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Restaurant Raves: Empire Brewing Co.

Posted Feb 09 2011 9:00am

by Maya Kosoff, blogger

Blogger Maya Kosoff will be reporting on the diverse restaurant scene in Syracuse; check out her posts each week to plan your weekend date!

A meal for two for less than $30, prepared almost entirely with vegetables and herbs from a Cazenovia-based garden? It sounds too good to be true, until you visit the posh underground Empire Brewing Company.

In a restaurant where everything (even the astounding selection of beer and the live entertainment) is locally produced, the name of the game is transparency—literally. When you sit down to eat, you can see through the windows separating the restaurant to the copper brewing equipment Empire uses to produce its own beer. You can also see the chefs in the kitchen, preparing your food literally in front of your eyes.

Innovation is in no short supply at Empire. Starting with the appetizer menu, Empire boasts a diverse array of food, including blue corn bread with maple butter, baba ghanoush, and “sweet fire,” which is andouille sausage roasted with brown sugar & molasses.

The exposed brick walls and close proximity of the tables in the restaurant give it a cozy, yet not uncomfortable, feel. The wait staff is accommodating, friendly and knowledgeable. Quite possibly partially due to its bar, the clientele is rarely anything other than talkative and affable.

The fare at Empire can best be described as American. They have an extensive burger menu, large plates (including steak, southern fried chicken, chimichangas, and jambalaya), and sandwiches (including a new twist on a classic: a grilled meatloaf BLT, which includes locally ground beef, sausage and bacon, with melted cheddar cheese and chipotle mayo).

While you may have to wait an agonizing 45 minutes for a table, Empire is a great restaurant to try on the weekend with a few of your friends, or even for a date. With a menu including gluten-free and vegetarian options, and a rotating list of daily specials, there’s a little something for everyone at Empire Brewing Company.

Empire Brewing Company is located at 120 Walton Street in Armory Square; .

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