10 Reasons Why I Love Salt City Market in Downtown Syracuse
April 28, 2023
When I first heard that Salt City Market was in the works, I was ecstatic. As someone who spent years working in international education and traveling the world, I have a passion for international cuisine. And while there have been some great ethnic spots in town, there was definitely a need for more. With Syracuse being a sanctuary city, it’s only appropriate that some of the refugees’ homelands are represented. And now? Now the market serves as a hangout, co-working space, happy hour bar, event space, and more.
And before you ask – no, this is not a sponsored post. I just genuinely LOVE Salt City Market.
1. There’s a variety of international cuisine that is finally getting the attention it deserves in Syracuse.
If you’ve been in Syracuse for more than an hour, you’ll discover that the city and suburbs are filled with Italian, Irish, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants. Which is great. But there are 197 countries in the world, and we need to represent more of them locally. With the addition of Salt City Market to the local dining scene, several underrepresented cultures have a new voice. The food stalls represent food from Ethiopia, Burma, Iraq, South Korea, Thailand, Jamaica, and more. There are also spots with regional American cuisine, craft beverages, and desserts.
2. With so many options, there is something to please everyone.
If you’re looking for a place to eat in Syracuse – or anywhere, really – with a group of friends or family, it isn’t easy. You have to consider flavor preferences, hunger levels, allergies, and even options for both children and adults. Finding a restaurant that meets all of those needs seems impossible. That is, until you discover Salt City Market. With its cafeteria style, the market is perfect for groups. Each person can wander to their own food stall to get whatever they please.
3. The Syracuse Co-Op Market highlights local, fresh groceries.
Not looking to eat right away? The Syracuse Cooperative Market has opened a second location inside Salt City Market. The small grocery store highlights locally grown and produced foods.
4. The market serves as a new community hub and event space.
It’s not just diverse food that the market brings to Syracuse. The uniquely-designed building serves as a community gathering point for events. Since its opening, the market has hosted World Cup viewing parties, happy hours, weekly trivia and game nights, and several holiday festivities. In the summer, they host a local craft & vendor market monthly on Sundays. In addition to the main eating areas, there is a separate community room for both public and private events.
Looking for a new place to work remotely? A new happy hour spot? A place to grab dinner before a show at the Landmark? Salt City Market is your place.
5. Salt City Market hosts international cooking classes to help Syracusans learn how to cook cuisine from around the world.
Not only can you eat delicious food from around the world, you can also learn how to cook delicious food from around the world. Easily the best thing about eating at Salt City Market is trying food from other countries that you’ve never eaten before. But a very close second is being able to learn how to make that food yourself.
At Pearl’s Test Kitchen within the market, folks can attend international cooking classes and expand their own recipe books. Currently, there is a series of classes about Haudenosaunee foodways. Ethan Tyo is inviting people to learn about the importance of maple, strawberries, and planting in the indigenous cuisine.
6. Together with the Salt City Test Kitchen, the market helps food entrepreneurs realize their restaurant dreams.
The origins of Salt City Market go back to the beloved endeavors of My Lucky Tummy and With Love. Both food ventures centered on providing an ever-changing menu of international cuisine to Syracuse. The goal was always to make it bigger and better, adding more international flavors to the city and providing opportunities for under-represented entrepreneurs to grow. When the Allyn Family Foundation stepped in in 2018, the dream of an international food hall began to become reality. Together with their team and investors, Maarten Jacobs and Adam Sudmann created Salt City Market.
The market provides restaurant entrepreneurs a chance to start small and build their reputations. It’s easy to see that throughout the market stalls, but there’s a lesser-known spot where this happens too – in Salt City Test Kitchen. Located at 435 N. Salina Street, the test kitchen offers the opportunity for local chefs to rent a professional kitchen space. Additionally, they provide services to teach entrepreneurs about health permits, insurance, and other tips to succeed in the restaurant business. Not only has the market helped introduce over a dozen restaurants to Syracuse, they’ve had plenty of successes.
Pie’s The Limit
In July 2022, Fiona Barbour from Pie’s the Limit announced that she’d be closing the space at the market to focus on opening her own brick-and-mortar location. The Broom Closet Coffee + Company plans to open in Fall 2023. In addition to Fiona’s delicious pies, there will be more bakery items and a large selection of coffee drinks.
Expanding on their success at the market, Cake Bar opened a secondary location next to Apizza Regionale. But don’t fear, the market location is here to stay. The new location provides a larger menu and private dining space.
Most recently, Dreamer Glen from Miss Prissy’s announced her plans to open her own location. I’ve made it no secret that I think Dreamer makes the best mac and cheese in Syracuse, and I’m so excited for her future. The plan is to move from her 440-square-foot stall at the market to a 3,000-square-foot space at 431 South Warren Street. The new spot will have a much larger menu with its own seating area and a full bar.
This time it’s the test kitchen that has a success story to share. The recently launched SINBUN has been operating out of the test kitchen since late fall 2022. Using the test kitchen as home base, SINBUN has been strictly serving online preorders for pick up and delivery. With their unique and creative take on cinnamon rolls (one of my absolute favorite treats), their massive rolls have both sweet and savory options. Due to their initial success, SINBUN is now in the search for their own brick-and-mortar location to expand into.
7. It’s not just about the food. The market highlights local artists as well.
If you walk by the Salt City Market at various points throughout the year, you’ll notice beautiful artwork covering the windows for each season. That work is done by Syracuse muralist Ally Walker. She’s also the artist behind the series of murals in Armory Square, the stonework surrounding Clinton Square, and many more pieces around town.
Late last fall, the mural “Everything But The Kitchen” was brought to life by Audra Linsner of Three of Four Design Co. The colorful mural showcases the various cuisines that can be found at the market. Plus, the creation of the mural emphasized what the market does best – bringing people together. On September 24, over 100 people gathered to put their own mark on the mural by assisting Audra in a paint-by-numbers type of project.
8. There’s FREE parking.
This may seem trivial to some, but for us with cars, parking downtown is no easy feat. So the fact that Salt City Market has its own, private parking lot behind the building is a game changer. Even better? It’s FREE for market guests. Yes. Free. The lot is on the smaller side though with just 30 spaces, so plan to arrive early to claim your spot during events.
9. The indoor-outdoor space is located close to major downtown landmarks.
If you plan to spend a day strolling through downtown, Salt City Market is a great location close to many other landmarks. Including THE Landmark. Just a couple blocks aways from Syracuse’s famous theatre, it’s the perfect spot for a pre- or post- show drink. It’s also diagonal to Syracuse’s new downtown bookstore, Parthenon. It’s in a great spot that is walkable to Armory Square, Clinton Square, the War Memorial, and so much more.
Plus, the market takes advantage of its outdoor space with built-in activities for kids, outdoor seating, and fireplaces.
10. Because I do.
Salt City Market emphasizes everything I love. International cultures. Incredible food. Local businesses. Community gathering. Beautiful artwork. And most importantly, passion for Syracuse.