Slice of Life

Syracuse has Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, but these restaurants rep the cities sending off Final Four teams

Lucy Naland | Presentation Director

Gonzaga University
Clinkerdagger
621 Mallon St.
Spokane, WA 99201

Hailing from moderately sized Spokane, Washington, the Gonzaga University Zags may not have Syracuse’s Pastabilities, but they do have and steak and seafood.

The historic Clinkerdagger is a surf and turf restaurant with history. Opened in 1974, during the World’s Fair Expo in the Old Flour Mill – which had operated until 1970 before it was converted into shops and restaurants – the Clinkerdagger is a Spokane staple.

“People have memories here, since we’ve been open for 43 years. They have that history with us,” Debi Moon, the general manager, said. “They can come back and sit at that same table.”

They’ve had customers come for their proms and then for their wedding anniversaries. People continue to come back.

“One of the things that Clinkerdagger’s has is consistency in our food,” Moon said. “If you’ve had prime rib here 10 years ago, and you crave that same thing, we want it to be consistent.”

The restaurant also has a view of the Spokane River from their 20-table deck. Moon states their most popular items are the slow roasted prime rib which they serve every day, and their seasonal fish. For desert, their Burnt Cream comes with fresh berries and whipped cream.

University of Oregon
Newman’s Fish Company
1545 Willamette St
Eugene, OR 97401

There might be plenty of fish in the sea, but Newman’s Fish Company and Market has been riding the wave in Eugene, Oregon, since 1890 as a staple for fresh and locally sourced seafood in the area. It is one of the oldest businesses in the city.

Getting to Newman’s is quite the interesting ride—literally.

“About 15 to 20 years ago, we made a walk-up, drive up, bike-up fish and chips hall on the side of the building with lovely seating area,” Mary Lou Shuler, a cheese department manager at Newman’s said, adding that she was “another worker at Newman’s since we’re all the same here.”

Currently, the store sells cod, halibut, salmon, shrimp, coconut shrimp, scallops and a changing daily special, each served with two sauces and all the fish and chips options range between $7 and $12. Besides the fish and chips option, the restaurant also serves salads, fish tacos and evergreen sides like fries, coleslaw and clam chowder.

Located five blocks away from the University of Oregon, Newman’s has a steady stream of regulars, many of them students.

“We see them every day,” Shuler said. “They are our major clientele.”

Saying that it’s a very team-oriented city, Shuler said being in the Final Four is “very exciting.” The game could only be good for business since Newman’s is packed with regulars — students and lovers of seafood alike all the time.

Said Schuler: “There’s not a day that’s not busy unless the wind is blowin’ and the snow is flyin’.”

University of South Carolina
Pawleys Front Porch
827 Harden St
Columbia, SC 29205

March Madness engulfed Syracuse last year. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams made the Final Four. This year, the same could be said for Columbia, South Carolina. The University of South Carolina is sending both of its teams to college basketball’s most coveted destination, and Pawleys Front Porch, a popular burger joint just off the USC campus, is feeling the effects.

Pawleys has seen an increase in business thanks to the success of the Gamecocks on the hardwood. General Manager Kayla Patanian said she’s noticed an uptick in the amount of college students — as well as families — coming in for a bite to eat. But why Pawleys?

“We grind our own beef in-house, and we are known for having gourmet style burgers with crazy toppings on them,” Patanian said.

Crazy, sure. But crazy-delicious could be more accurate. The beef is mixed with a secret blend of special spices and then hand-shaped into eight-ounce patties. The cheeses go beyond American, cheddar and Swiss. The buns don’t stop at average — Pawleys offers Ciabatta, Brioche or Pretzel, among others. And the toppings … oh my.

Take the “Caw Caw Creek” burger, for example. They top the patty with jalapeño pimento cheese, bread and butter pickled green tomato, applewood smoked bacon and grilled onions. Or, the “Sullivan’s,” packing in grilled pineapple, guacamole, citrus jalapeño mayonnaise and pepper jack cheese. Sign us up.

Menu items like these exotic burgers is what brought plenty of accolades to Pawleys. In 2016, Columbia newspaper The State awarded the restaurant Best Burger. Another news outlet, the Free Times, gave Pawley’s Mobile Eats the nod for Best Food Truck in 2014.

But, for those of us not from South Carolina, get this: Celebrity chef Guy Fieri came to Pawleys for a 2010 episode of his Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Now that’s madness.

University of North Carolina
Crook’s Corner
610 W Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Rachel Crook ran a fish market toward the end of the 1940s, but after she was murdered in 1951 at the intersection of West Franklin Street and Merritt Mill Road, people subsequently coined her spot the “crook’s corner.”

Now, there stands a Southern food restaurant with the name Crook’s Corner in homage to her and the unsolved murder. The restaurant can be easily spotted by the bubblegum pink pig that adorns the top of the restaurant signage. It has been preserved there since before the restaurant opened.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and offers a Sunday brunch. Located just walking distance from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it is a favorite among students.

“You’ll see a whole table of a fraternity or sorority come in, you’ll see a lot of professors, but they’ll definitely come in when their parents are in town,” Kathryn Walton, a Crook’s Corner spokesperson said.

Crook’s Corner is celebrating its 35th anniversary this March. The restaurant works with local gardeners and seasonal foods, offering customers the southern taste cooked with French technique. While the menu changes based on what is in season their classic shrimp and grits remains a favorite year-round.

Crook’s Corner was the first to offer the dish in a fine restaurant setting, it is also the birthplace of honeysuckle sorbet and makes “the best banana pudding in the world.”
The majority of employees have worked at the restaurant for at least a decade, said Walton, including herself in the count.

“There are a lot of really good restaurants, but I guess this is the one that it feels like it can only exist in Chapel Hill,” Walton said.

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