Explore ‘the Village Within the City’

Eastwood, a Syracuse neighborhood, has it all

By Margaret McCormick

Mural on the side of the Palace Theatre in Eastwood, designed by artist Dan Bingham.

Eastwood has it all: parks, recreation, restaurants, entertainment, a brewery, used bookstores, an award-winning cheese shop and cheese shop owner, and a plant store that’s a great place to see greenery in the middle of winter.

You could easily spend a half-day or full day in the neighborhood known as “The Village Within the City’’ – especially in Eastwood’s James Street business district, which stretches roughly from Teall Avenue to Thompson Road (in DeWitt). But check out the side streets off James and the Burnet Avenue side of Eastwood, too. The Brooklyn Pickle sandwich shop, for example, an Eastwood staple since 1975, anchors the corner of Burnet and Midler avenues.

The Eastwood Neighborhood Association calls Eastwood “Syracuse’s most walkable neighborhood.’’ You’ll need a walk after an order of pancakes or the famous frittata challenge at Mother’s Cupboard.



Cafe Kubal: The local coffee chain with six locations originated in a tiny storefront in the Eastwood Plaza. It’s still there, serving drip coffee, pourovers, espresso drinks, iced coffees, tea and more, including pastries and cafe fare. It anchors the plaza at 3501 James St.



Cracked Bean Roastery and Cafe: Cracked Bean started out as a specialty coffee roaster before opening a coffee shop and cafe next door to the Eastwood Palace, 2384 James St. You can get your caffeine fix there seven days a week.




Eastwood Brewing Company: Tap into your love for ales, stouts, IPAs, and other craft beers at this nano brewery at 108 Walter Drive, on the back side of the Eastwood Plaza.



Stafford Convenience Store: The compact corner store at 372 Stafford Ave., in a residential pocket of Eastwood, has an impressive selection of craft beers, including local favorites like Middle Ages. Get some snacks while you’re there.




Mother’s Cupboard: Mother’s (3709 James St.) is perhaps the best-known diner in Syracuse, featured on the Food Network for its six-pound frittata challenge. Take the challenge, if you dare, or dig into the more manageable half-order (or an omelet of breakfast sandwich).



OIP (Original Italian Pizza): Char-grilled chicken wings, New York-style pizza, sausage rolls, stromboli, calzones, subs, salads – this place has your cravings covered. OIP has seven locations in the Syracuse area, including 3509 James St. (Eastwood Plaza).



Goodies Mediterranean Grill and Cuisine: You might know Goodies from the Central New York Regional Market in Syracuse. The Eastwood location (3605 James St.) is mainly takeout, but you can order at the counter and dine on-site if you like. Specialties include stuffed grape leaves, hummus, falafel, spanakopita, gyros, Lebanese lentil soup with spinach and “fresh never frozen” burgers.



Curd Nerd owner Sarah Simiele.

The Curd Nerd: If your sweet dreams are made of cheese, you’ll want to visit The Curd Nerd, 2800 James St. (at South Collingwood). Owner and cheesemonger Sarah Simiele, who earned top honors at the 2023 Cheesemonger Invitational, has created a cheese-centric shop that includes national, international, regional and local cheeses, as well as cheeses made without dairy.



Sinbad: Sinbad (2727 James St.) is a Middle Eastern restaurant noted for both its food and the hospitality of owner and chef Assad Almajid. Start with stuffed grape leaves or hummus and build on your meal with a falafel sandwich or bowl of fatteh, which consists of spiced shredded lamb, yogurt, chickpeas, toasted pine nuts and pita bread. Desserts include Almajid’s signature “stretchy” ice cream (rolled ice cream coated with pistachios and sliced).



KrunchBird at Chadwick’s Sports Bar and Grill: It’s always a plus when a sports bar has winning bar food. Chadwick’s (2529 James St.) is also home to KrunchBird, a ghost kitchen serving fried chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, chicken wings with housemade blue cheese dressing, Royal burgers (named for chef Steve Samuels’ son), steak sandwiches and more.




Lee’s Garden: In the mood for Chinese food? Lee’s Garden, a fixture in Eastwood, has you covered. Warm up with some wonton or hot and sour soup. The menu has all the usual offerings: fried rice, lo mein and beef, pork, poultry, seafood and vegetarian dishes.

– 315-437-3638


Kofta Burger: Kofta Burger describes itself as a “new American diner inspired by Middle Eastern flavors.” It’s at the back of Marketplace on James (see below). Owner and chef Jullen Merrill’s menu includes the signature Kofta burger (a spiced beef patty topped with garlic sauce, tomato, parsley, sumac, onion, and white cheddar, on a challah bun), a falafel smash burger, and fatteh nachos (toasted pita chips loaded with shaved flank steak, garlic sauce, pomegranate, mint, tomato, sumac and onion.



Hieros: Hieros (2812 James St.) offers artisan sandwiches you’ll need two hands to eat, as well as an ever-changing selection of craft beers (on tap and in cans). Sandwiches include the BGLT (bacon, Gouda, lettuce and tomato on pressed ciabatta bread) and the Turkey Day, a roasted turkey sandwich with all the trimmings, on toasted focaccia. You’ll also find soups, salads, paninis, wraps, a couple hot subs, nachos, and tacos.



Goal Tenders: The name of this small eatery (2700 James St.) might lead you to think its specialty is chicken tenders. The menu offers tenders – and more: chicken sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, subs, slushies and milkshakes.



Nav’s Popcorn: Crunch and munch as you explore the neighborhood. Pop into Nav’s (2533 James St.) for a package or two of flavored popcorn. The choices include traditional favorites like cheddar and caramel corn, plus imaginative flavors like Eastwood apple, pickle, pumpkin spice, Sour Patch and Fireball.



Luv Handlz: This self-serve frozen yogurt shop (2500 James St.) “serves the city” by donating a portion of proceeds to local charities — round your purchase price up to donate if you like. On the menu are classic yogurt flavors (vanilla, chocolate, twist) and flavors like cheesecake, cinnamon bun and pumpkin pie. Add on toppings at the topping bar and you’re good to go. Or stay a while and check out the game room.



Fifi’s Ice Cream and Sweets: Fifi’s (3021 James St.) is open year-round, though the selection of Perry’s ice cream decreases a bit during the winter months. Enjoy a cone, cup, sundae, milkshake, smoothie, smoothie bowl or frappe. Fifi’s is also known for specialty ice cream cakes.




The Palace Theatre: The 1922 theater (2384 James St.) is an event and entertainment venue and community gathering place that hosts concerts, movies, local talent shows, the Syracuse Film Festival and the classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” among other things. It’s also available for private events.




• Eastwood is home to two used bookstores and they’re within a block of each other on James Street. Books End (2443 James) is Syracuse’s oldest bookstore. It has a new owner, Patrick McGrath, who purchased the store when its longtime owner retired earlier this year. The store specializes in rare, used and out-of-print books. Books and Melodies, at 2600 James St., offers an eclectic selection of books, CDs and vinyl.


Paine Branch Library: The Eastwood community has its own library, at 113 Nichols Ave. Stop in to check out the selection of books, magazines and media and sign up for a library card if you don’t already have one.




Found Things Plant Shop: Found Things started out in a small storefront on James Street but quickly outgrew it and moved to a bigger space at 111 S. Collingwood Ave. The shop is lush and green and features plenty of plant care items, like planters, grow light bulbs, potting soil mix and soil additives.



Bug, Bear & Bean Candles: Shop owner Nikki Eiffe specializes in premium, hand-poured soy candles that fill spaces with fragrance. Scents change with the seasons and this time of year might include cinnamon pinecones, pumpkin spice, warm apple pie and No Place Like Home. Location: 2721 James St.



Marketplace on James: The eclectic gifts shop at 2802 James St., home to multiple small vendors offering vintage and new merchandise (everything from Pyrex to greeting cards to clothing and jewelry) announced in October that it will be closing December 24. There’s still a bit of time to check it out.



Dalton’s American Decorative Arts: Dalton’s is a gallery – a gallery of fine arts and crafts furnishings. Furniture makers represented include Gustav Stickley, L. & J.G. Stickley, Roycroft and other arts and crafts producers. You’ll also find rugs, lighting, pottery and books. It’s at 1931 James St.



The Kia Foundation, Inc.: The Kia Foundation (2546 James St.) is a nonprofit pet thrift store, pet food pantry and small pet rescue organization serving Eastwood and beyond. The store has food, toys, clothing and other accessories for pets, as well as some adoptable pets.



Wegmans: Eastwood considers the store at 4256 James St., near Thompson Road, its neighborhood supermarket, even though it’s technically over the city line. It’s one of the grocery chain’s smaller stores in Central New York, but you’ll still find everything you need – and some things you probably don’t need.




Working Class Tattoo accepts walk-ins every day, according to its website. The studio is at 2641 James St. Eastwood is also home to Vessel Tattoo Co. (3013 James).



(This list is not intended to be comprehensive.)