Set to open in January, the food hall aims to expose the city of Syracuse to various cuisines.
Story by: MALLORY STOKKER
Photos By: NICK FIORELLI
Published: Originally posted on thenewshouse.com October 16, 2020
Every culture has a famous food item or cuisine style, and Adam Sudmann, the founder and manager of The Salt City Market is helping young restaurant entrepreneurs gain the expertise and vision to create delicious meals as well as business intel and the opportunity to start their own restaurant. Their mission? To help ambitious business professionals and aspiring chefs share their passions and cultivate community.
“These are individuals that have a dream. With that in mind, we’ve got to provide a fair amount of infrastructure,” said Sudmann, “There’s a lot of details and niceties that are specific to this location, to Syracuse palates, to the Syracuse marketplace, the regulatory bodies, all these things that you have to know.”
The market, according to the mock-ups and digital renderings, will resemble a modern indoor market with a stylish modern food court area. Its goal is to give business owners an opportunity to gain visibility and increase their customer base.
Sleyrow Mason, one of the market’s vendors, said, “I’ve been a sous chef, I’ve been a kitchen manager, I’ve been a line cook and I’ve always had a dream to open my own restaurant.” Mason is the head of Soulutions, which offers Southern cuisine such as St. Louis-style ribs, fried chicken, and spicy mac n’ cheese.
“The exposure that my food will get through the market will be phenomenal,” he said.
The market is planning on hosting many events for the community — including after-school programs, live music, and many more surprises to come!
Because of NY state COVID-19 restrictions, the market and its vendors were forced to adapt to this new reality. The grand opening, originally set for November 2020, has been pushed back to January 2021. In addition to delaying the opening, the market will also be operating under additional precautions. They will limit the number of customers allowed inside and enforce social distancing.
However, this setback has not stopped vendors from being hopeful about the venture.
“The advantage here is that this didn’t happen three months after the market opened. It happened before, “ said Abigail Henson, who is the founder of Farm Girl Juicery, a vendor at the market. Henson is also collaborating with fellow vendor Lindsey Jakubowski, the owner of Catalpa Flower Farm.
“We have the complete opportunity to figure out what the channels of distribution could be, [and] figure out different, innovative ways to approach this,” Henson said. “As long as we create opportunities for people to still connect with us in a safe way, I don’t think it should completely debilitate us.”
Despite the disappointment of delays and COVID restrictions, vendors at the market have found activities in the meantime to help keep them engaged with the community. In July, members offered curbside pickup so they could safely serve their food.
“I liked the turnout that I had, I liked the response to my food. It shows that the product I’m offering, people actually want and enjoy it,” Mason said. “It was a learning experience because I got hands-on training.”
Safe, socially-distanced events will continue in the future to help generate excitement for the market before its official grand opening.
“In November and December, we’re going to start another curbside takeout series, operating out of With Love Restaurant on North Salina Street,” said Sara Tong-Ngork, the chef and owner of Firecracker Thai Kitchen. “It’ll be really nice to have engaged with the community one last time before we actually open in the market.”
Creating a sense of community through various cultures and their foods, is the ultimate purpose of the market, according to Sudmann.
“[Something] here that we really focus on is building a common space or crossroads,” said Sudmann. “We don’t cross paths a lot. It very much robs everyone of really interesting exchanges, interesting pockets of culture that are otherwise not on offer, they’re hidden away behind closed doors.”
When the Salt City Market opens next year, assuming there are no more delays, those doors will be wide open.