2nd Story

Your rating: None Average: 1.8 (12 votes)

Though 2nd Story's name comes directly from its location on the second story of its Westcott Street home, this straightforward attribution belies the aesthetic delights and array of items offered in this low-key coffee shop and former bookstore. Whether you're craving a crispy panini or crumbly pastry, 2nd Story will provide and have you lounging around in its cozy nooks for hours with a treat in hand. 

When To Go: Aside from Thursday, 2nd Story is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Closing hours are a little earlier on Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. Go during a particularly cold afternoon and curl up on the sofa seats with a pot of steaming hot tea. Grab brunch with friends and dine on their generous slices of country bread toast — topped with jam, avocado, or peanut butter and honey. The bottom line: Though not much of a dinner spot, this cafe's breakfast bites and drink selection are perfect for an afternoon snack or post-class unwinding. 

Blue Plate Special: The most popular items among customers are the fresh paninis; one option contains roasted chicken, red onion, avocado, and herbed goat cheese. At $8, it costs more than a fast food sandwich, but well worth the regret you won't be having after consumption, since all the ingredients here are natural and free of excessive grease. Semi-sweets and savories are also baked in-house on a daily basis, including banana bread, coffee cake, cookies, and scones, ranging in price from $3-$5. If you're watching your figure instead of blindly downing whatever's on your plate, try the apple and goat cheese salad. The occasional blueberry or apple slice will offset the sharpness of the cheese, all of which is tossed in tart balsamic dressing. Pleasing to the palate indeed. The bottom line: Choose anything seriously. You won't be disappointed.

On Tap: You won't find any alcohol offered here, but — it being a cafe and all — there are plenty of other refreshments available. Cups of tea are $2 and flavors range from standard favorites like English breakfast and Earl Grey, to more unexpected options like Mayan chai and Moroccan mint. Bottled drinks include ginger ale, root beer and pear juice. But if you really want to try something tasty, snatch up the smoothie: made of banana, milk, and honey, it's served in a honey jar and is sure to be a sweet surprise for any takers. The bottom line: This place is all about the drinks, whether hot or cold. Don't hesitate to get your regular coffee order or be adventurous and try something different, particularly the refreshing smoothie. 

The Scene: Walking into the spacious, warmly lit floor of 2nd Story is like entering the living room of that funky, free-spirited friend who's undeniably a bit cooler than you. Mismatched furniture is scattered across the room in an intentional manner; both high and side tables line the walls, while a coffee table sits in the middle of a group of lovingly worn sofa seats. An eclectic mix of art nouveau-like works are hung around the cafe that have the feel of souvenirs brought back from travels abroad. The bottom line: Earthy tones, mellow vibes, and an indie playlist characterize its atmosphere, allowing visitors to either sink into contemplative peace or steady productivity.

The Crowd: Nobody speaks disturbingly loud and most of the diners come solo. Though a handful come in to pick up a drink and quickly head out, the majority stick around and make themselves comfortable with laptops or reading. They're youngish residents of the area and usually out of college, save for the trendy SU upperclassmen students who are Westcott Street regulars. Outlets are available at almost every table, making it easy to plug in and tune out with a cup o' joe for fuel by your side. The bottom line: Those who come here to read, relax, or work all have one thing in common: they stay for a very long time.

The Deets: Accepts credit card for any purchase. Free WiFi available. No long lines. If you order food that needs to be prepared, the service will bring it to your table. Vegetarian items on menu. The bottom line: With high marks in both presentation and product, 2nd Story is the place where both a pick-me-up or needed downtime can be had.

Profile by Sarah Lee


550 Westcott Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 299-6021

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