Daniel's Grill serves up comfort food with an edge

Some people know exactly what they want to do with their lives from the get-go. For others, like Dan and Dina Curley, their calling is more carefully cultivated, pursued over time and flavored with unlikely experiences.

The restaurant business was not exactly Dina's dream job - in fact, her parents wouldn't even allow their daughter to work in their Toronto tapas cafe when she was growing up.

But at 25 she moved to Marblehead, Mass. and began working as a bar and restaurant manager. She said she's worked in restaurants off and on, but has strong background in retail merchandising and spent many years in customer service.

Dan wound up in the kitchen from a very different path. After two years of studying psychology at the University of Jacksonville, the Westhill native enrolled in culinary school in Boston.

Lucky for local diners, the pair fell in love with food and each other, and in June celebrated the 5th anniversary of their own restaurant, Daniel's Grill in Marcellus.

Seasonal and reasonable

Dina said that between the two of them, she and Dan have about 50 years of experience in the industry. Previously, Dan worked as an executive chef at the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles.

Owning their own place someday was always a goal, but not something they rushed into.

"I think that every chef thinks that they would like to have their own restaurant," Dina said. "We looked for the right place for a long time."

When the 69 North Street location became available, it was a great fit for the couple that already called Marcellus home.

Being locally-based personally and professionally has had an advantage.

"I think people like to know who they're dealing with, it makes people feel comfortable," Dan said.

They carry that philosophy onto the dinner plates, where they strive to use locally grown products when possible.

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