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The LaFayette Inn

“A true hidden gem. Amazing fresh fish and beef sandwiches.”

“We can’t wait to come back to try new flavors of the wings!!”

“Good food!! Huge clam strips and yummy fried pickles. The homemade fries were nice and crisp … We will be back!”

What more can a casual dining restaurant, tucked away in a friendly little Central New York town in the heart of apple country want than reviews like that?

Proprietor Dave LaBeff didn’t attend chef school; he didn’t dream of owning and operating the perfect dining spot in the ideal location on the shores of a picturesque lake.

Instead, he walked into the business over 35 years ago, having first gone to Florida as a young man. He returned to Central New York to open the Black Horse Inn – a small pub in Camillus. When, just a few years later, the location that would become The Lafayette Inn became available, he decided to give it a try.

“Maybe my interest developed because of my mom,” LaBeff says. “She worked in the food industry for many years – as the food manager for many schools in the area. Watching her taught me a lot.”

LaBeff concluded that to make it work you have to be dedicated – and you have to be hands-on.

Something special about The Lafayette Inn, listening to LaBeff talk about it, is Lafayette itself. “It’s a great small town,” he says. “Everybody will pitch in if someone needs something. It’s a very involved community. Every year at Christmas people will pick a family in need and fill the space under their tree. It’s that kind of town. And it’s only 8 miles from downtown Syracuse.”

Part of the charm of the location is just that – you’re minutes from the city, but with the feel of a friendly small town. He says it’s a mixed community of blue collar, professional commuters, young singles, growing families, and older people – just like his clientele. Because his customers are varied, he tries to create a menu to match. The Inn offers the expected, and much loved, pub offerings of burgers, steak sandwiches, salads, and fried haddock on Fridays. But while Monday nights are dedicated to a value menu with 6 for $3 wings, $1.50 burgers and beer buckets, there are daily specials, and weekends offer delicacies that sound absolutely gourmet: stuffed pork loin with maple mashed potato, or Chesapeake Bay haddock topped with lobster. Check the Inn’s Facebook page for daily specials, including 4-6 daily Happy Hours.

The menu varies with the season, but LaBeff agrees that like the location itself, the food is “comfort food.”

The Inn caters to softball teams in the season, and hosts smaller gatherings, like birthday parties, anniversaries, rehearsal dinners, and post-reception gatherings. The restaurant can accommodate 70-100 people depending on seating requirements. They don’t do large off-site catering, but do offer their delicious and very popular wraps for parties. “We’ll package up 35, 40 wraps to go to a business event, or small party,” says LaBeff.

Take-out is another staple of the business. On any given night, many customers will stop in to take out their popular fish dinners, hot turkey sandwiches, and their famous hand-cut fries. “People really love those,” says LaBeff.

The Inn is constantly adapting to the changing tastes and preferences of the clientele. “The younger people like more of the finger foods, and craft beers,” says LaBeff, “and our longer-time business enjoys the heartier foods and the relaxed, casual atmosphere.

“We’re not a corporate restaurant,” he adds. “We’re your neighborhood restaurant – good, home-made food, a friendly place, and our goal is to treat everyone well. It’s a great little place. We enjoy serving you.”

 

The Lafayette Inn

2419 US-11, LaFayette, New York

https://www.facebook.com/TheLafayetteInn

Hours: Monday – Saturday 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM; Sunday – Closed

Kitchen Closes at 9pm

Jamie Wallace