Rise N Shine Diner
Syracuse, NY • A Once-In-A-Lifetime Diner Experience
Diner restaurants are a quintessential part of the American experience, and Rise N Shine Diner offers much more than the typical greasy spoon fare. This thriving diner has contemporary, rustic vibes, a warm and welcoming staff, and a menu where every dish exudes next-level, mouthwatering components that make you eager to dig in. Breaking the standard diner mold, Rise N Shine allows Syracuse, as well as those who seek it out from around the world, to take their taste buds on an adventure with a game-changing diner experience.
Danielle Mercuri, owner of Rise N Shine Diner, is the mastermind behind the innovative offerings and expressed that her restaurant-owning experience is “Crazier than I ever thought it would be, and sometimes, I can’t believe where I came from.” Back in 2009, Mercuri was a young mom of three daughters and was panic-stricken as she searched for work. Her prayers were answered when her stepfather received a call from his friend, Peter Hennessey, looking to hire a waitress at Rise N Shine Diner. She happily accepted, and when Hennessey fell ill a few years later, he entrusted her with ownership of the diner and had unwavering faith that she had the perseverance, creativity, and forward-thinking mindset to continue its success and lead its evolution.
Mercuri is a true culinary artist, translating her passion for all things creative into every out-of-the-norm dish she develops. She whole-heartedly believes in serving items with both memorable flavors and visual appeal, as she wants customers to walk away aesthetically pleased, as well as with a full and satisfied stomach. With a background in fashion design, Mercuri used her studies to infuse creativity into the food as well as the restaurant’s décor. One of her initial additions to the first location was a chandelier made out of silverware. The newer store on Westcott Street presents a natural ambiance, featuring a wall displaying a tree, windows with accents of moss, as well as neon signs and graffiti art that create different vibes throughout the building.
Specializing in breakfast fare with dinner flair, the Rise N Shine menu features an array of elaborate, eye-catching creations from immense omelets to sky-high stacks of sweet and savory waffles and pancakes. The Big Daddy Pancake Wrap – containing scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage, bacon, and Cheddar cheese all wrapped into a large buttermilk pancake – is a Rise N Shine signature. Guests are also charmed by the Campfire Nutella® French Toast Fondue, Cookie Dough Stuffed Pancakes, and the Waffled Chicken Wings featuring drumettes dipped and seared in waffle batter served with maple syrup and blue cheese.
The Rise N Shine on Westcott puts an emphasis on brinner – a combination of brunch and dinner – with features like the Surf & Turf Brinner with lobster mac and the Bacon Glazed Cinnamon Roll sandwich. Recently, Mercuri worked with her Maines Territory Manager, Stephen Pontello, to create custom-made breakfast ravioli with Lilly’s Fresh Pasta. Mercuri explained, “I could never have had hand-wrapped ravioli without that connection from my Maines Territory Manager. Stephen and I sat in the kitchen and experimented stuffing the ravioli with eggs, a five-cheese blend, and pancetta until we decided, ‘This is the one.’ We gave Lilly’s the ratios, and now we’ll be offering custom breakfast ravioli served with tomato hollandaise or sausage gravy.”
Their extreme milkshakes and drinks are also trendy attractions that bring customers through the diner’s doors. With a liquor license, the Westcott store is serving up adult-friendly drinks that generate plenty of buzz on social, from Poppy’s Peppermint Hot Chocolate spiked with Peppermint Whiskey to Milk N Cookies Martinis, Caprese Bloody Marys, and larger-than-life mimosas.
Mercuri’s advice to other restaurant owners looking to harness their creativity is to “Stay true to what you know and what you want for your customers. Really get to know your customers and try not to get lost in the chaos of everything else going on in the industry. No matter what cuisine is your specialty, make sure you’re able to make what you create signature and special to you.”
Mercuri’s ability to add her creative touch to every aspect of the diner has made it the one-of-a-kind, increasingly popular establishment it is today. With talks of opening a third location, the staff at Rise N Shine Diner has a fierce ambition that’s greater than ever. They’re looking forward to serving more over-the-top dishes that have that “ooh” and “aah” effect on customers, always leaving them wondering what imaginative culinary creation Rise N Shine will serve up next.