A ribbon cutting at a small restaurant near downtown Syracuse took place Tuesday. The simple business event might also have some cultural and neighborhood resonance.
We've brought you stories about how the Hawley-Green neighborhood is trying to raise its image and profile. A new restaurant opened its doors there today to continue the area's changes. Red Olive brings Middle Eastern and South Asian food to the Syracuse neighborhood. Co-Owner Usman Qadeer, who also works at Upstate Hospital,is trying to cater to a diverse population, here for reasons from medical jobs to refugee resettlement.
"I interact with a lot of different people from many different places. The diversity there, both at Saint Joe’s (hospital) and at Upstate is just, even at Crouse (hospital) as well is just incredible. I noticed there was a lack of this type of cuisine and this type of culture in the area."
Qadeer says Halal cuisine is not widely available…and might appeal to the growing number of Muslims in the city. But he emphasizes the doors …and culture…are open to everyone.
“Not only with the food, but with the environment as well, laying to rest any kind of misinterpreted ideas that have been established in whatever media there is. We want to be friendly; we want to be very open to the community.”
As for the Hawley Green neighborhood...Red Olive is opening in the space that was Sparkytown. Northeast Hawley Development Association President Michael La Flair admits the building sold quickly…and he didn’t know what might be coming. But he’s happy to see it join other development.
“Right now we have to have, I would say, at least six buildings under renovation within the Hawley Green historic district. The district itself is right now in the process of more than doubling in size. Police cameras will be going up within the next couple of months. We just received some donations to put some banners up.”
La Flair says Red Olive fits with the area’s diversity.