Sampling Syracuse Food Tours

Sampling Syracuse Food Tours: Eat. Walk. Repeat.

When was the last time you tried something new and exciting? Was it last week?  Last month? Last year? When is the last time you sought to learn something new about your city? If you’re like me, it might have been some time since you sought out this new information.

This is where Kate Gillen comes in. Kate owns and operates a business called, Sampling Syracuse Food Tours.  What is it, exactly?  On most Saturdays, from May to October, Kate leads small groups of people on a two-mile walk around downtown Syracuse, visiting some of the more well-known restaurants and coffee shops in town, such as Pastabilities, Modern Malt Bakeshop, Freedom of Espresso, Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub and Restaurant and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

The tours begin at noon and you can expect to get your fill – plus a light, two-mile walk — while you stop in to sample some of the food and drinks that these restaurants are best known for. 

“I started the food tour business after taking a food tour in Manayunk, PA.  I had such a fun afternoon with friends walking around, learning and eating.  I knew I could bring the concept to Syracuse and show off everything our amazing city has to offer.  Syracuse is the perfect city for a food tour because of its fascinating history and incredible food.  I’m so proud to introduce or re-introduce people to Downtown Syracuse.”  Kate Gillen

I headed downtown for the tour on a recent Saturday. It was a cool morning but the sky was blue as we made our way down Franklin Street to meet up with Kate at our rendezvous point, Kitty Hoynes.

We sat down at a table and were served savory plates of bangers and mash and a Smithwick’s beer sampling. Kate shared the story of the restaurant owner and his journey from Ireland to Syracuse. We also got to know our neighbors on the tour as well as their stories.

Part of the appeal of this tour is not only getting to sample some local fare you may have overlooked but also getting to traverse some of the city, by foot, that we spend so little time paying attention to while we’re caught up in the hustle and minutiae of daily life.

Kate is engaging, cares about the experience of her guests and pays attention to every last detail of the tour. She provides our community with a valuable service that shines the spotlight on the local food and beverage scene downtown – and our city’s culture and rich history.

I could tell you about every stop along the way and every bite of food we ate, but that would take much of the surprise out of it for you when you join Kate on a Sampling Syracuse Food Tour. I will tell you to bring your appetite and save room for dessert.

Go to to book your tour. And tell Kate hello for me!

  • Anthony Christiano