Francesca’s adds wrinkle to local restaurant plans

— While all of Liverpool awaits the long-promised opening of the Barking Gull at 116 S. Willow St., on the basin block down at the corner of Lake Drive, the still-dark Gull has already drawn competition.

The Gormel family — paterfamilias John, wife Linda and sons Adam and Josh, who already own The Retreat and The Cobblestone — plan to specialize in wood-fired gourmet pizza pies at the Barking Gull.

Last week, however, a successful Italian eatery – Francesca’s Cucina, 545 N. Salina St.in Syracuse’s Little Italy neighborhood – announced that it was taking over the spot recently vacated by Juanita’s Mexican Kitchen at 207 Oswego St. (it still looks like Old Liverpool Road to me). Anyhow, that same location previously housed a Ponderosa Steakhouse and Wisteria Chinese buffet.

Now Francesca’s Pizza & Italian Kitchen plans to open there by Dec. 1. It’ll be operated by Gary Angeloro and family.

The Gull was supposed to open in May, then July, then September…well, you know how that goes. It’s always tough to get a new project off the ground, and I know the Gormels want to do it right rather than to simply do it quickly.

But the suspense has been building for years!

For most of the past decade, the Barking Gull hosted private parties only, but once that Italian-made pizza oven gets fired up, it will finally open to the public.

The race is on: who will open its doors first, Francesca’s or the Gull?

Eagle eyes

Meanwhile, John Gormel continues to keep a close eye on basin block renovation plans proposed by Val Lamont’s Liverpool Properties, LLC. Lamont wants to add an outdoor deck onto the Limp Lizard, 201 First St., and a mid-block parking lot shared by the Lizard and the White Water Pub, 110 S. Willow St. Liverpool Properties owns both locations.

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