Valentine Suggestions For Hungry Hearts

There’s eats for all kinds of sweethearts this Valentine’s Day.

Vince Lombardi of Vince's Gourmet Imports. Michael Davis photo

Valentine’s Day brings to mind chocolate, flowers and cozy tables for two at candlelit restaurants. But romance means different things to different people, and not everyone has deep pockets for an expensive bouquet and/or evening out.

More than anything, Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 is a day to celebrate love. It falls on a Tuesday this year, so you may want to mark the occasion on the weekend before or after the actual date. A foodie game plan should reflect what the love of your life loves most, be it a perfectly cooked burger, breakfast at a diner or a gourmet feast. Here are some ideas.

For the barbecue lover: The owners of Auburn’s Prison City Pub and Brewery opened a barbecue restaurant and taproom last summer, The Copper Pig, 10 E. Genesee St., that’s getting positive word of mouth. You’ll find the usual offerings of pulled pork, brisket, ribs and chicken, a slew of house-made sauces and sides, and specialty items like Dixie Pie, a melange of pulled pork, collard greens and macaroni and cheese. Call 370-5003 or visit



For the pizza lover: Apizza Regionale, 260 W. Genesee St., isn’t your ordinary pizza place. The restaurant stars pizza, as well as sandwiches and pasta, made with local and regional ingredients: Farmer Ground Flour from Trumansburg, for example, and mozzarella, ricotta and sausage made in-house daily. Save room for the olive oil cake, with whipped mascarpone cheese and apple butter. Call 802-2607 or visit

For the breakfast lover: Eleven Waters at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, 500 S. Warren St., is a Finger Lakes bistro with an emphasis on regionally sourced ingredients. It’s also an elegant place to start the day. Begin with a cup of Cafe Kubal coffee and peruse the menu. The Syracuse Skillet, with Gianelli sausage, Utica greens, mozzarella and Romano cheeses, scrambled eggs and hash browns, sounds like a winner. There’s also a breakfast buffet. Call 554-3541 or visit

For the love of cooking: Learn a new skill at Vince’s Gourmet Imports, 440 S. Main St., North Syracuse. Classes are small (about 12 people), hands on and include food — eat what you learn to cook. Classes cover basic pasta making, more expert pasta making (like ravioli and cavatelli) and sweets (like cannoli). A class in March covers pizza making: Nick Sanford of Toss ‘n’ Fire Pizza, North Syracuse, will share how to make perfect pizza dough. Call 452-1000 or visit


Tasty selections at Attilio’s. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

For the adventurous diner: Red Olive, 324 Burnet Ave., is a restaurant in the Hawley-Green neighborhood that shines the light on Middle Eastern and South Asian (Indian) food. That means you’ll find things like falafel (fried chickpea patties), lamb kabobs, chicken and beef shawarma, tandoori chicken and curries. Call 802-4037 or visit

For the lover of New York beer: State Craft Tap House, 9461 Brewerton Road in Brewerton, features dozens of New York state craft beers on tap and casual bites that pair well with beer, such as wings, pizza and appetizers. Can’t decide what to drink? Order a beer flight. And don’t forget to bring a growler (or two) for a fill. Call 676-0311 or visit

For the lover of local history and fine food: Valentine’s Day will be celebrated a few days earlier on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the historic Barnes Hiscock Mansion, 930 James St. Chef Dick Benedetto’s four-course menu includes appetizers, salad, a choice of four entrees and dessert, plus a complimentary glass of champagne. A portion of the proceeds support the preservation of the mansion. The price is $135 per couple, and includes tax and tip. Reservations must be made by Monday, Feb. 6. Call 422-2445 or visit

For the lover of cheese and Finger Lakes wine: Cheesy-good food samples plus sample-size pours of wine plus beautiful views of Y-shaped Keuka Lake equals Wine and Cheese Lovers Getaway, an event offered by the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. Seven wineries (four on the west side of the lake and three on the east side) are participating. The getaway takes place Saturday, Feb. 18, and Sunday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 for the weekend, and $19 for Sunday only. Discounted rates are available for designated drivers. Call (800) 440-4898 or visit

For the lover of a bargain: Local Flavor offers discounted dining deals at a bunch of Central New York restaurants, including Attilio’s in Syracuse; Mohegan Manor, Baldwinsville; Barado’s Cafe, Brewerton; Toss ‘n’ Fire Wood Fired Pizza, North Syracuse; Sake Bomb, Cicero; Ole Ole, Mattydale; and many others. Read the fine print for terms of use and expiration dates. Visit

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at Follow her on Twitter, connect on Facebook or email to [email protected].

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