Salt City DISHES (Dine In. Support Happenings. Enliven Syracuse!)

DISHES is an annual event that brings together the Syracuse community to share a delicious locally-sourced meal, listen to one another's suggestions for community-based innovative projects, and vote on the idea that has the most potential. A micro-grant of $2,000 and a second $500 prize, is then awarded to the audience favorite. The winning team returns to the next DISHES to present their newly-realized projects.

The DISHES concept was conceived by Rachel Somerstein, after she was inspired by a similar dinner she had attended in Brooklyn, NY, called F.E.A.S.T.  A team of three, including Briana Kohlbrenner and Stasya Erickson, was formed in October 2010 and thus Salt City DISHES was born!  Full of magic and celebration, the first DISHES dinner debuted on January 23, 2011.  The event was an instant success with a sold-out crowd of 175 attendees and 9 exciting presentations.  

DISHES has helped fund thirteen projects to date, and all dinners have had max attendance. Each fall, ideas are solicited through a Request for Proposals and dinners are held each winter. 

Past recipients of the DISHES micro-grant include:

  • February 2017:
    • 1st prize - Kids Take Over: Science Showcase, connecting refugee youth with passionate high school mentors, the program will culminate in two science fairs at the Museum of Science and Technology.
    • 2nd prize - Syracuse Refugee Unity Day, aims to build community between refugees through a day-long celebration that allows them to share and celebrate their cultural diversity.
  • February 2016:
    • 1st prize - Syracuse Plays Chess, a series of free, public chess events where people of all ages learn to play chess and make new friends 
    • 2nd prize - Paint the Town, an eye-catching mural across the center of a neighborhood intersection that gets drivers to navigate the crossing with caution
  • February 2015:
    • 1st prize - Second Line Syracuse, a New Orleans style brass brand with a Central New York flare that energizes the streets with live music and brings neighbors together with spontaneous celebration
    • 2nd prize - Cooperative Federal Student Cash Stash Pilot, a financial capability program at three Syracuse high schools, where students use a smart phone app to connect with mentors and create/reach savings goals
  • February 2014:
    • 1st prize - The Forget-Me-Nots Chorus, a choir for persons with dementia and their caregivers 
    • 2nd prize - Westside Walks, a volunteer snow shoveling brigade 
  • May 2013:
    • Cooperative Permaculture Garden, a garden at Nottingham High School that provides hands-on opportunity for students to learn about healthy eating, the sciences, and how to work together to produce food for families in need
  • August 2012: 
    • Food Forrest Gardening for Culture and Health, an edible forest garden on the city's south side
  • February 2012:
    • Salt City Slam, a poetry slam series bringing together amateur and professional spoken word artists
  • May 2011:
    • Bikes 4 Peace, free bike clinics teaching kids how to fix their own bikes
  • January 2011:
    • SUBPAR (Syracuse Urban Beautification Public Art Resistance), site-specific screen-printed ceramic tile installations on derelict buildings in Syracuse neighborhoods

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