“If you give, more will come to you”

By Margaret McCormick

What’s better than a restaurant that serves delicious food? A restaurant that serves delicious food AND supports great causes. That’s Dreamer Glen’s philosophy.

Glen is the owner of Miss Prissy’s, a soul food restaurant at the Salt City Market in downtown Syracuse. Prior to her selection as a vendor at the international food hall, Glen ran a catering business for many years, worked for the Rescue Mission and at local hospitals and helped to care for people with Multiple Sclerosis, dementia and other conditions.

“I’ve always done something that has to do with service,’’ Glen says. “Service is a ministry. You have to have a heart to work with people.’’

Glen was looking for a charitable cause for Miss Prissy’s to embrace when the United Way of Central New York reached out about its Kickoff Cookoff. KOCO is a tasty event that kicks off the United Way’s fundraising season. Twenty Syracuse-area restaurants have partnered with the United Way to donate a portion of KOCO proceeds to support 64 essential programs through the United Way’s Community Program Fund. The event continues through September 30.

“I’ve always believed if you give, more will come to you,’’ Glen says. “I’ve been wanting to find something we can get behind that is local. Although the United Way is a national platform, there is a lot of work being done here in the community. I got the email and thought, ‘let’s start here. Let’s see how it works. Maybe this can be our cause to get behind.’

“I don’t want to give so you know my name,’’ Glen adds. “I want to help.’’

For KOCO, Miss Prissy’s is promoting its top-selling menu item, Sassy Shrimp, and donating a portion of proceeds from each sale to the United Way. The dish features crispy fried shrimp tossed with a creamy sauce that’s a little sweet with a touch of heat. Glen is in the process of bottling the sauce and bringing it to market.

Since KOCO launched on September 10, Glen says she’s noticed an “uptick in sales’’ of Sassy Shrimp. The dish is also popular with the crowd at the market’s Salt City Bar.

“We tell people when you order Sassy Shrimp, you’re supporting the United Way,’’ Glen says. “We have signs and posters on our counter and we’re wearing our United Way pins. We’re excited. It just fit.’’

Glen grew up in Central New York, but her cooking is inspired by the Southern fare she learned to make by watching her grandmother, who lived in Cross, SC. The menu at Miss Prissy’s also includes fried green tomatoes, macaroni and cheese, collard greens with smoked turkey, her grandmother’s rosemary roasted half chicken, fried chicken wings and more. If you visit on the right day, you might find a special like braised oxtails on a bed of white rice on the menu.

“Food is at the center of everything we do in life,’’ Glen says. “I love what I do and want to be able to continue to serve for a long time.’’

Learn more about the United Way of Central New York’s 2021 Kickoff Cookoff at www.eatunited.org.

Margaret McCormick is a writer, editor and food blogger in Syracuse.