by Sarah Alessandrini
Putting a good pasta dinner together doesn’t have to be hard—as long as you know the right places to go. Anyone who’s grown up in an Italian family, or is serious about Italian food, knows that the best ingredients can’t be found in regular grocery stores. Let’s take a trip to Syracuse’s Little Italy, where we can experience the most authentic Italian markets and bakeries in the city, and we’ll help you put together a dinner your Italian grandfather won’t turn his nose up at.
For the Appetizers
Columbus Baking Company
No Italian dinner is complete without bread to start. Columbus Baking Company has some of the best fresh-baked bread in the city. This little bakery is located on the corner of Lodi and Pearl streets. After closing the adjacent deli two summers ago, the company has moved to focusing on baking the stretchiest Italian bread around. You can even watch them prepare the dough while you wait in line. Don’t forget to save some bread to dip in your pasta sauce!
Thanos Import Market
If bread isn’t enough for an appetizer, you can head over to Thanos Import Market in Syracuse’s Hawley Green neighborhood. Here you’ll find some of the best cheese and Italian meat options. The deli also serves sandwiches for grab-and-go meals and is open Monday through Saturday.
For the Main Course
Lombardi’s Fruits and Imports
Any store that uses hanging meats as window decoration is a safe bet for authentic Italian food. Lombardi’s Fruits and Imports, only a 10 minute drive from campus, sells everything you need to make a pasta dinner at home.
Brand-name dry pasta is quick and easy, but the best pasta selections are found in the freezers — and they’re just as easy to make! At Lombardi’s, you’ll find an assortment of pre-made frozen pasta, including ravioli, stuffed shells, and gnocchi, all ready to throw in some boiling water and pasta sauce. It tastes like it was made right in your kitchen — your guests won’t even know the difference!
If you do want to make pasta from scratch, you can select from several barrels of flour and choose the best one for your dough. If you don’t want to make your pasta completely by hand, you can pick out a pasta maker right in the store.
To top off your pasta, choose from any jars of sauce on the shelves or find all the ingredients to make your own. You can also browse selections of meat and cheeses, and if you’re looking to throw a full-out pasta party, pick out some cute Italian flags, plates, and napkins to decorate your kitchen.
Nino’s Italian Bakery
Across from Lombardi’s, right behind the Rite Aid on Lodi Street, you’ll find Nino’s Italian Bakery where you can find the perfect pastry to finish off your Italian dinner. Choose a box or tray of some classic Italian cookies, including biscotti, struffoli, rainbow cookies, or butter cookies. Personally, we say you can never go wrong with cannolis. For a special occasion, order cakes ahead or consider trying the cannoli cake – it’s our favorite!