OCC’s “With Love” restaurant back open with new cuisine and new job opportunities

Local News

Onondaga Community College’s “With Love” restaurant on Syracuse’s Northside is open again with its latest cuisine.

This iteration features a menu of Vietnamese food with a Cambodian flare.

They are the dishes of Ngoc Huynh, the new entrepreneur in residence at the restaurant.

She is bringing the recipes of her mother and grandmother from the Mekong Delta in Vietnam to Syracuse.

By design OCC rotates the cuisine and entrepreneurs at this incubator/restaurant every six months for about three years now.

“This opportunity is great because it gives me a chance to learn about the restaurant business with very little risk,” she tells NewsChannel 9.

“Not only do they bring to us some wonderful recipes but we get some knowledge and experience about the full cuisine,” Program Manager Joe Bilecki said.

Huynh is looking forward to recording family recipes that have only been taught by word of mouth, and also until now without formal measurements. 

Huynh says, “You learn how to run a restaurant, you learn the business end of it but then you learn the kitchen side of it.  You also learn the social side of it with the customers and everything.”

“With Love” continues to evolve since opening almost three years ago, and not just by changing its menu every six months.

It is becoming even more of a teaching restaurant than ever before training more and more people for jobs like being a line cook.

Mike Metzgar is the Associate Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at OCC.

He says, “We’re actually going to be taking the proceeds from the restaurant from the tips and use that to fund the students. So we’ve taken what was a 4-6 month program and compressed it down to 8 weeks because the folks we’re serving they need to get work.”

“A lot of people, they come in here and they have no job experience, they’ve been underemployed and are looking to move up and change their lives,” Bilecki adds.

Huynh says, “I think this program is a well kept secret from OCC that a lot of people in this community don’t know about.”

The goal is to hire three line cooks per shift, two shifts a day.

Information sessions are held every Friday at the restaurant at 2 p.m.

Click here for more information.

“With Love” is also now partnering with CNY Works to teach soft skills to youth who have never held a job to get them prepared for the workforce.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Friday from Noon to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m to 8 p.m at 435 North Salina Street.

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