From the kitchen

Syracuse Little Italy’s Biscotti Café offers old world Italian treats

Hieu Nguyen | Staff Photographer

Biscotti Cafe serves different flavors of gelato, including traditional Italian blood orange as well as mint chocolate chip.

Since the late 1800s, Italian immigrants have been settling in Syracuse’s Northside. The main stretch of Little Italy falls on North Salina Street, hosting eateries like Francesca’s Cucina, Thano’s Import Market and Asti. Also on this street is Biscotti Cafe, an Italian bakery that serves up coffee, soups and sandwiches.

Co-owners of Biscotti Cafe Debbie and Geoff Camire have been through three locations and 19 years of service here in Syracuse. Their Italian bakery and eatery at 741 N. Salina St. is their biggest location yet, providing ample space for their business.

After meeting in Boston while working at the Four Seasons, Debbie and Geoff decided to move to Syracuse to start at bakery on the suggestion of Debbie’s father. They found a home for their business on Butternut Street, but in their fifth year of business, they suffered a fire, forcing them to move. After a short stint on Geddes Street, the Camires found their permanent home on Salina.

Finally feeling secure, their business began to flourish. One of their first big accounts was Syracuse University. Biscotti Café is SU’s go-to for services such as faculty catering and Schine dining catering. This account was huge for the business not only financially, but it gave them validation that they were doing something right.

The store is large and airy — bright windows in the front, lined with comfy booths and plenty of tables. Glass display cases show off the beautiful creations made back in their kitchen by a highly trained team of pastry chefs. There is also a revolving gelato freezer, spinning around a bunch of classic gelato flavors like mint chip and blood orange.

Some of their most popular items include cannoli, chocolate mousse cake, lobster tails and pasticciotto. Lobster tails are a mascarpone-filled pastry that has a flaky, layered, eclair-like shell. Pasticciotto is a traditional Italian desert, little individual tarts filled with either a chocolate or vanilla filling.

Their cannolis are incredible. The filling had the perfect amount of sweetness, and the shell is crispy without being too hard. The lobster tails are also a great treat for when you’re letting yourself have a cheat day.

They also have a great selection of cakes, anything from red velvet to lemon chiffon, either as individual slices or as a whole cake. They look delicious as well as beautiful. You can also order them for a special occasion; they come in every serving size imaginable.

Wedding season has a big effect on many businesses, especially bakeries. With an entire consultation room committed to helping the bride or groom find their perfect cake, Biscotti Cafe has wedding cakes covered. As it seems, wedding season has moved from June to October, says Camire. On average, they do 8 weddings on a Saturday and two on a Sunday during wedding season.

Biscotti Cafe is more than just sweet treats though — they also have a great lunch menu of soups and sandwiches that can be taken to go, eaten in or catered. Some of their sandwiches include the Godfather — prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and pesto on a focaccia roll. The Smokehouse is smoked turkey, Gouda, bacon, lettuce and tomato with chipotle mayo. They also offer salads and soups daily.

Although a slight drive from campus, Biscotti Café is a nice place to get some work or reading done when the bustle of campus or downtown is too much to handle. With its big windows and comfortable booths, all you need is a coffee, piece of cake and a book. Smelling the kitchen churning out cakes and pastries all day is also a plus.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, Biscotti Cafe is a great place to pick up a box of pastries for the weekend or sit down and enjoy a nice coffee and a cannoli.

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