Wednesday, April 16, the automobile-themed Quaker Steak & Lube,
3535 Walters Road, Lakeland, will be opening up and dishing out what
owners claim to be the “best chicken wings in the USA” among a menu
chock-full of supercharged entrees.
Decor from all types of motorsports will
adorn the walls in the four distinct rooms that seat an estimated 300.
As you step through the door (equipped with gas-pump handles) and enter
the lobby, a gaze upward will reveal a replica of NASCAR superstar
Rusty Wallace’s Miller Lite car as well as a Formula One Ice Oval sled
hanging from the ceiling. The “Handle Bar” room is motorcycle-oriented
and will be enhanced with the presence of a Ducati motorcycle, as well
as custom bikes built by locals Shane Gatto Custom Creations and former Syracuse New Times cover boy Pat Briggs of County Line Choppers.
Start your engines: Slated for an April 16 opening, Quaker Steak & Lube is bringing the concept of a
destination restaurant to Syracuse; note the gasoline nozzle door
handle. The automotive theme and 18 flavors of chicken wings should
attract gear heads of all ages.
While all the fast-paced paraphernalia
is a rush for the eyes, the food—especially the wings—earns the
proverbial checkered flag. Eighteen flavors of wings run the gamut from
barbecue, parmesan pepper and Asian sesame, to a wing dubbed the
“Atomic,” which requires the consumer to sign a release form before
eating, as they may cause your internal components to seriously
overheat and blow a gasket.
“We decided to pick Syracuse because this is wing country,” says Gary Meszaros,
co-founder of the Quaker Steak franchise. “And we know Syracuse has
many fine restaurants and we intend to live up to the standard of those
like the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.”
Also on the menu are a variety of
appetizers including chipotle barbecue chicken quesadillas and “O-Ring
Ontennas,” which they claim to be no more than an original old onion
ring. A variety of burgers, ribs, entrée salads and steaks are also
prime for the taking for those not in the wing mood. And to finish it
off, take a victory lap around their dessert menu.
“Quaker Steak & Lube was started in
Sharon, Pa., in 1974 in an abandoned gas station,” continues Meszaros.
“Originally, it was a cook-your-own steak restaurant, but people would
get back to their tables and start drinking beers and forget about the
steak on the grill and at that point, we knew we had to get a little
The Syracuse location will be Quaker
Steak’s 27th in 11 states–the first in New York—and all are what they
call “destination restaurants,” meaning there is something more than
food to entice people to travel there. There will be a different
happening each night, such as all-you-can-eat wings on Tuesdays and
bike night on Wednesdays, which they estimate should draw more than
1,000 motorcycles at times. For classic-car nuts, cruise-ins are
planned Thursday nights, giving people who usually frequent the
Regional Market a place to change things up a little bit. And since the
warm weather is seemingly only a forecast away, their substantial patio
will be apt for some hot fun in the summertime, including live bands
Meszaros says their target demographic
is ages “2 to 82,” and that on any given night, motor and sports
enthusiasts, families, couples and seniors will be digging the sights
and sounds. “But the appeal outside of the race cars, vintage cars and
motorcycles,” he continues, “is the food—the very center-of-the-table