The U.S. Small Business Administration states, “Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, is Small Business Saturday – a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. This year, we know that small businesses need our support now more than ever as they navigate, retool and pivot from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Please join SBA and organizations across the country in supporting your local small businesses by shopping at a small business.
“Founded by American Express in 2010 and officially cosponsored by SBA since 2011, Small Business Saturday has become an important part of small businesses’ busiest shopping season.”
In honor of Small Business Saturday, Niagara Frontier Publications presents its annual spotlight on local merchants.
Syros owner/chef/butcher/host Bechara Cobti (File photo)
869 Cayuga St., Lewiston
By Joshua Maloni
There’s no doubt shopping can work up an appetite.
So, why not stop at an eatery whose past write-ups came with the disclaimer, “Come hungry to Syros”?
“Well, No. 1, as far as portion size go, we always want to make sure that people are getting more than enough food, as opposed to not enough food,” Eli Cobti said.
“As far as the freshness goes, all the breakfast steaks – all the steaks – are cut by hand by my dad. Everything's cut by hand by my dad, whether it's the award-winning falafel that he was recognized for years ago at the Taste of Buffalo; whether it's the avgolemono soup that we're making every day. We're not buying premade.”
He added, “Everything's fresh. We even use local DiCamillo bread for the Italian bread. We do that because, No. 1, it tastes better. No. 2, it's a nice, personal touch anytime you can stay within the community and use local product.
“You’ve got to give the people what they want. Somebody wants something a certain way, even if it's not on the menu. Guess what? We make it for them.”
His father, restaurant owner Bechara Cobti, said, “Everything is homemade. We make a good breakfast, and everything is fresh. We get a good crowd for breakfast. They depend on it.”
He noted, “We can accommodate any (size) table. Big tables, small tables. Veterans weekend, we had a lot of big tables. We can handle it.”
Eli Cobti said it’s all about that “Small-town appeal. I mean, what you're going to find at our restaurant that you won't necessarily find at a Denny's or a chain restaurant is somebody that knows you on a first-name basis. It's a tight-knit community, and customers have always been good to us – and we try to reciprocate and always be good to them.
“Somebody's always going to go around and check and see how you're doing. And if something's wrong, you speak up, and we fix it for you.
“It's just one big family.”
This, he said, fits perfectly within the River Region.
“I've never met a tourist who hasn't fallen in love with Lewiston,” Cobti said. “Everybody's always raving about it. It's just a vibrant business culture while still maintaining that small-town appeal. It’s a tight-knit community, and we appreciate everybody that's supported us over the years.”
More About Small Business Saturday
In the 2023 American Express Shop Small Impact Study:
•The majority of small business owners (88%) said small businesses need the support of customers in their community given the current economic environment.
•More than half (55%) of small business owners anticipate Small Business Saturday will make a significant contribution to their overall holiday sales this year.
•Consumers are ready to rally behind their local neighborhood businesses and be a part of the “Shop Small” movement. In fact, 78% of those surveyed agree small businesses are essential to their community.
So, #shopsmall this year.
To learn more, visit https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/benefits/shop-small/.