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Western Ranch Motor Inn

Western Ranch Motor Inn After a year of lockdowns and quarantines now is the perfect time to go exploring and try something new! We’ve all seen it driving down the highway on the west side of Syracuse shortly past the fairgrounds, those big red letters that read Motel, or at least, they would if that pesky o would just stay lit! I know I’ve thought to myself “I wonder what that’s all about” and I bet you have too. Well folks I’m here to tell you that below that sign lives one of Syracuse’s hidden gems. It’s called the Western Ranch Motor Inn and it’s unlike any place you’ve ever been, at least in the past several decades anyway! Let me explain. The Western Ranch Motor Inn is absolutely stuck in the past, and they intend to stay that way! The Western Ranch Motor Inn is a blast from the past, the décor is authentically retro and their menu is full of homemade comfort food. I don’t know how exactly they pull it off with this theme but they absolutely do, it’s the perfect mix of warm and inviting and interesting. The Western Ranch Motor Inn is conveniently located at 1255 State Fair Blvd in Syracuse with easy access from the fairgrounds, I-690, and the Thruway.

Whether you are driving past or stepping into the Western Ranch Motor Inn you might find yourself thinking “Man, this sure looks like the set of a movie.” And if you have had that thought, you might just have what it takes to be a movie producer considering some have felt the same way about this location! As of right now, The Western Ranch Motor Inn has been used as the setting for not one but four movies! It was also used for filming a Nike commercial. Not only have famous people come to the Western Ranch Motor Inn to shoot movies, but celebrities have also been known to stay at the motel and enjoy a meal in the restaurant. The star-studded list of patrons has included Jeff Goldblum, Whitney Houston, and the band members of Three Dog Night. Since you are reading this I’m going to let you in on a really cool secret, a fifth movie is scheduled to begin very soon!

In addition to their brushes with fame, I would submit that the food that they serve at the Western Ranch Motor Inn should also be famous. This is because pretty much everything served is made in-house and using only the freshest ingredients available! This last year has brought a lot of changes in every industry and the Western Ranch Motor Inn has also had to change with the times. They have certainly risen to the challenge without sacrificing service or quality. The tables are safely spaced and everything is super clean! Right now their menu changes from day to day to ensure that only the best ingredients are used. It is also cool that these daily menus follow a general theme each week: Wednesday is Cans-n-Clams with only the best and freshest little necks at rock bottom prices; Thursday is Steak night, these steaks are cut and aged house, and only the best cuts are used, so be sure to order the prime top sirloin or the black Angus rib-eye; Friday is Seafood night with amazing specials on fresh, never frozen, fish, so the menu changes depending on what is available each week; and be sure to stop in on Saturday for prime rib, again only using the absolute best meat available. One other cool note about the Western Ranch Motor Inn is that they strive to use only the best ingredients; things are bought locally whenever available and when it comes to meat and fish if it was ever frozen it’s not on the menu! Most items are made in-house and they go above and beyond to do things like hand bread their chicken tenders! They take time to actually make each dish as it’s ordered and you can really taste it!

Kyle and I arrived at the Western Ranch Motor Inn on a lovely spring evening. We were immediately greeted by the cheerful staff and brought to a table in the bar area. We were in for quite a treat because there was live acoustic music that was just about to begin. It had been so long since we had heard any live music it was absolutely surprising to realize how much we missed it. While we looked over the menu we couldn’t help but sing along to Heart of Gold and Harvest Moon, even 8-month-old Magnolia loved it. As we looked over the menu we had a hard time deciding because we knew that anything we ordered would be amazing. We decided to start our meal with an order of Clams Casino. These little numbers were positively scrumptious. To be clear, they were actually clams casino, not stuffed clams, so the little neck was actually the star of the show! Since we were there on Seafood Friday we both decided on ordering a seafood dish. I decided on the broiled scallops with a side salad and homemade macaroni and cheese. The scallops were sweet and perfectly cooked and seasoned. The fresh and crisp salad loaded with blue cheese crumbles was a delight and the macaroni and cheese were amazing! Kyle ordered the Fresh Lake Ontario Lake Perch, which is an absolute treat that would be hard to find on other menus in town. These fresh filets were hand-breaded and cooked to golden brown perfection and they were so tasty! Kyle paired them with double carbohydrates, macaroni and cheese, and French fries! He ate every last bite! Another awesome thing about Western Range Motor Inn is that they get their desserts from Biscotti’s Bakery in Syracuse. Kyle couldn’t pass up a slice of mixed berry pie and I just love their lemon cake. We ended the perfect evening on a sweet note!

One tip I can certainly give you is that when you come to the Western Ranch Motor Inn you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu! Be sure to check out their homemade special every night! They also feature events like live music, darts, and trivia in the bar. Meals are available for takeout, just give them a call at (315) 457-9236 and be sure to stop in as soon as you can and see for yourself how fun and flavorful it is to be stuck in the past- on purpose!

Kerilyn Micale
Kerilyn E. Micale is a Cicero native.