Weekday top 5: New Auburn food trailer, NY businesses get federal loans, Weedsport fire
The Citizen staff
The Citizen's top five most-read stories of the work week.
Hog n' Dog Grill: Food trailer opens on Auburn's north side
A new food business has opened in Auburn, both giving customers a quick and easy option and giving fellow businesses needed support during COVID-19.
Located at 235 North St., near the intersection with York Street, is the Hog n' Dog Grill. Partners Al Brunner and Amanda Pinckney opened the business about three weeks ago. Its lunchtime menu features simple favorites like hot dogs, sausage, chicken spiedies, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and more, which can be taken to go or eaten under a nearby tented area with several tables.
Brunner said Pinckney, of Buck Tucker's Home Cookin' in Fingerlakes Mall, is the chef. She not only makes everything from scratch, from the entrees to the sauces and the sides, but she also sources locally as much as possible. For instance, Hog n' Dog serves Hofmann hot dogs and Gianelli sausage in rolls from Camerons Bakery, on top of paper products from Donovan-Luksa.
"Opening this business isn't just about giving our community a nice little grab stand for summer fare, but also supporting local businesses," Brunner said.
A food trailer, Hog n' Dog has stayed put at its North Street location since opening. But it will soon be on the move to cater events, Brunner said. The co-owner of A&M Graphics in Auburn, he also owns the property where the trailer sits. Brunner had the idea to open a food business there before the COVID-19 pandemic began, he said. The intersection sees about 12,000 cars a day.
But the pandemic has made quick, easy food even more desirable, he said.
"Takeout is booming because people have nothing else to do," he said. "Everything has kind of slowed down."
Hog n' Dog Grill also makes an effort to serve customers quickly — within five minutes, Brunner said — because many of them are nearby factory workers on their lunch break. And this week, Brunner welcomed the Muzzi's Italian Ice truck to the property, giving customers a refreshing summer option — and another local business to support.
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Good Eats & Sips: New Skaneateles restaurant's menu is portable, picturesque
Good Eats & Sips is even more self-explanatory than it sounds.
The new Skaneateles restaurant, which opened in mid-June at 18 W. Genesee St., offers a menu that's good for your body, your taste buds and even your Instagram page. It includes fruit smoothies, teas and specialty bagel sandwiches, as well as a variety of picturesque bowls filled with grains, greens and noodles.
Marie-Helene Gingras, who owns the business with her husband, chef Don Agate, said they've been looking to open a place of their own for years. They came close to buying a few properties in the area, and considered several different concepts. Good Eats & Sips, then, resulted from the right mix of idea and location.
Being from Montreal, where breakfast restaurants are commonplace, Gingras felt the idea could work in Skaneateles, where they aren't.
She found the perfect location at 18 W. Genesee St. At the time, it was the tasting room of White Birch Vineyards, which she managed. In the heart of the village, its mix of food and vehicle traffic made the idea of a breakfast restaurant feasible, so she and Agate leapt at the chance to take over the location.
But they wanted to open more than just a breakfast restaurant.
"We wanted to capture the breakfast crowd, but we also wanted to offer them options that they wouldn't feel bad about themselves after eating," Gingras said. "Lighter options that are also rewarding, that fill you up but in a way that keeps you moving."
They decided to center the menu around bowls due to their simplicity and portability — and the latter has become all too important during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gingras said. The bowls are prepared by Agate, a Cortland native and chef who's worked at The Krebs, The Springside Inn and more locally, as well as restaurants in New York City, Texas and Montreal. He gives the bowls and other items at Good Eats & Sips a visual appeal, Gingras said, their color and composition remaining photogenic even when the restaurant is overwhelmed by customers.
That aspect of the menu has been played up by CinSyr, a Syracuse-based creative group that worked with Good Eats & Sips on its branding. For instance, every circle in "good" is filled with top-down images of the restaurant's bowls in the logo on its website, goodskan.com. And A&M Graphics, of Auburn, printed the group's artwork for display on the walls.
Gingras said renovating the former tasting room into Good Eats & Sips was a simple process, requiring little more than some painting, the removal of a wine shelf and the installation of a bench. Otherwise, the polygonal archways and other visual details of the former tasting room were "perfect" for the concept of a breakfast restaurant, she continued.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been more of a complication in the restaurant's opening. It was originally planned for Memorial Day weekend, Gingras said. And the state's reopening guidance has limited Good Eats & Sips to 50% of its capacity and required a list of sanitation measures for its staff of 10 to follow. But she and Agate have adapted by removing menu items that weren't as portable as the bowls, as well as creating an easy takeout system that leaves items on a shelf labeled with the letters of the customer's last name.
Despite the pandemic, the response to Good Eats & Sips has been great, Gingras said, and she and Agate are grateful for that. Eventually, she'd like to explore later hours for the 7 a.m.-5 p.m. restaurant. She also hopes to be able to franchise it one day — if she and Agate can make the idea work in more locations.
"I would like to find other villages that need this," she said. "They all have their pizza shops, but they don't have this."
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See which New York state employers received Paycheck Protection Program loans over $150k
Search using keywords such as a company's name or city/town to see businesses in the Cayuga County-area that received money from the Paycheck Protection Program meant to keep Americans employed during the pandemic. The program has been popular but also controversial.
The Paycheck Protection Program is the centerpiece of the federal government’s plan to rescue an economy devastated by shutdowns and uncertainty. The program, which helps smaller businesses stay open and keep Americans employed during the pandemic, has been both popular and controversial.
Demand was so great that a first infusion of $349 billion ran out in just two weeks. Many businesses couldn’t navigate the application process rapidly enough to get one of those first loans before funding dried up. Meanwhile, several hundred companies traded on stock exchanges -- hardly the image of a small business -- received loans maxing out at $10 million each, causing a public backlash and leading dozens to return the money.
And the public may never know the identity of more than 85% of the nearly 5 million beneficiaries to date because the administration has refused to release details on loans under $150,000 -- the vast majority of borrowers. That secrecy spurred an open-records lawsuit by a group of news organizations, including The Associated Press.
Fourth of July fire destroys Weedsport home
A Fourth of July barbecue led to an accidental house fire in Weedsport Saturday evening.
The family residing in the home at 2129 Compton Road was in the garage around 7:30 p.m. when they noticed flames coming from the other side of the house, Weedsport Fire Department Chief David James said.
The fire started with an outdoor grill close to the home's outer shingles, which were made of cedar and dry from the hot weather. James said the flames quickly spread to the second floor and were coming out of the windows when firefighters arrived on the scene.
Multiple departments, including Port Byron, Throop, Jordan and Auburn, worked to extinguish the fire by about 8:30 p.m. There were no injuries, and the family's pets were saved. The structure itself is likely a total loss, however, James said.
Child seriously injured as van hits power pole in Cayuga County town of Conquest
The Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office said that a child suffered serious injuries when the van she was riding in crashed into a power pole in the town of Conquest.
The sheriff's office said that at about 2:16 p.m. Wednesday, a 2014 Chrysler minivan operated by Kathleen S. Liccion, 39, of Auburn, was traveling northbound on Route 38 when it left the roadway and hit a utility pole at the intersection of Marvin Road.
In a Thursday news release, the sheriff's office said that a 12-year-old girl was transported to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse via Mercy Flight helicopter with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Liccion was transported to the same hospital with minor injuries.
Route 38 was closed to traffic between Hard Point Road and Spring Lake Road for more than an hour after the crash as volunteer firefighters, law enforcement officers and ambulance crews assisted the injured pair.
The sheriff's office said that the investigation into the crash was still ongoing Thursday and that anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Josh Blanchard at (315) 253-3902 or leave a tip at cayugacounty.us.
The sheriff's office said that its office was assisted at the scene by New York State Police, Cayuga County 911 Center, Conquest Fire Department, Port Byron Fire Department, Cato Fire Department, Victory Fire Department, Throop Fire Department and Ambulance, AMR Ambulance, Mercy Flight One and the Cayuga County Emergency Management Office.