Slice of Life

Orange Crate Brewing Co.’s looming move signals a new era

Wen Xin | Contributing Photographer

The Orange Crate Brewing Co., known as Lucy's by most Syracuse University students, will leave its current location any day now.

On R.C. Faigle’s desk sits a glass jar topped by a Bush’s Homestyle Chili lid, but its contents mean a lot more than one night’s dinner. Inside, a few crumbles of dirt with traces of orange and blue exist just as they did when they were removed from the end zone of Archbold Stadium. Faigle scooped up the sample when his father dropped him onto the field during the complex’s final game in 1978.

He literally owns the roots of Syracuse Athletics. Soon, the owner and operator of The Orange Crate Brewing Co. will be forced to uproot his SU-themed sports bar.

The Orange Crate is living its final days in the location it has called home for decades. Even though the name has changed a few times since opening — one old moniker of Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar still remains in the student body’s vernacular — the space has been a part of Faigle’s life for about as long as the university has. But whenever SEFCU Credit Union closes next door, which Fagle said could be any day now, the bar has 24 hours to do the same for the last time at 721 S. Crouse Ave.

“Every week the bank opens, we’ll still be here,” Faigle said. “Our days are numbered, I know that.”

The memories in the current space are ample. Meeting the kids and celebrations of Final Fours and bowl game victories stick out to Faigle, but it all began with a man giving him an opportunity while he was still in high school.

Jerry Dellas, who currently owns Faegan’s Cafe & Pub and Varsity Pizza with his cousin John Dellas, hired Faigle to help out at Bugsy’s Back Alley Bar before Faigle even arrived at SU to begin college in 1988. He worked through his time on campus, graduating from the restaurant and food management program in what is now the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. After two years in Cincinnati managing a Ruby Tuesday’s, Fagle came back to those same roots and bought the bar in 1995.

After 22 years of ownership, Faigle found out in August that he would have to move Orange Crate. “Heartbroken” at first, he began looking for a new home. Discussions with John and Mary Sue Hanus led to an agreement that will move Orange Crate just a few paces away to the structure that used Bruegger’s Bagels most recently occupied. Dellas, the man who gave him his first shot, was also the first one to offer congratulations on the move.

“I’m proud to be moving there, it’s an excellent spot,” Faigle said. “And I’m proud that I’ll get to continue making lifelong friendships with students and be part of the University.”

The new location offers comparable square footage to what Orange Crate has now, but differs because it’s a freestanding structure that’s only one level. A full kitchen will serve Faigle’s award-winning wings. He said it will be a “legitimate Syracuse University sports bar.”

The Faigle connection to SU doesn’t begin with R.C.’s 1988 enrollment. His grandmother graduated in 1924. His father played on the 1959 football team that won a national championship. The Hall of Languages is actually named for his grandfather, Eric H. Faigle, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He is the 32nd member of his family to attend SU.

“I’ve been embedded in Syracuse University my whole life,” Faigle said.

Faigle said he hopes to have the doors open at Orange Crate’s new home by Aug. 1. He plans to encase the jar that holds the end zone dirt from the long-demolished Archbold Stadium, a reminder of the new era sprouted from a deep foundation

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