Attention Local Foodies: Have You Joined the Syracuse Eating Club Yet?
October 20, 2021
Who doesn’t love checking out new places to eat in town? Even more so when it’s with a group of like-minded foodies who are just as eager to try everything on the menu! I know that restaurant hopping is one of my favorite activities… Well, folks in Syracuse are in luck! Alicia Cuadrado founded the Syracuse Eating Club in 2019 and has been hosting amazing events at restaurants across town ever since. If you haven’t been to one, you’re truly missing out!
How did the Syracuse Eating Club get started?
In order to talk about the creation of the Syracuse Eating Club, we have to get to know Alicia Cuadrado, the founder of the club. Alicia is originally from the Syracuse area. After moving to Florida in her childhood, she returned to Central New York during middle school. Like many local folks, she had the misconception that there wasn’t much to do in the area, so she went to Massachusetts for college.
Alicia studied Business Administration at Babson College, specializing in entrepreneurship and strategic management. Since then, she has become a project consultant for a variety of businesses, focusing on both marketing and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). With a multicultural background, Alicia is able to provide a unique and valuable perspective. Her father’s family is from Colombia, while her mother was born in Texas and grew up in New York.
While living near Boston, she became a foodie; always scoping out the best bites to eat in town. After graduating, she returned home to Syracuse, where her newfound passion for food kept growing, and she made a point to find new things to do and new places to eat in the area.
A Fateful Dinner
Determined to do something to combine her entrepreneurial skills and love of food, she went to dinner with her boyfriend and her father to brainstorm ideas. Not long after the dinner, she thought ‘Why not spread the love and invite other foodies in the community to eat out together?’ And in doing so, share her favorite spots and hidden gems on social media. Alicia’s goal was to provide “a service to the community as an infrastructure to meet other people and support local.”
On June 28, 2019, the first Syracuse Eating Club dinner was held at Angry Garlic in Baldwinsville.
Eating Club Events
Since its inception, the eating club has held over 40 events in the Syracuse area. Alicia’s goal has been to hold at least one event a month, growing to 2+ a month going forward. The restaurants they visit cover a wide range, though the focus remains on local businesses. The club enjoys food from every cuisine across the planet, in venues both large and small. The events also vary in style, from sit-down meals with reservations to drop-in as you please.
If you attend an eating club event, you’re in for a treat. Because Alicia goes above and beyond to plan the best dining experiences around town. She works with the restaurant owners to develop special menus and exclusive drinks at her events. For most eating club events, there is a $5 cover charge – though paying club members get that waived!
At the events, attendees are mixed in with random guests (though they can request to sit with friends). It’s a great way for people new to town to meet new people!
Upcoming Eating Club Events
Since there are at least 2 eating club events each month, there is always something happening! Here are just a few of the events you can look forward to:
Sunday, October 24 – Halloween Brunch at Carmelita’s in Cicero. Wednesday, November 10 – Dinner at Kitty Hoynes in downtown Syracuse. Saturday, December 11 – The famous SEC holiday party at Coleman’s on Tipp Hill.
Check out these photos from a Syracuse Eating Club event at Brick-n-Barrel this past summer.
Eating Club Membership Tiers
The club started as a Facebook group, which has now grown to nearly 2,700 members. In the group, Alicia and other members are able to share upcoming events and reviews of their favorite restaurants.
Then came the mailing list. Local foodies can sign up to receive email updates of new events.
Most recently, Alicia has launched paid membership tiers. Folks can officially join the club and be proud to claim they are members! Currently there are four tiers:
FREE – The most basic membership, which is a glamorized way of saying you’re on the mailing list.
$19.99/year – Free entrance for you and a guest at all eating club events + 5% off your holiday party ticket.
$34.99/year – Everything above + an eating club t-shirt.
$69.99/year – Everything above + an Eat Local New York card + a welcome box of local food and merch!
The Future of the Syracuse Eating Club
Alicia has big plans for the future of the Syracuse Eating Club, with hopes to continue growing the Syracuse food scene. First in line? More events at more venues, including intimate gatherings in smaller groups. Soon she will be launching a 55+ chapter, and there are talks of sister chapters in other New York cities. Whatever she’s got planned, we know it’s going to be great!
And since you’re wondering, yes, the eating club has merch! Sport your love for the local foodie scene with your own Syracuse Eating Club hoodie or t-shirt.