Do a Google Images search for “iconic” and you see images that have been seared into our memories. Einstein sticking out his tongue. Audrey Hepburn with a cigarette holder. Che Guevara. Marilyn Monroe over the subway grate. Young Elvis. The National Geographic photo of the Afghani girl.

We didn’t necessarily ask why these are iconic or tell Google that we wanted iconic photos or photos of icons. It’s a snapshot in time of what the Google algorithm equated to the term.

ICONIC-SYRACUSE-250What if we were to talk about things that were Iconic Syracuse? First, you would find all of the billboards related to the Iconic Syracuse campaign that was part of Syracuse University’s Connective Corridor project. You would see a bunch of images related to Syracuse University basketball. But, you know what you wouldn’t find? Food.

Syracuse is an amazing food area. Biases aside, I don’t think you will find a city of this size with so many culinary influences. Take all of the interpretations of Italian food you can find locally from family restaurants like Angotti’s to high-end options like Asti and Francesca’s to concepts like the Northern Italian restaurant proposed by my fellow Liverpool H.S. classmate Eric Rose. And bordering the city’s Little Italy district? Three different Vietnamese restaurants, including the best banh mi in town at Ky Duyen, and a Pan-African restaurant. This is an area with a rich and proud food culture that extends beyond a salt potato.

Over the next few weeks, that’s precisely what we will explore here at Al Dente. The Iconic Syracuse series will focus on foods, drinks, stores, sweets and people that have made this town a first-rate destination for food.

Featured image: Salt beds of Syracuse, N.Y.: Birthplace of the Salt Potato (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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