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Your Guide To Homecoming: 2011 Edition

Another year, another Homecoming, another guide.

Editor's Note (Same as last year): Syracuse has made a huge effort to re-brand Homecoming "Orange Central". This is unacceptable. It forever should be known as Homecoming, one of the few traditions Syracuse actually has that isn't fake or manufactured and has been going on for years. I don't care that Homecoming doesn't fit neatly into a #hashtag, and I don't think something as simple, pure, and nice as Homecoming needs a makeover. It's Homecoming. And it forever will be known as such here on this blog, and apparently at the Athletic Department as well. And even on the "Orange Central" homepage in pictures too.

Producing a guide to homecoming has become a tradition here at Orange::44. This year will be no exception. Bars and restaurants come and go, but the solid advice on where to eat or drink will remain constant here in this guide. As always, enjoy your time back. It's fleeting, so choose wisely. This guide should help.

Food On The Hill

El Saha – The cheapest pita on Louis Marshall Way. With delicious options to cram in your pita, an entertaining staff, and usually South Park or Family Guy on the television, this is where I usually stop for a Pita, but lately they have been slipping. You might want to go with the always solid Pita Pit.

Pita Pit – For you traditionalists out there, you will probably still want to head to your old favorite. It is slightly more pricy, but they offer a few more toppings, an artsy menu, and everything is amazing with bacon. But really, that is just a good rule for life.

Jimmy John’s – The smells are free, but sadly the subs are not. This sandwich shop is delicious however. Their bread is baked fresh, the staff is bizarre, and now they do not use the till money to buy drugs. I always have a ridiculous conversation with a stranger in here as well. Could be some perfect post-bar entertainment before you head home.

Sliders – A brand new burger joint. The burgers are pretty good, they are made to order, and you can get regular or slider size as well. They have Belgian fries as well, which means they are crispy on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside. I recommend this place if you are hungry for a burger on your nightly journey.

Cosmo’s Pizza – A classic joint that has a greasy diner feel. Their pizza is good, but I would go for any number of other choices they offer. Finish the deal with a THB and a scoop of vanilla.

Varsity Pizza – The best cheese steak on the hill. They also have many other tasty choices, plenty of tables, decent pizza, and if we beat the other team come on down after the game and see the band flip the banner over. Beware, you are on the clock if you eat the pizza.

Faegan’s Pub – For something a little more upscale, this is probably the place you should be. With a multitude of salads, burgers, wraps, and sandwiches you have plenty of options. Also, with over 40 beers on tap, you can find something to go with any meal. Just get there during the day, as they close down the kitchen around niner. More on this later.

Aladdin’s – This place offers several natural and organic choices, for the more health conscious. I’ve only ever eaten here a handful of times but it hasn’t really disappointed me. The desserts are also great here.

Acropolis Pizza – They have subs and the usual fare. Nothing too remarkable. Why go here when you can just go to Cosmo’s though. Upside is that they do serve alcohol.

Insomnia Cookies – Perfect for that late night sweet tooth craving. They have cookies, frozen treats, and other assorted sweets. Not my cup of tea at 2:00am, but feel free as this is a nice place.

Food In Syracuse

Tully’s – Located on Erie Blvd. and in Liverpool this is the ultimate sports bar in Syracuse. With a shit ton of TV’s, excellent food ranging from appetizers to dinners, and the best chicken tenders (Tully’s Tenders) in Syracuse, this will surely cure your hunger, especially if you want to watch a game. Just get there early if you are going on a Sunday.

Spaghetti Warehouse – With a seemingly endless dining room, and a lot of pasta options, this is the place for Italian. The Marsala may cost you, but the bread is free. Especially tasty when dining with friends in the trolley car. Not a bad pick for decent pasta.

Pastabilities – A bit more upscale than the Warehouse, it is a favorite of many folks on the hill. While not my favorite, there are plenty of tasty options on the menu, and it is conveniently located near all of your favorite downtown bars.

Empire Brewing Company – A small underground restaurant that has a small but somewhat fancy menu. They brew their own beer and can pair it with any meal you choose which is also very nice. Try the burgers, or if you are feeling frugal the Chicken Po’ Boy. A little pricy, but fairly worth it.

Syracuse Suds – This bar also makes their own beer and has an extensive sports bar type menu. The appetizers are very good here and they serve some great steaks as well. Finish it off with some homemade root beer.

Zebb’s – Way out in Mattydale just off I-81, it is a hidden gem. I feel like not many SU kids know about this one. It has a diner feel, with most standard American fare. They have a “Build Your Own Burger Bar”, you can get shots of vanilla, cherry, or chocolate flavor in your cola, and they have the definitive appetizer menu in the Syracuse area. In the mood for alcohol? Try the mojito. I don’t think it’s a gay drink. Moooooo-heeeeeeeee-tooooooooo. Also, if you are allergic to nuts, stay away from the cookies. Bastards.

Alto Cinco – Located on Wescott Street, this places offers good, authentic Mexican food. There is usually a hell of a wait, but you can make the time pass with margaritas and Coronas at the bar. Truth be told I’ve never eaten here, but everyone raves that I should have included this on the list years ago, so here you all go.

Dinosaur BBQ – The most famous of all the Syracuse eateries. Without a doubt, the best BBQ you can get in all of Upstate New York. Syracuse is the original location and also the most colorful. Enjoy the “Big Ass Pork Plate” or sample the two best meals with a House Special of a quarter rack of ribs and a quarter chicken. The sides are also especially delicious and if salt potatoes are on the specials it is a must.

Bars On The Hill

Chuck’s – What could best be described as a hole in the wall. Graffiti covers the walls, but the pitchers flow well here. During Friday Happy Hour pitchers are $3/5, and while they do not have an impressive menu, their fries do the trick. This bar gets awfully crowded with bitchy undergrads wearing pink shirts and popped collars. If that is your thing then this is your bar. Also, current and former basketball players like to hang out here, so maybe you could celebrity spot as well.

Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar – Make my day and e-mail me if you actually go to this bar. How is this place still open?

Darwin’s Pub – RIP.

Faegan’s Pub – The gold standard in Marshall Street Bars. With over 40 beers on tap and bartenders that are skilled in the craft of making drinks and shots, this is where most alumni end up. While there are not many specials on Friday, it is vastly less crowded and a much better atmosphere than Chuck’s. Say hi to Guy for me and tell him Mr. Harrison sent you.

Harry's – This bar has a small place in my heart, as my father's cousin was Harry. However, he long sold the bar before I got to the hill so no free drinks for me. This bar is ideal for MNF watching and eating wings. However, you will not be in town on Monday. Not a bad option for a bar choice though. It is solid with decent food and probably not a big crowd.

The Sheraton Hotel – While I would not stay here all night, they do have free wings and pizza for a couple hours starting at five. If you are a broke alumni with a lot of debt, maybe you should start out here.

Bars In Armory Square

Mully’s – This Irish bar is undistinguishable in every way. They have booze and you don’t. Who’s more Irish?

PJ’s Pub and Grille– It will forever be known as PJ Dorsey's to me. This is a fun little bar with room, dancing, and a favorite of mine as I spent my 21st birthday there. Nothing too remarkable about it, but again, they have drinks and you want some. This could be a really fun place.

The Blue Tusk – This is the most expensive place downtown, but it could be worth it if you enjoy rare brews and an upscale atmosphere. A LOT of beers on tap. Also, the back room is the perfect place to sit down, enjoy the company of friends, and some fine ales.

Bar – This is an upscale place with a dress code and loud music. It is also very dark. Perfect for being sketchy if you are into that sort of thing. The bartenders know what they are doing, so you’ll be good to go. This would not be my first choice though.

Syracuse Suds – This bar is also a micro-brewery. Nowhere else in Syracuse can you get a root beer keg. A lot of older people come here so it will not get out of hand, but it is a nice, chill place to drink some beers and they have a very solid food selection.

Empire Brewing Company – This is also a quite place to enjoy some freshly brewed local beers. This is like an Irish pub, but instead of Guinness try the Blueberry Wheat.

Kitty Hoynes – This is a pretty authentic Irish pub and as such as a really great fairly authentic food menu if you are craving some things made with Guinness. They have some great beers on tap as well. Highly recommended if you want a great chill pub experience.

Daisy Dukes / Vinyl – This is a “cowboy” bar and a dance club on the back. It can be fun on occasion and a lot of hot girls like to get crazy here which is a plus. They also have a mechanical bull there for that added level of white trash. Then you can get sketchy in the back dancing the night away. Not my true cup of tea, but a lot of people enjoy this place and it is fun to slum it once in a while.

There are plenty of other restaurants and bars I am forgetting about, but really, this is the guide. If it is not on this list, you either should not waste your time or you already know about it because it is not that popular but you like it anyway. Both cases are fine.

Now is some advice to carry you through the weekend that I always give:

•It is important to remember that no matter how drunk you get, you do not live off campus anymore. Try not to show up to a former residence and try to break in just because you used to live there.

•This one is for the younger kids; Homecoming is too short for you to deal with drama and people trying to make you feel like crap. Avoid people that you would have a problem with and just hang out with people you enjoy.

•Tailgating is an art. Respect it and it will respect you.

•If you hate Nancy Cantor like my friends do, enjoy a nice pee on Nancy’s $6 million wall. It is the world’s most expensive outdoor urinal.

•Enjoy the sights and sounds of your old campus, but avoid public safety. They still have guns.

•Enjoy some beers on the quad. It is private property after all. Just don’t sneak into Maxwell Hall to shotgun some beers like you did back in the day.

•Bring two pairs of shoes. You never know if your buddy will pee in them.

Everything above is just solid advice. Feel free to ignore it, but you may come to regret it.

For any other non-drinking/official Syracuse events, check out the official Homecoming schedule right here.

Syracuse will take on South Florida at 8:00pm in the Carrier Dome. While tailgating will only be had by the truly dedicated as it should be snowing, you can still enjoy some debauchery before heading into a full and very orange Carrier Dome. Be sure to enjoy your time if you are making the trip back, enjoy the game win or lose, and as GO ORANGE!

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