Our approach to community revitalization is diverse, strategic, and multi-faceted. We’re a young organization with a small staff of passionate and vibrant personalities who are excited to talk about what we do and why we do it. For a while now we’ve been working on a document that harnesses that energy and explains our comprehensive approach to “radically improving the quality of life on the Northside.” Below is what we’ve come up with! Questions? Comments? Send an email to email@example.com.
The students of Newhouse School’s Web Journalism & Innovation class are steadily producing audio clips, photographs, and more to tell the stories of our UP Start Syracuse entrepreneurs. Below is a photograph and audio recording collected by Marwa Eltagour for her project that will tell the story of Hari Bangaley Adhikari and his business idea, the Bhutan House Restaurant. In soft tones, Hari describes the brutality he endured in Bhutan and his dream to make Syracuse the city for ”food of the world.”
To try the “tasty and interesting” food of Bhutan, stop by the Franklin Elementary School Auditorium this Saturday for the Bhutanese Community Day celebration, which will include a chow mein dish prepared by Hari. He will also provide two dishes for the Cooperative Federal Annual Meeting and Dinner: aloo dum (a potato dish) and khir (similar to a rice pudding). For additional updates on Hari’s progress with the Bhutan House Restaurant, subscribe to his email list here.
Editor’s Note: We’ve asked Adam Sudmann, creator of the My Lucky Tummy pop-up food court, to write guest articles for us on a monthly basis. All of his posts are organized under the “My Lucky Tummy” Category. You can learn about his effort at myluckytummy.com.
A year ago we moved from Brooklyn up to Syracuse. One week after the big move, clothes still in boxes, we held the first My Lucky Tummy party. Guests got a beautiful, surprising meal cooked by home chefs mostly from the Northside – which is to say, from Bhutan, Burma, Cuba, Eritrea, Iraq & Poland. It was a hit. (Though we still have a lot of unpacked boxes.)
Since that initial pop up, My Lucky Tummy has grown: We now count 17 countries on our talent roster. And our last party, in early February, got over 400 attendees. Home cooking from all over the world has its fans!
In mulling over a blog series for Northside UP, 3 big themes came to mind: in ascending order, smells, tastes & stories. I’m gonna start here with the lesser (though still powerful) of the 3, smell.
And let’s nix smell and instead say aromatics. What we’re talking about here is more rarefied, more satisfying than mere smells.
I adore aromatics. Maybe it’s being a new dad. I often take my daughter on shopping excursions on the Northside. Her first instinct is to yank stuff off shelves or grab a fish swimming around the styrofoam coolers. But here’s a good redirect – & a fun activity for little noses: on a sunny day, take your toddler to Aphone (826 Butternut), Laos Market (317 Butternut) & Afro-Caribbean (740 N Salina). Have her take a whiff of things in the reach-in fridges: smoked chicken, kaffir lime leaf & a slender-leaved, pretty herb that I can’t figure out the English name of, but smells like the happy marriage of tarragon and super strong mint.
The 3 Bhutanese-Nepali shops in the neighborhood also have killer aromatics – but you’d never know it. It’s all dried spices, sealed up tight (good for freshness, bad for the olfactory adventurer). Ah, but get invited into a Bhutanese home & you’ve got it made. Follow your nose to the spice caddy (though that might be redundant, as any regular cook will have permanently flavored the air with mustard seed, black salt, toasted sesame, cumin & multiple varieties of chili.)
And then there was Saw Soe’s place last night. I went over to talk thokes. (Thoke is a Burmese salad, often minced or chiffonaded, its ingredients always combined at the last possible moment.) He’s gonna make one for the next party, in April.
But that was just talk. The action last night revolved around the very best and very worst whiffs I’ve had since starting this whole experiment. Eel, glorious eel. Fresh, not frozen. There was a flurry of activity in the kitchen between him and his niece, Lulu, so I lost track of the ingredients in play. I was trying to discuss thokes when it hit me: the steam pluming off the saucepan was the best smell in the world. I peeked in at an orangey-red eel-chili-ginger-etc gravy & discovered heaven.
And then he took it all away. ‘Do you like to smell something very bad?’ he asks. What do I say? No? I can’t say no. So he reaches into the freezer for a frozen olive green brick. Ngapi (pronounced nah-PEE). Fermented fish paste. Oh my.
He sloughs off a corner, gives it a quick nuke and hands me a tiny bowl of ngapi and a big bowl of rice. Aromatic? Please. Stink? Not even close. It hurts. Even Lulu acknowledges it smells worse than durian. Worse than a giant, stinking fruit that’s regularly banned in hotels & flights in a half dozen countries? Yup, worse. But a teaspoon drizzled over rice is addictive. It’s like the salting & slow ferment unlocked some new, undiscovered flavor hitherto hidden deep beneath the ocean.
Ngapi: terrible first date food. But if you’re in a committed relationship – & your partner’s got a sophisticated, hard-to-impress palate – skip the chocolate next Valentine’s & surprise em with a little box of this green, complex, killer condiment….
Northeast Hawley Development Association (NEHDA)and Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County are teaming up to bring a workshop to the Northside that teaches the community how to eat healthy on a small budget. The workshop is called, “Stretch Your Food Dollars” and helps families plan ahead to save both time and money while shopping for healthy foods. The workshop is free, but you must register in advance by calling NEHDA at 425-1032 or emailing Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Demolition work started last week on Butternut Street, marking the beginning of the Butternut Commons project. Congratulations to developer, Giovanni LaFace, who is rebuilding the blocks between North McBride and North Townsend Streets to include both retail and residential components, including a pharmacy, a Thai restaurant, a coffee shop, and four townhouses. We’re happy to play a small part in this and look forward to seeing the project take shape!
One of our Northside restaurants was honored during the Winterfest’s Wing Walk. Louie’s Family Restaurant on North State Street placed third for best wings this past Sunday. Owned by the Parolin family, Louie’s wings are made by their son, Matt, and delicious on their own or accompanied by pizza. Stop in during happy hour (4:00 PM – 7:00 PM) to get special prices on bar items, including the wings!
Over 40 people joined us at Open Hand Theater last Friday for the Northside Networking Event. Stakeholders from our community met and mingled with peers and elected officials among the giant puppets and marionettes that decorate the Puppet Museum and enjoyed the elegant spread of finger foods provided by Cathy’s Corner Cafe. Open Hand’s Artistic Director, Geoff Navias, gave a brief speech and showed a short video about the International Art and Puppet Festival that will take place on the Northside this fall. Networking events like this continue to be a successful way for business and property owners to connect and share their visions for the future of our neighborhood.
This spring, the Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) will be looking for both Young Adult (ages 19-25) and Youth (ages 15-18) Crew members to work on various projects in green infrastructure, urban forestry and community outreach. Applications are accepted at any time, and interviews will begin in March.
For specific information about the different positions, visit OEC’s jobs page here. Click the flyer below to enlarge.
Editor’s Note: Joe Russo is a “Nortsider”, a retired teacher, and an aspiring writer. We’ve asked him to share his stories of the past and offer his perspective on the present and future of our neighborhood. His posts will appear each month under the category, “Old Times on the Northside”.
The Northside has always been a walking neighborhood. We walked to school, to church, to the grocery store and the shoe repair shop. Even when the whole family was going to dinner we walked to one of the nice neighborhood restaurants. A favorite for family and friends was the original Danzer’s, located on the corner of East Division and Park Streets. If there ever was a good time bar and restaurant in our neighborhood, it was Danzer’s.
The sandwiches at Danzer’s were huge before huge became a popular adjective. Jim Defio remembers one sandwich being large enough to feed two adults and four kids. It’s my understanding when the restaurant first opened in 1946 the sandwich was 65 cents and it came with Cole Slaw and a very large pickle. When I discovered Danzer’s, a huge Corned Beef sandwich was 90 cents but still a bargain.
Ludwig Danzer emigrated from Bavaria to the United States in 1926. He opened his restaurant here in Syracuse in 1946 and moved to the Park Street location in 1950. Whenever I mention Danzer’s to the old time Northsiders they always smile, and share a story. My uncle Harold Seib remembers the authentic German dishes like sauerbraten and the pork with sauerkraut but his favorite was the pork and onion on rye sandwich. And for an extra nickel you got a 16 ounce beer in a beautiful ceramic mug. How could you not enjoy a meal like that?
Ludwig tended bar with style. His son Louie became a bartender when he turned 18. The Danzers dressed in classic bartender style with the white apron folded and wrapped around the waist. They knew how to pour a draft beer with a frothy head. Lowenbrau, the lions brew, imported from Germany was the most popular beer on tap. Joey Nigro reminded me of a special German beer that was a real treat. The Berliner Wiesse was a sour wheat beer that we poured in a special way into a pool of raspberry syrup resting in a special glass. It went very well with potato pancakes.
We lived on Mary Street just a couple blocks from Danzer’s. I remember on Friday nights my father picking up a fried fish dinner for the whole family on his way home from work. He always talked about who he ran into at Danzer’s. Sometimes it was an old school buddy or a distant relative and the lively conversations and the frothy Lowenbrau drafts were a good way to wind down after a running a lathe at New Process Gear for 8 hours. The place was always packed and it was a long wait to get a fish dinner to go. But Danzer’s was the kind of place you didn’t mind waiting for a while. If fact some guys may have said, “no rush on this order…I’m really enjoying this beer”. Another nickel well spent.
My father was reluctant to take me with him to pick up our weekly fish dinners. I suppose he enjoyed the time spent with the good fellas from the neighborhood. And a 7 or 8 year old kid was not a good fella, not yet. As time passed my persistent pestering paid off and dad took me along on one condition. I had to realize he couldn’t take me every week but I could come along every once in a while. We walked down Mary Street, took a right at Park Street and walked one block to the Cozy Retreat where we crossed over to Danzer’s. When we walked in the Park Street door I remember the collective loudness of the conversations happening all at once and the blue haze of heavy cigarette and cigar smoke. My Dad said we were lucky to find two empty bar stools on a Friday night. He boosted me up to sit on the stool while laughing and talking to some friends. It took a while for Louie Danzer to make it to our end of the bar and press his belly against the wooden lip of the bar top. “Armand, what’ll it be?” “A draft” my Dad responded. “Who’s this guy?” inquired Danzer. “This is my son, Joey. It’s his first time sitting at the bar.” “Joey! Joey Russo what’ll it be? “, exclaimed Danzer. Without hesitation I said, “A draft!” Everyone within earshot burst into laughter, especially Louie. My father jumped in quickly to say. “Oh no Joey, you’re not having a draft.” I looked at him with childish disappointment knowing I stepped over the line. “But” sounding hopeful he said, “You can have a beer, a Root Beer.” “That’s soda!” I replied. “Yeah, but it’s still a beer”, added Danzer. So I sat at the bar with beautiful mug of cold delicious Root Beer soaking up the sounds, sampling fish bits, listening to the stories and feeling like one of the guys, one of the good fellas from the neighborhood.