By Gabrielle Reagan
Just around the corner from the Landmark theatre, nestled between a celebrated tattoo shop and store fronts along West Fayette Street, sits an intimate dessert and wine bar now celebrating its second birthday. Don’t panic, there is plenty of cake to go around, and bubbly too.
Sugar & Co. opened in February 2017 in place of former wine bar, Bittersweet. This perfect post work, ladies night or first date locale continues to offer house-made desserts and carefully chosen white, red, and sparkling wines as well as small plates, salads and paninis.
“The concept is relatively the same, but the space is remarkably different,” owner Kristin Andrzejewski explained.
A Liverpool native, Kristin found her way back to the Syracuse area after graduating from Cornell University in Ithaca. She began working at a local credit union but one job left her feeling restless and so through a friend of a friend, Kristin began working at Bittersweet. She started in the kitchen, but in no time she and her partner at the time were pretty much running the place.
“We were there almost every night, so when they decided to close we were pretty shocked,” Kristin said, “we had built so many relationships with regulars and staff.”
With a little help from family, Kristin reopened the doors with a whole new name. Similar concept but with all the tweaks and changes she’d dreamed of incorporating during her time at Bittersweet.
Enter Sugar & Co. and you are immediately immersed in its intimate and cozy atmosphere. While the space is small, there is a surprising amount of seating. Beautiful black tiles line the walls of the bar and depending on the time of year, the decorations create a themed dreamland for approaching holidays or seasons, the perfect pairing to its alternating menu.
“That was the one thing we vowed to do differently than Bittersweet,” Kristin said, “to change our menu four times a year at least.”
The menu, though small, is dynamic featuring eight appetizers, eight desserts, two salads and two paninis. Gluten-free and vegan options available, including a to-die-for vegan six-layer chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and a gluten-free flourless chocolate cake finished with blackberry sauce and fresh berries — though the fan favorite continues to be the cookie dough brownie. Nothing has surpassed it, and the staff even takes bets on new items each menu to see if one will knock it out. So far it’s the clear winner! Dessert specials are available every weekend and homemade macarons with rotating flavors can be purchased daily.
Let’s not forget about the wine! Choose from bubbles and rose, ports and sherry, reds and whites or from four rotating draft lines. To differentiate from most locale eateries, Kristin chose an unlikely but well-informed wine distributor, her uncle.
The list is speckled with classics like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc as well as unique glasses like the lightly citrus Alvarinho from Portugal or the tannic Tempranillo from Spain. The wine menu changes seasonally as well, boasting more whites and bubbles during the hot summer months and heartier reds for those infamous Syracuse winters.
Twice a month Sugar & Co. offer Flight Nights,featuring six unique wines available to sample. Kristin’s uncle and resident wine expert is there to help guests decide which to try, talk all things wine and provide tastes of rare wines, a welcome service before committing to a bottle.
Along with Flight Nights, Kristin has introduced Drag Brunch to the lineup of featured events! For $25 guests get two drinks, breakfast and a show. The most recent show featured contestants from the beloved RuPaul’s Drag Race. Happy Hour is available Monday thru Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. offering $3 drafts, $10 off bottles and $1 off appetizers.
Sugar & Co. is located at 121 West Fayette Street in downtown Syracuse. Open Monday thru Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to midnight and closed on Sundays. For more information check out www.sugarandcosyr.comor call 315.870.3532.