Sam Mondello Jr. operates a family grocery of his own where he peddles fine Italian imports. The cozy neighborhood spot is a treasure trove of treats, with glass display cases packed with specialty meats and cheeses, produce coolers full of housemade sauces, and shelves loaded with espresso makers and Italian ceramics. The shop offers a sweeping variety of pastas made from premium ingredients, such as fettuccine made from whole wheat and rotini made from melted-down ancient Roman coins.
Sam and his staff extend their culinary expertise to preparing a wide variety of premade meals, whipping up Italian-style subs in the deli and freezing freshly made trays of lasagna and pizza. The skilled chefs provide hot Italian specialties to cater a wide-variety of special events, from large office functions to intimate football-game gatherings.
For three generations, Westvale Fish Cove has cast a tasty take-out menu of fried-fish favorites and netted a raw menu of freshly caught delicacies for take-home filleting, frying, and flambéing. Westvale's chefs churn out a homemade clam chowder ($2.99–$4.99) Wednesday–Saturday, prepping gill-less palettes for a fried-fish sandwich ($4.99) or a heartier fried-fish dinner that comes with a choice of two sides such as macaroni salad or baked beans ($9.25). Take home lobster tail that guards tender meat made succulent from the crustacean's time spent swinging from one underwater tree limb to the next. Raw sea scallops ($14.99/lb.) and jumbo colossal shrimp ($11.99/lb.) treat tummies to bite-size, oxymoronic morsels of sea-faring heaven.
Founded over 95 years ago, Hercules Candy Company daringly rescues distressed dessert-cravers with their handcrafted chocolates, ribbon candy, brittles, barks, and assortment of other classic confections. In the joyful tumult of the holiday season, these gentle giants flex their candy-making muscles with an array of wintery and Christmas-themed treats. Tree trimming becomes a tasty task with eight flavors of handmade candy canes ($0.85 each); chocolate spoons complete with mini-marshmallows ($1.75) are stirred directly into frothing mugs of hot milk or used as an advantage in a spoon fight; and stockings are stuffed with a gingerbread pop ($2) or solid chocolate Santa ($2.50–$13.99). Chocolate covered potato chips are individually hand-dipped in milk chocolate or both milk and white chocolate for the truly duplicitous secret agent (both $17.99 per pound). Devoted to maintaining their personal, hands-on approach to candy, Hercules Candy roasts nuts on the premises for sweets like their homemade peanut brittle ($11 per pound) and hand-dips chocolate in a variety of molds such as flowers, sports gear, vehicles, and life-sized presidents.
Liehs & Steigerwald has been handcrafting sausages and meats in Syracuse since 1936, when its German-immigrant founders first began sharing their traditional recipes and culinary methods. Current owner Chuck Madonna, who began working at the shop at age 15, and co-owner Jeff Steigerwald now run an expanded operation that keeps butchery simple. Butchers custom-cut top-grade meats on request, grind chuck fresh several times a day, and craft sausages of all sorts, from traditional kielbasa to specialty cheddar and chicken-wing bratwurst.
Savory sausages reside in all-natural casings, free of additives and fillers, and acquire a smoky flavor and a husky timbre in an old-fashioned smokehouse. At-home delivery service ferries the shop’s meats directly to customers’ abodes, though some specialties, such as corned beef, take a little extra time to prepare. Profiled by the Post-Standard, the Irish-American staple takes three weeks to perfect, and Liehs & Steigerwald’s butchers carefully marinate the corned beef in brine, spices, and fresh four-leaf clovers, creating succulent slices that require no extra seasoning before cooking.
Shortly after Cherian Abraham moved to the United States from his Indian homeland, he opened the small video store that would blossom into Kashmir Groceries and Imports, a vibrant crossroads of South Asian sundries. Cherian’s son and the store’s present owner, Bijo, continues his father’s tradition of supplying local households with imported South Asian fare, Bollywood video rentals, and other knickknacks seized from Marco Polo’s suitcase at customs. Heavy sacks of basmati rice, cans of pickles and chutney, and rows of exotic spices line the grocer's shelves alongside fresh produce and certified halal meats. Phone cards keep loved ones up-to-date on juicy gossip and local monsoon reports, and a DVD-conversion service digitizes the essences of Indian cinema for at-home enjoyment.