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."