At Sam’s Chicken Land https://www.samschickenland.com/ in Syracuse, you’ll find some of the best fried chicken and sandwiches around. It’s located on Charles Avenue, just outside the city off West Genesee Street.
Sam Awwad opened Sam’s Chicken Basket in 1976 in North Syracuse. Over the years, he and his wife worked on a fried chicken recipe that brought customers back for more. In 1980, he sold the restaurant to send his children to college. Then, in 1981, he opened Sam’s Chicken Land because he missed the business. It’s now located on Charles Ave.
In 2009, Greg Hrynyk, an insurance salesman from Auburn, bought Sam’s. Awwad taught him his recipes for the chicken, the specialty sandwiches and the seasoned french fries.
“I quickly found out that the customers who were walking in here every day have been coming here since Sam opened,” Greg said. “I’ve made sure I cook this food just like it’s always been done. That keeps them coming back.”
Prentiss Jefferson of Syracuse is a sous-chef at a local hotel restaurant. He cooks every day, but he was off last Tuesday and went to Sam’s Chicken Land for a late lunch. He’s been coming to Sam’s since it opened.
“What I love about Sam’s is the consistency,” Prentiss said. “I’m very picky. There are only a few places I’ll go to regularly, and this is one of them. It’s that good.”
Dan Cannon, a marketing associate for the food distributor Sysco, sells Sam’s much of its food. He’s also been a customer since Awwad opened the restaurant.
“This place really is a sleeper,” he said. “What I like about it is that the food now is just as good as it was when Sam was cooking it 30 years ago. And Greg is a one-man show.”
Fried chicken: Greg’s chicken is never frozen. He buys it fresh locally, then marinates it and breads it before dropping it into the fryer. You’ll have to wait about 15 minutes for your food, but it’s worth it.
Steak & cheese sub: Greg grills fresh steak strips and slices them into thin pieces. Then he adds peppers, onions and mushrooms, salt and pepper. He lightly toasts a soft sub roll on the grill and adds cheese. It’s a steal for $7.19.
Tip: Order french fries. Greg’s sprinkles fries with a special seasoning that tastes of Old Bay, salt, paprika and maybe onion powder– he won’t say what it is.
Sam’s Chicken Land
The restaurant: Sam’s Chicken Land, 527 Charles Ave., Solvay, 315-488-4555.
Credit cards? Yes
Access to disabled? Yes
Inside seating: Yes
Parking: There’s parking lot that fits about 7 cars directly in front of the door
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., closes at 8:30 on Friday. Closed Sunday.