Any serious maven of off-the-beaten-track food owes a big debt--probably too seldom acknowledged--to the folks over at Chowhound. They find and discuss the great ethnic holes-in-the-wall before almost anyone else... in fact, that was the first place I ever posted any restaurant info on the internet. Of course, I soon left when Jim Leff's rather draconian unwritten "house rules" became apparent (I had several of my posts deleted for no other apparent reason than that I had the temerity to--extremely politely--disagree with him) and found greener pastures at eGullet. But in recent years the focus there has been trending more and more to high-end restaurants, so... here I am.
But I digress... Chowhound remains an incredible source of useful information--for the itinerant eater especially. So when my gig in Syracuse came up, that was the first place I checked. A couple of posters there mentioned a small, family-run place that served great homemade Ukrainian food called Welcome Inn. I immediately thought it sounded like my kind of place, and it was.
My only regret is that I was only able to get there for one meal. Although I wanted to try, oh, EVERYTHING on the menu, that was impossible and I was forced to choose. Somehow, I finally settled on pyrohy (pierogies) and, since the owner calls himself "Pitmaster Big Papa John", a smoked pork butt sandwich. The pyrohy were perfect--the best I have had in years. And after some decidedly mediocre barbecue at the original Dinosaur the evening before, I was hoping for something better... I was not disappointed. I'm in love with the bar, too--comfortable, homey, and a wide selection of Polish and Ukrainian beers.
The kitchen hours are somewhat limited: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday (I had the impression these hours are somewhat changeable--probably best to call ahead).
From the high quality of the pyrohy, I believe I can infer great things about the kiełbasa (made and smoked in-house, of course) and the holubchi (stuffed cabbage). Oh, well--something to look forward to my next trip!
501 Tully St., Syracuse, NY 13204