By Sarah Wright
SYRACUSE — On Monday, April 20, cars wrapped around the block of Main, Harrison and Pearl streets and SR 13 before being shuffled six at a time into the alley alongside Huntington Street Bar & Grill to receive free meals. The business was the latest location in Syracuse to offer them during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Amy Farmer, who manages Huntington Street Bar & Grill with her sister Melissa Sabin, explained several community members had donated funds toward the event, partnering with Huntington Street and volunteers to make it all happen. It was a true team effort.
Amber Brown and her boyfriend Toby donated masks for all the helpers to wear during the event. Taylor White, with Stanz Foodservice of South Bend, stopped by to see how the event was going; he and Stanz Food Service helped ensure Huntington Street got all of the supplies it needed for the giveaway. Meanwhile, Chef Cory Sidel prepared the meals, which consisted of either chili and grilled cheese sandwiches or pulled pork sandwiches and home chips. He was supported by executive chefs Blake Keene, Blake Elick and Kyalin Carpenter. Wait staff and volunteers then organized and served the meals while the Syracuse Police Department managed traffic.
“We have a great staff,” Farmer said of them all coming together.
Serving started about 10 minutes before 4 p.m. with an anticipated 300 meals to be served. That number ballooned reaching 400 by the time the last car to be served traveled through the alley at 4:45 p.m. Chili was the first item to run out, requiring the grilled cheese sandwiches to be served with home chips. By about 4:33 p.m., only pulled pork sandwiches and home chips remained.
The driver of the last car shared that they were so happy they could cry as they were being served, noting they needed some normalcy.
“We served 260 pulled pork sandwiches and 140 grilled cheese sandwiches,” Farmer said as the giveaway concluded. “It just makes you want to do more.”