Empire Room

The Empire Room at the New York State Fairgrounds. 

The New York State Fair will turn to a familiar vendor to run its Empire Room dining facility. 

Fair Director Troy Waffner said this week that Daniella's Steakhouse, a Syracuse-based restaurant, has been awarded a five-year contract for the year-round operation of the Empire Room. 

The fair issued a request for proposals and received two responses, according to a news release. 

The fair will invest $250,000 to renovate the Empire Room, which will be renamed the Daniella's Events and Catering Steakhouse. There will be some improvements made to the banquet hall before more extensive renovations commence after this year's fair. 

Daniella's, which operates a restaurant on the west end of the fairgrounds, will invest more than $100,000 to install kitchen equipment in the building and to market the facility. 

Waffner noted that Daniella's will move an off-site catering operation into the space. 

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"I think it will be a shining new light for the Empire Room and breathe new life into that facility," Waffner said. 

The agreement will require Daniella's to pay 3% of its annual gross sales to the fair during its first year of operation. Beginning in the second year through the fourth year, it will increase to 5% of gross sales that must be paid to the fair. In the final year of the contract, Daniella's must pay 8% of gross sales to the fair. 

The restaurant will host a private banquet during the Syracuse Nationals, which begins next week at the fairgrounds. During the fair, the restaurant will have a limited bistro menu. 

But the main focus is to make it a year-round facility. Once the renovations are finished, the goal is to host weddings, banquets and other events. 

"We have a great brand with excellent name recognition and the building is going to get a clean and fresh look," said Charlie Roman, owner of Daniella's Steakhouse. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.