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Fridays Best Bets

Friday's Best Bet: Taste of Syracuse Published: Friday, June 03, 2011, By Don Cazentre / The Post-Standard The David Lassman/The Post-Standard, 2010 Taste of Syracuse takes place in downtown Syracuse around Clinton Square. Crowds came out to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of last year’s event. Munch, nosh, sip and savor at Taste of Syracuse. Italian specialties, barbecue, Latin American dishes, Asian flavors and more are available Friday and Saturday at the annual Taste of Syracuse, which brings more than 40 restaurants and food vendors to Clinton Square. Sample a little (every booth offers a $1 taste) or a lot (most also offer half or whole portions for $2 to $10.) And all the music — including Saturday night headliner Gregg Allman — is free. THE DETAILS WHAT: Taste of Syracuse WHEN: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. WHERE: In and around Clinton Square. COST: Admission is free. Small “tastes” at each restaurant or food stand are available for $1; other menu items may cost $2 to $10 per portion. View PDFClick to view large printable version » More events in Central New York » Read more about this year's Taste of Syracuse

Dining Week Behind the Scenes with Byblos

Byblos is located across the street from the Post Standard and around the corner from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Fady Khabbaz, Owner of Byblos Mediterranean Café
Native of  Syracuse

On Byblos’ origins

Byblos is the Greek name of the ancient Phoenician city Gebal in what is now Lebanon. It is believed by many to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. My father is from Beirut and my mother is from Zahle. They moved from Lebanon to Australia, where I was born, before moving to Syracuse. My parents are the chefs at Byblos. My background is in marketing and research, so I spent a year researching before we opened.

We looked at the Syracuse area and found that there wasn’t a restaurant in the area serving authentic Lebanese food. We wanted to appeal to a diverse group in Syracuse. We find a large part of our customer base is people who are seeking healthy, fresh food, as well as authentic food.

On how the menu at Byblos was created


Some might call it a restaurant boom in the city of Syracuse.

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Some might call it a restaurant boom in the city of Syracuse. By the end of next month, the city will have nearly a dozen new restaurants on its dining roster.

Some opened their doors several months ago, while others are getting ready to greet diners in the coming week. 

The restaurant boom may surprise some after a lull in development in the city, prompted by the recession. People were unable to spend like they once did on eating out.

As the economy seems to be turning around, restaurateurs are responding. They believe downtown has the potential to be a great market for new eateries because of the number of people who work there, the number of students in the area, and the growing number of people who are moving to apartments in the heart of the city.

David Mankiewicz, the Executive Director for the Downtown Committee said, "Everywhere where housing is opening on the upper floors you have new businesses on the ground floor. They follow where people live." Mankiewicz says it’s a great trend for the city, considering the new housing built within the past few years. "Now the places are filling in with new restaurants and hopefully new retail."

The type of food served at each new restaurant varies from Asian to Mexican and all are owned and operated by people living in the area. 

The Downtown Committee is savoring this trend and sees it as good news for the local economy.

The following information is from the Downtown Committee's website. 

Byblos Mediterranean Café (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

• 223 N. Clinton St.
• Phone: 478-3333
• Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 7 pm, occasional Saturdays for special events (call ahead)
• Website: http://byblossyr.com
• Opened: April 26, 2010

Owner Fady Khabbaz is proud of his Lebanese roots, and he emphasizes that Byblos is the first and only genuine Lebanese restaurant in Syracuse. His parents, Violette and Philip Khabbaz, take charge in the kitchen with home-country recipes, assuring that the cooking methods, spice blends, and tastes are authentic. Khabbaz emphasizes the distinctive difference in his fare from other Middle Eastern food available locally. "Our customers can tell that the ingredients are fresh, homemade and authentic." Popular among the made-to-order menu items are the Beef, Chicken, and Kafta Kabobs; Falafels; Baba Ghanuj (eggplant dip); Grape Leaves, and Tabbouleh Salad. To finish off the meal, Byblo's offers Baklava and fine Turkish Coffee. One diner's accolade, "You have a five-star eatery at a one-star price." Khabbaz purchased the building at 223 N. Clinton Street nearly two years ago, then began drafting his business plan for the restaurant and the renovations to the apartment on second floor. A New York State Main Street Grant though the Downtown Committee supported the project. He admits it has been hard but rewarding work. "We knew what we wanted to do and we knew we had a good product. The response has exceeded our expectations."

Italians call it dining “al fresco” — out in the open, under sunlight or starlight, in the fresh air.

Gary Walts / The Post-StandardThe Edgewater Grill, 2 Oswego St., Baldwinsville, NY. 

Italians call it dining “al fresco” — out in the open, under sunlight or starlight, in the fresh air.



 In Central New York, it’s something we have to wait for. But when that warmer weather finally hits, you can count on folks grabbing every available outside seat.

   Here’s a look at some of the outdoor dining opportunities around Central New York — and you’ll notice being near the water helps, but isn’t essential:

  1) Borio’s Restaurant, 8891 McDonnells Parkway, Cicero: An outstanding view of Oneida Lake rewards those who sit outside — but if you have to, the views are pretty good 
  through the dining room windows, too. Seafood, prime rib, etc., plus live bands on the patio.

  2) The Cascade Grill, 2846 Route 38, Moravia. Billed as Owasco Lake’s only waterfront restaurant, the Cascade has three decks open during the season, overlooking the lake’s
      southwest corner. There’s also dock space for boats. Casual dining, with steaks, seafood and local produce.

  3) 1820 House, 1715 E. Lake Road, Borodino. The deck offers a truly stunning view of Skaneateles Lake. Specials include Lobster Bisque, Veal & Lobster Picatta, and Scallops 
  Diablo.

  4) The Retreat, 302 Vine St., Liverpool. When the weather turns warm, the outdoor patio with its own tiki-flavored back bar starts rocking. The lines are long, but the party is 
  happening. And the menu has a little of everything.

  5) The Brewster Inn, 6 Ledyard Ave. (Route 20), Cazenovia. The outdoor patio leads to the lawn, which leads down to Cazenovia Lake. Enjoy the fine dining and the extensive wine
  list — one of Central New York’s best.

  6) Byblos Restaurant, 233 N. Clinton St., Syracuse. A new Lebanese eatery near Clinton Square, with 24 seats outside during good weather. Or just take your food to go and head
  to  the square.

  7) Rudy’s Lakeside, 78 County Route 89, Oswego. There are lakes and then there are lakes, and Rudy’s offers tables alongside Central New York’s greatest: Lake Ontario. Enjoy the fish fry and the special Texas Hot Sauce.

  8) Alliance Bank Stadium: What says summer more than a hot dog at the old ballpark? Nothing.

  9) Armory Square: From the porches at PJ’s Pub & Grill and Empire Brewing Co. overlooking Walton Street; to the street-level seating outside The Blue Tusk and Clark’s Ale
   House; to the charming brick-lined courtyard at Pastabilities, there are plenty of fresh air options in Syracuse’s hottest nightlife district.
 
  10) Baldwinsville: A river runs through it (the Seneca River), and that provides the attraction for outdoor seating at the Edgewater Grill and the Lock 24 Restaurant. Then there’s  
  Mohegan Manor, which has a large porch out back, overlooking a garden with a fountain. 




Food & Drink Editor Don Cazentre can be reached at 470-2297 or by e-mail at dcazentre@syracuse.com. Find Food & Drink updates at www.syracuse.com/food.

What's In Store: Lebanese restaurant now open

Last Update: 4/30 6:23 pm What's In Store 4-30-10
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Downtown Syracuse's first Lebanese Restaurant, Byblos, is now open just north of Clinton Square. 
Owner Fady Khabbaz says the first few days of the new venture have been busy. Byblos is open for breakfast, lunch, and a dinner, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
The name Byblos comes from an ancient port city in Lebanon. 
Want to know what's in store in your neighborhood? Call us at (315) 446-9900, or e-mail us at yourstories@9wsyr.com.