Daniella's Steakhouse, a Syracuse and State Fair institution, has won the bid to operate the Fairgrounds' Empire Room restaurant. The restaurant will open in time to host a private banquet during the Syracuse Nationals next week and will operate with a limited bistro menu during the Fair as it ramps up to year-round operation as a catering and events facility. The facility, which includes the outdoor patio, will be renamed Daniella's Events and Catering Steakhouse.
"We are excited to partner with Daniella's to help the Empire Room achieve its full potential as a contributor to our year-round business on the Fairgrounds. Daniella's is an experienced and highly regarded restaurant and catering business. We have full confidence in owner Charlie Roman and his team and are already hard at work to transform the building," said Troy Waffner, Fair Director.
"We have a great brand with excellent name recognition and the building is going to get a clean and fresh look. We believe these things will help us attract new business, not only for weddings and banquets, but for clambakes, patio parties and smaller events as we work to make this a 12-month facility," said Charlie Roman, owner of Daniella's Steakhouse.
Under the five-year agreement with the Fair, Daniella's will pay a percentage of annual gross sales to the Fair. For year one, the rate is three percent of gross sales, increasing to five percent for years two through four and to eight percent in the final year. Daniella's will spend more than $100,000 to install kitchen equipment in the building, which has no permanent cooking appliances, in addition to investing in marketing for the facility. As part of the bid, the Fair will invest $250,000 to help renovate the building. Improvements are already underway to update the look of the banquet hall before a full renovation begins. Two companies responded to the Fair's request for proposals seeking a new operator of the restaurant.
Daniella's will continue to operate its stand on the western end of the Fairgrounds.
Founded in 1841, the Great New York State Fair is America's third largest state fair. The Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture, provides top-quality entertainment and is a key piece of Governor Cuomo's CNY Rising strategy of growing the Central New York economy through tourism. Fair attendance is up more than 40% since the beginning of more than $120 million in investments, with 1.27 million people attending the Fair in 2018. The 2019 Fair runs from August 21 to September 2. Information about the Fair can be found here.
The New York State Fairgrounds is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available here. Find the Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair on Flickr. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at [email protected].