Phoenix Sports Restaurant
If you’re looking for a great place to eat and be entertained, take the 20-minute drive from downtown Syracuse and check out the Phoenix Sports Restaurant. The best kept secret in central New York.
She then introduced me to Mike Lattimore Jr., owner and chef at the restaurant. Megan, the girl who greeted me, then made sure to greet each customer and made thanked them as they left whether, or not, she waited on them.
While sitting with Mike and learning how he and his Dad, Mike Lattimore Sr., started the restaurant six years ago, a little girl came up. It was Mike’s 3 year old daughter. He then pointed to his other daughter who was 10 sitting at the counter enjoying some pizza. Mike instantly said, “I’m comfortable bringing the girls here because we are very family oriented. They wait for my wife to finish her shift, and have fun while waiting.”
When I asked about what their primary focus was, both Mike and his Dad stated that it’s all about family. And not just their family, but every family in the community. “We’ve created an atmosphere where anyone, any family will feel welcomed and comfortable,” said Mike Sr. When they took the facility over, it was a shell with vending machines. Father and Son Lattimore saw potential, but knew it would take some work. “We feature tracks across the country and some from Canada. It’s a place where you can bet $2 or $2,000, but there’s never any pressure. As a matter of fact, Mike Jr. encourages people to make smaller bets because you can still win a lot of money depending on the odds. You can play the races, but we also show all the other sporting events as well,” said Mike. “And,” piped in Sr. “we’ll even play Sponge Bob for the kids. We do whatever we need to do to entertain everyone.” Again, they showed their commitment of excellence to their customers.
OTB features tracks across the country and some from Canada. It’s a place where you can bet $2 or $2,000, but there’s never any pressure.
I then asked what the biggest challenge was since taking over. Mike Sr. replied, “Well, the toughest part was making sure everyone knew what we were doing with the place. This meant asking patrons to not use expletive language when their horse didn’t come in.” However, Mike Jr. said the customers complied gladly once they realized there would be children in the restaurant. And for those who forget, Mike Sr. gently reminds them that this is a family business that welcomes families.
One of the most unique features offered is a smoking room with state-of-the-art ventilation. Although I’m a non-smoker, I have always felt badly that people had to go outside in bad weather. “This facility has to be approved by both the state and federal government and costs $200,000 to install. Luckily, it was here when we took over” stated Mike Sr. I’m a severe asthmatic and I had no idea there was a designated smoking area because the air quality was pristine when I walked in the door. Had they not told me, I would never have known the smoking room was there.
The Lattimore’s are totally committed to their community as well. “We’ll do a fundraiser for anyone,” said Mike Jr. “We live here and that keeps us in touch with the needs of the village and the town, and we’ll do whatever we can to help.” They showed me a fundraiser advertisement that ended last month – a $5.00 ticket gave you a chance to win a trip to Yankee stadium. The trip included airfare and accommodations to the game that features Derek Jeter’s jersey retirement! That’s what makes this place special because they know they won’t make any money on this kind of event, but that doesn’t really matter – it’s what’s best for the community.
The menu the the Phoenix Sports Restaurant offers everything from soup to lobster and is open seven days a week from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM. The food is simply delicious!
They also offer a “risk free” fundraiser. For example, if you tell them you’ll have 300 people there, but only a 150 show up, you pay only for those who participated. I’ve never heard of any other place that will allow you to only pay for the lower number of attendees.
“Pile it high and watch them fly” said Mike Sr. “That’s our motto because we won’t let anyone leave here hungry!” he smiled. The menu offers everything from soup to lobster and is open seven days a week from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM. They also offer “All-you-can-eat” specials, but they’re not things that are cheap to make. This menu features sirloin steaks, pork steaks, boneless chicken wings, and spaghetti & meatballs. Wow, I have never seen steaks of any sort or chicken wings on an all you can eat menu that was offered EVERY SINGLE DAY! Now that’s a commitment to offering great food. As if that weren’t enough, they offer coupons on their website too! Go to www.phoenixsportsrestaurant.com to see the menu, get directions and get a coupon! The website is very easy to use and can help place an order for pick-up or delivery. The website also shows a super sub of 18’ long packed with whatever you want.
Since it was getting late and I knew I would cook once I got home, I decided to try the food. I ordered the haddock dinner. As I was looking though the list of sides (you get two with the meal), Mike Sr. told me to try the mac and cheese. “It’s a secret recipe that Mike (Jr.) makes himself.” So, I decided to give it a try. The lovely and personable Megan was my waitress. As a former waitress, I’m very judicious with praise for servers. But, I can tell Megan was exceptional – actually, she was as good as me and I don’t think hardly ever!
When I received the platter, it featured two giant pieces of haddock, a separate bowl of homemade coleslaw, and a huge bowl of mac & cheese. Before I could even ask, Megan brought me a take home box and a bag to carry my leftovers. I have more than enough food for another complete meal! And the quality of food you ask … FANTASTIC! Having owned my own restaurant, I’m very critical of food, but this was simply delicious!
So, if you’re looking for a great place to eat and be entertained, take the 20-minute drive from downtown Syracuse to the best kept secret in central New York. There’s ample parking, ambiance suitable for family dining, exceptional food, and the phenomenal staff that will know your name and food and beverage preferences. Make the short drive to the Phoenix Sports Restaurant.