Northside caf (c) celebrates a decade of doing business in CNY this week:
When two Culinary Institute grads collided in the Boston Four Season Hotel's Pastry Department -- Syracuse became the benefactor.
Debbie Tassone brought Boston native, Geoff Camire, back home to CNY to collaborate on Biscotti Caf (c). They first opened on Butternut Street. But after five years of hard work, a fire took that building, which was the former Mirbach's restaurant.
Biscotti Caf (c) relocated to 741 North Salina in the heart of Little Italy. It offers anything from wholesale baked goods, to a savory lunch, great pastries, elegant wedding cakes and traditional Italian specialties including cannoli and gelato.
"The best compliments we get are when customers tell us our pastries taste just like their grandmother's," Debbie Camire said.
Their recipes come from their Hyde Park culinary days, their time at the Four Seasons, continual research, family and even happy accidents.
How do they operate?
"We bring different things to the table," Debbie said. "That's why we are a good couple working together."
Debbie is the designer and Geoff the organizer.
"He's a numbers guy," Debbie said.
"We survived 10 years in business in Syracuse," Geoff said. "It's just tough."
"It's tough but rewarding," Debbie said.
Is it boring?
"Oh God, no," Debbie said
With energy prices constantly on the rise, higher labor costs for handmade items and the price of flour doubling -- it is a constant battle.
Their products are luxury items Debbie said. You need gas for your car, but you don't need a cannoli, although you might want one.
"You have to sell a lot of cannolis," Geoff said.
Debbie said when they have had to raise their prices they weren't doing it for more profits, rather to pay their bills.
Another part of the problem is they compete with larger operations, such as grocery stores that can afford to buy in bulk, which drastically reduces costs. Those operators often mass-produced and freeze product. Biscotti Caf (c) is instead about fresh high quality baked goods, which presents a huge battle - but one they are willing to fight.