Food

Everybody’s Got A Hungry Heart

Dining suggestions for hungry daters.

kieferpix | iStock photo

There are advantages to Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year. If your favorite restaurant is closed on Feb. 14, you have an excuse — and plenty of time — to pull together the makings for a nice, romantic meal at home.

You also have Friday, Feb. 12, and Saturday, Feb. 13, as fallbacks —  if you get smart and make a reservation NOW — as well as the option of Sunday breakfast or brunch if dinner out isn’t possible.

You might be able to get away with putting off a romantic restaurant rendezvous until Dining Weeks in downtown Syracuse begins. You’ll probably even save some money. The event begins Monday, Feb. 15, and continues through Feb. 29.

How important is Valentine’s Day in the realm of restaurants? It’s a big deal. The National Restaurant Association estimates that approximately one-quarter of us will opt to dine out on Valentine’s Day, making it the second most popular holiday for dining out after Mother’s Day.

When it comes to where to dine, the NRA says most people (42 percent) will choose their favorite restaurant or their companion’s favorite restaurant for the special meal. Twenty-one percent base their choice on romantic atmosphere, followed by restaurants that offer special menus or promotions (13 percent), restaurants selected by their companion (12 percent) and restaurants they haven’t been to before (11 percent).

Valentine’s Day is enough of a draw that some restaurants that are normally closed on Sundays will be open — and humming. Prime Steakhouse, in the Gridley Building on Hanover Square, will be open 4 to 10 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, offering both its regular menu and Valentine’s specials, including some appetizers, entrees and desserts for two, says owner Danny Klamm.

Reservations will not be accepted; seatings are on a first-come, first-serve basis. The specials are likely to be offered on Friday and Saturday as well, Klamm adds, and reservations are being accepted for those nights. “We’re starting to get booked already,’’ he said last week. Call 299-8047 or visit syrprime.com.

Baldwinsville’s Mohegan Manor, located in a historic building in the heart of the village at 58 Oswego St., is noted for elegant dining options on multiple levels, with everything from pasta to steaks to sushi. It has a weekend full of romantic dining and music to match on the agenda, including a dinner show with singer Nancy Kelly on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (no cover; reservations suggested) and a Valentine’s Day dinner show from 4 to 7 p.m. with entertainers Joey Nigro and John Nilsen (reservations required). Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch will also be served as usual. Call 857-0079 or visit moheganmanor.com.

LoFo Pops Up in Marcellus: LoFo (love food, local focus) is closed for renovations at its Armory Square digs at 214 Walton St., with a planned reopening in the spring. But you can get your LoFo fix with a 7 p.m. dinner on Saturday during the restaurant’s first “pop up” event at Baltimore Woods Nature Center, 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus.

Chef Luke Szabo will prepare a five-course feast with wine pairings, inspired by “the greatest love stories of our time.’’ Check out the menu and order tickets at eventbrite.com.

Tickets are also available at the front desk during regular hours. Any remaining tickets will be available Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Winter Farmers Market at Baltimore Woods.

Wine and Pizza at Owera: Cazenovia’s Owera Vineyards celebrates Valentine’s weekend with extended hours, wine flights and some food specials, like heart-shaped pizzas from the wood oven. First come, first serve. Hours are Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 815-4311 or visit oweravineyards.com.  

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at eatfirst.typepad.com. Follow her on Twitter, connect on Facebook or email her at mmccormicksnt@gmail.com.

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