lunch at a restaurant in Oneida and it's still one of my happier memories in life.

Over the last few years, I noticed that have not only been expanding into more restaurants like that throughout the state (and even outside of it at times) but also started bottling it. Now I can swing by a Wegmans or Nice N' Easy and grab up a six pack of my East Coast Amber or occasionally my other favorite: White Aphro, which apparently is not a hair growth medicine as I had hope but it was quite good. Not to mention, Empire Brewing Company in Armory also offers a weekly brunch experience with music as well.

Now if you do follow their Twitter account, you will also see another reason I wanted to do a Spotlight Special on them. They often tweet out that days lunch specials and I love seeing them especially if it's one of their burgers or flatbread pizza. The staff is very knowledgeable about the beers usually so if I ask questions about the beers since I have no clue about craft beers to go with my lunch, they are very helpful.

If you watch the video at the beginning of this post, you also know they have since started a Empire Farm Brewery in Cazenovia. This is a phenomenal facility that not only allows for more space but also the ability for us as consumers to experience more about how these brewmasters put together such a tasty presentation.

This facility also allows for them to host events like their upcoming Beer + PiYo event  this Thursday April 30 from noon to 1 as well as their Pints, Poses, and Perennials event on Saturday May 13th, which for only $20 you can enjoy a yoga class, a pint of Empire beer and a potted perennial from Maple Hill Nursery. Also on Mother's Day, at both locations, all mom's get a free pint of beer and a free Beignet while supplies last at the Syracuse Brewpub location.

You can also sample some Empire Brews at The Yard in Manlius on May 21st along with the music of The Bones of JR Jones and Mickey Powell from 6-10 PM for only $10. Click the links to save the event to your Facebook page or let them know if you're interested in attending.

Empire Brewing Company is also living, breathing proof that if you support a local company, it can grow bringing recognition to the area and hopefully more visitors or at least add something extra for visitors to try while they're here as well as more jobs. Something I would love to see more local businesses doing and I maybe it's pie in the sky thinking but it's part of why I want to do this blog and social media the hopes we can make local, smaller businesses get more exposure and grow.

And they also go out in the community and support other local businesses as well as sponsor/work with events like Syracuse Fashion Week. They even work with local companies to create beers in conjunction with their products such as the Apple Harvest Ale (Beak & Skiff), Local Grind (Cafe Kabul), and Critz Apple Ale (Critz Farms) as well as Deep Purple that uses NYS Concord grapes and the Skinny Atlas Light named after Skaneateles Lake, from which they draw their brewing water.

The Empire Farm Brewery (located at 33 Rippleton Road in Cazenovia) is open Thursday- Sunday 11:30 AM- 9 PM and the Empire Brewpub (located at 120 Walton Street in downtown Syracuse in the Armory Square district) is open 7 days a week. So if you happen to be in Cazenovia or Armory Square, stop by and give them a try (and if you happen to see Tim Butler, tell him Orange Chuck says hello). Or swing by your local store or restaurant and look for one of Empire's various beers on tap or in bottles and if they don't carry it, ask them if they would.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Finding Your Way Around Cuse Cheap: Weekends Are Specials

And we now present to you the weekend edition that concludes our series about daily specials titled Finding Your Way Around Cuse Cheap. The series is a list of specials every week on specific days of the week and this post covers Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As we stated in the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday posts, these are running lists and when we notice or are notified something should be updated or added, we will gladly edit it.



  • Chicken and Biscuits Dinner $11.99, Queen Prime Rib Dinner $21.99 and King Prime Rib Dinner $23.99 at Eddie's Restaurant
  • Corn Fed Black Angus Prime Rib Dinner $13.95 5-8 PM at DiBello's
  • Prime Rib Dinner with Salad and Potato $12.95 at Frank's Plank Road
  • Mates Cut Prime Rib with Choice Of Deep Fried or Broiled Haddock, Fantail Shrimp, Frog Legs, Deep Fried Clam Strips, Deep Fried Coconut Shrimp or Grilled Salmon $26.98 5-10 PM at Borio's Restaurant
  • Prime Rib No Choice 1BP Beef 8 Ounce Mates Cut $14.99, 12 Ounce Captain's Cut $17.99, and 16 Ounce Admiral Cut $20.99 at Fisher Bay Restaurant


  • $2.50 games, $2.50 shoes and $3 PBR after 6 at AMF Strike N' Spare Lanes
  • 1 Free Kids Hibachi Meal with Purchase of 2 Adult Entrees Excluding Holidays. Hibachi Room and Dine In Only at Sake Bomb
  • Kids Eat Free (some restrictions may apply) at Papa Gallo Mexican Restaurant
  • Free Kids Meal With Each Adult Meal Purchase (10 and under) at Zebbs Grill & Bar
  • Free Kids Scramble with Adult Brunch Purchase During Brunch Hours and 1/2 Price Wings Until 9 PM with Purchase of a Beverage at The Distillery
  • 55 Cent Wings Noon-4 PM at Borio's Restaurant
  • Prime Rib Sandwich (when available) or Chicken & Biscuits Dinner $11.99 at Eddie's Restaurant
  • Chicken and Biscuits $9.99 And All You Can Eat Sauerbraten Served with Red Cabbage and Egg Noodles $11.99 at Euclid Restaurant
  • Buddy's Plate (two hand-patted burgers, mac salad, crinkle fries, sauteed onions and mustard piled up and smothered with a Rochester hot sauce delicacy) for $9.99 and All Day Happy Hour Specials at Good Buddy's Pub
  • 1/2 Off Any Bottle of Wine All Day at 1060 Restaurant
  • Any Cheese Or Pepperoni Pizza for $6.99 at Select Byrne Dairy Stores
  • 1 Donut for 70 Cents or 2 for $1.19 (AM) and One Whole Cold Sub for $5 (PM) at Stewart's Shops
  • 1st Sunday of Each Month Get Free Admission at MOST
  • Also Don't Forget There Are Many Great Local Brunch Deals, Many of Which We Have Posted About Here and Here

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Syracuse Brunch Scene Volume II: Party Hard And Brunch Harder

Welcome to another edition of The Syracuse Brunch Scene! The first edition (which you can find here) is now the most viewed post in our blog history and I figured I would finally post a sequel. I wanted to do my best to find a diverse list that included a couple local favorites as well as a couple maybe you were not as familiar with (though I am sure most of you hardcore brunchers probably know about them all). This obviously is not a complete list but just some more I felt looked interesting enough to share. I will gladly do another list if I can find another 10 or so more that are interesting as well as distinct and preferably locally owned.

Before we get started, I would love to plug one other thing if you brunch at home on Sundays and would like some enjoyable music while you do. Blue Moon Cafe Radio airs Sundays 7 AM- Noon on TK99 in Syracuse (which you can also stream online using the link above or via their free mobile app) and on WOUR 96.9 FM in Utica. Join host Mimi Griswold as she plays an eclectic array of mostly acoustic singers-songwriters from over the years. You can also hear her play Alice's Restaurant on Thanksgiving Day and holiday music as Christmas nears.

Let's get ready to brunch!


Location and Contact Information
53 West Genesee Street
Skaneateles, NY 
(315) 685-1500

Brunch Schedule: Sunday 11 AM- 3 PM

Brunch Menu Options: Bread and pastries served for the table and various fruit, grain and sweet, savory and egg based items to choose from with the option of two plates ($29) or three plates ($42) plus additional add on items.

Also EIGHT featured cocktail options including Bloody Mary and Mimosas as well as various juices.

You can view all the options here.


Location and Contact Information
304 East Onondaga Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 475-7344 (reservations required for parties of 7 or more)
Contact information at the bottom of the homepage

Brunch Schedule: Every Sunday 11 AM- 3 PM

Brunch Menu Options: The Mission Restaurant is a Mexican based restaurant so most menu items are a mix of your average brunch items along with a Mexican twist as well. Several items, salsas and sides to choose from as well as drinks (Mimosas included). Also features 3 options on the kid's menu $5 and under for children 10 and under.

To view the full brunch menu, click here.

Ocean Blue Rooftop Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Location and Contact Information
118 Columbia Street
Utica, NY 13502
Contact Page

Brunch Schedule: Every Sunday 11:30 AM- 3 PM

Brunch Menu Options: Various brunch entrees ($10-$18), sandwiches ($10-$19), a raw bar, appetizers, sides, soups and salads. You can also order the "Bubbles N' Brunch" option for $39.

For their full brunch menu, click here and check out their Mother's Day offer below.

Blue Water Grill

Location and Contact Information
11 West Genesee Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152
(315) 685-6600
Direction Page

Brunch Schedule and Menu: Every Sunday 12-2 you can enjoy their "Brunch In A Pint Glass". It's a Bloody Mary Bar/Buffet with premium liquors and over 45 toppings to complete them.

The Sherwood Inn

Location and Contact Information
26 West Genesee Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152
(315) 685-3405
Contact Page

Click Mother's Day Brunch Menu  to see what they have to offer.

Cathy's Corner Cafe

Location and Contact Information
929 Avery Avenue (Tip Hill District)
Syracuse, NY 13204
Contact Page

Brunch Schedule and Menu: From now until Father's Day, you can enjoy a brunch buffet on Sundays 10 AM- 2 PM for only $18.95 per person.

The Lincklaen House

Location and Contact Information
79 Albany Street
Cazenovia, NY 13035
Contact Page

Brunch Schedule: Every Sunday 9 AM- 1 PM

Brunch Menu Options: Brunch buffet for $15,95 plus tax and gratuity per person. For their full list of food and drink (juices, bloody mary and mimosas) options, click here.

Aster Pantry & Parlor

Location and Contact Information
116 Walton Street (Armory Square)
Syracuse, NY 13202
Contact Page

Brunch Schedule: Every Sunday 11:30 AM- 4 PM

Brunch Menu: Aster Pantry offers a full variety of a la carte options including starters ($5-$11), plates ($10-$14), sides ($2-$6), and sweets ($6-$8). They also offer several "Morning Pick-Me-Ups" ($7-$14) as well as Brunch Classics ($4-$9) for those looking for some adult beverages to compliment their palate.

You can view their entire brunch menu by clicking here.

Otro Cinco

Location and Contact Information
206 South Warren Street
Syracuse, NY 13202

Brunch Schedule:Saturdays and Sundays 11 AM- 4 PM

Brunch Menu: Otro Cinco features a variety of options that includes Jerk Chicken Quesadilla ($8), Catfish Burrito ($11), Huevos Racheros ($9), Lobster Taco ($15 for two, $19 for three) and Jalapeno Cornbread ($4). You can also select from 10 cocktail options ranging in price from $5-$10 and $3 Red Stripe and Heinekin beer specials.

To view the full menu including cocktail selection, click here.

Alto Cinco

Location and Contact Information
526 Westcott Street
Syracuse, NY 13210

Brunch Schedule: Saturday 8 AM- 3 PM & Sunday 10 AM- 3 PM

Brunch Menu: Posted below

Monday, April 17, 2017

Finding Your Way Around Cuse Cheap: Make Way For Thursday

Welcome back for another Finding Your Way Around Cuse Cheap post and this time we will cover Friday Eve...aka Thursday! Just like Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday's posts, we feature over 20 specials that we hope you will enjoy throughout CNY and make life a little easier on you at times as well. And since we have done this before, there's no need for an introduction so let's get to some great local deals you can find to help you navigate your way around Cuse Cheap.

Thursday's Specials

Finding Your Way Around Cuse Cheap: Hump Day Deals And Meals

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Finding Your Way Around Cuse Cheap where we profile all the daily specials throughout CNY every Wednesday...that we're aware of at least. If you know of any more not listed or changes we need to make, feel free to contact us and we will gladly make an adjustment. We have over 20 deals to share so let's get to it.

Wednesday's Deals

Monday, April 10, 2017

Finding Your Way Around Cuse Cheap: Tuesday's Specials Are Served

If you read our last post about Monday's (which you can find here), you know that we are doing a series on places to find good deals each day of the week on a regular basis. So with that in mind, we now present our post about deals you can find throughout CNY every Tuesday.

Please note: we are trying to use locally owned businesses and everything we could find. If you see something incorrect or missing, feel free to let us know and we will gladly fix it as soon as we possibly can.

Tuesday's Specials

  • As pictured above, select Jreck Subs offer two subs for $9.99 plus tax (please be sure to check with the store and make sure they honor this deal before ordering)
  • Buy any sub, get a free bag of Frito-Lay chips at select Byrne Dairy Stores and free coffee with one of their travel mugs.

  • Kids 10 and under eat for 99 cents with adult entree purchase at The Distillery
  • Kids eat free (drink and dessert included) at Delphia's Restaurant 
  • Kids eat free 5-9 PM with an adult dinner purchase at Borio's 
  • Receive one free kids meal with beverage for each adult meal purchased at Kirby's Grill
  • $1 kids meals with adult purchase of $5.99 or more plus games for the kids at Trappers Pizza Pub
  • $14.95 kid's haircuts at Snip-Its

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Finding Your Way Around Cuse Cheap: Monday Edition

 I started this blog in July (and subsequently the social media accounts months after I was sure I wanted to do this) and in doing so, I started to see that many businesses offered some of the same deals every week based on the day of the week. That means for months now, I have probably shared some of the same deals multiple times when that day approached. Well I had a thought recently and our friends on social media seemed to like it so I am going to save us the trouble and do a post for each day of the week.

I will update it when I find new information and share the posts instead of multiple posts of the same deal you may have seen last week. If you noticed something not listed, let us know and I will add it and credit you as well.

Please note that I am trying to keep these posts to locally owned businesses, though I am sure occasionally I may mistake something because it's familiar to me and consider it local. I will include local chains based in Upstate NY occasionally because some are local staples with great deals or if locally owned and operated.

As you can see by the video, I am starting with everyone's favorite day of the week: Monday! For most, Monday means the end of the weekend and back to the work grind and developing a case of the Mondays and loading up on caffeine. Well for those who may not know, Monday is also a great day for some very affordable deals throughout the CNY/Syracuse area. So here are the deals/specials that you can find on Monday's throughout the area (restaurant names are also links to their website) and as I find more, I will add them or if they are discontinued, delete them when I am sure they no longer apply. HAPPY MONDAY!


  • Buy any lunch or dinner entree & get a second 1/2 price at The Distillery
  • Early Bird Special (2 eggs, toast and home fries) $1.99 5-8 AM 3-5 PM dine in only at The Market Diner
  • 15% off all Mexican food at Fisher Bay Too Go
  • Shrimp Night- 79 cents each for shrimp 3-8 PM at Canal View Cafe
  • $2.99 Kids Menu (10 and under) per adult purchase at Cinderella's Restaurant
  • Kids eat free with purchase of adult entree at Ole Ole
  • $5 House Margaritas & kids eat free (some restrictions may apply) at Papa Gallo's 
  • One free kids meal with beverage (kids 12 and under) for each adult meal purchased at Kirby's Grill

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cuse Cheap Spotlight Special: Toss 'N' Fire Wood-Fired Pizza @tossnfirepizza

If you are like me, you love a good pizza. And if you have attended Taste of Syracuse or local food truck events, you probably already know Toss 'N' Fire Wood-Fired Pizza. But for those who may not be aware of them or their new brick and mortar location in North Syracuse, we thought we would do a Cuse Cheap Spotlight Special and share their info. Plus it's almost that season for enjoying the food trucks so we will also share some of the locations they are scheduled to be at as of this posting.

Let's start this off with their new brick and mortar/building location. Located at 315 North Main Street in North Syracuse, they have a menu filled with appetizers, salads, subs, calzones (which I hear if you like calzones, you need to try soon) and of course their famous wood-fired pizza. You can eat in, order ahead by calling (315) 458-9380 or if you would like delivery, you can find them on Grubhub here. They are closed on Mondays but open 11-9 Tuesday-Thursday, 11-10 on Friday & Saturday and noon to 8 on Sundays.

So how about the specials that are part of the reason we decided to put the spotlight on this local business? Let's start with their 8" personal pizzas (three of which are pictured above) that are available daily 11-3 starting at only $7.

And how about a large cheese or garlic pizza like the one pictured above for only $9.99 plus tax on Tuesdays and Thursdays?

Or maybe you love one of their specialty pizzas on Wednesday for only $13.99 with over 20 different pizzas to choose from including the two pictured above, their Steak N Blue pizza as well as their ever popular 'Cuse Salt Potato, which was a huge hit at the Taste of Syracuse events.

I would also recommend you follow their social media in the event they have other offers for you to choose from and stay current on any events they have planned. To follow them, just click the social media name and it will link you to their pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

So as I mentioned and as you can see pictured above, they also have a food truck (and it's orange which is another reason to love them), which is what made them popular in the Syracuse area. Looking to have your event catered? Clink this link here for more information whether it's a corporate event or maybe to make that graduation party just a bit more special or maybe if you are like me and would rather have a more laid back wedding reception filled with pizza.

You can also find their truck at the following upcoming events:

Va Va Bloom Garden Show & Farmers Market at Dickman Farms Greenhouse in Auburn April 8-9

Good Samaritan Run/Walk at Long Branch Park in Liverpool April 22 at 9 AM

Earth Fest Food Truck Rodeo at Cayuga Museum of History & Art in Auburn April 22 at 2 PM

10th Annual Crawfish Clam Fest in downtown Clinton Square on May 6 at 11am

2nd Annual Syracuse Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival at the Fairgrounds on May 13 noon-6 PM

NYS Blues Festival 25th Anniversary Celebration in downtown Clinton Square on July 7 & 8

If you would like to stay current on other events, you can follow their events page on their website here or if you like to follow and even RSVP on Facebook, you can find their events page here.

Let me end this by giving it a bit of a testimonial. I could copy and print their info but instead let me tell you another reason I decided to write this and share their deals. I am an ordinary guy who loves my pizza probably the same way 80% of Americans do but there is something very cool about the originality Toss 'N' Fire brings to the pizza game. Nick Sanford and his team have done something I thought would never happen, they made me enjoy "gourmet" pizza (for me, anything not your basic, ordinary pizza is gourmet lol). They found the perfect way to embrace your local pizzeria with a more upscale feel as well but without the upscale prices.

They're also not afraid to embrace local products like the salt potato and make it into a pizza we can all love and enjoy. Also, I have never heard a negative word about them from customers I know who visited them and they offer a wide variety from fresher, healthier toppings like the Green Machine or the Little Italy to stuff like the Meatza or the Buffalo Chicken. And don't forget they also have salads, wings, Utica Greens, subs and calzones/stromobolis (one of my personal favorites as well).

So if you are craving pizza whether it's at one of the events scheduled above or you see them at other food truck events or you're near 315 North Main Street in North Syracuse, give Toss 'N' Fire Wood-Fired Pizza a try. You can experience pizza made locally, often using local farm products and with a fresh taste you will love and your wallet will appreciate.