Home » Business of Interest » Biscotti Café & Gelateria

Biscotti Café & Gelateria

“If you’re happy and you’re full of the love of what you do it shows in the end product.” – Deb and Geoff Camire, owners, Biscotti’s Café.

I couldn’t think of a better way to start a story on one of Syracuse’s most iconic “it’s time for a treat” locations – Biscotti’s. The Camire’s clearly love what they do, and their many customers in the CNY community appreciate it heartily!

Completely unconnected, some friends joined me for dinner not too long ago, and brought dessert – a cake from Biscotti’s. It was a chocolate cake, and its weight tucked neatly in a small box belied its size. But when I sliced into it to serve it for dessert, I understood – it was thick and rich, with a raspberry filling between the layers, lovely to look at and certainly delightful to taste. It wasn’t just serving a dessert – it was, in its own way, an experience of dessert. 

Deb and Geoff seemed destined to have brought Biscotti’s to Syracuse. Each came to baking following a unique, though somewhat parallel path. Deb grew up in Syracuse “at Dominick’s with my dad, but while I knew I wanted to be in food service, I wanted something more creative, more artsy. So when I went to culinary school, I chose pastries.”

Geoff knew as early as High School when he chose a culinary vocational school that his future was in the food service industry. 

Though both attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), they met when they were both working at the Four Seasons in Boston, and finally, after deciding to marry and start a family, gave in to Deb’s dad’s pleas to “come to Syracuse and start a bakery.” That was over 25 years ago, and if it seems some things are meant to be, the success of Biscotti’s might indicate that.

But the truth is that fate and hard work are both needed for success, and Biscotti’s is more than a little of both. It was only 4 years into the venture when a devastating fire required the couple to reinvent, including selecting their present location on Salina Street, and eventually including expansion from an over-the-counter and custom bakeshop to their present configuration as a Café, wholesale bakery, custom and catering operation, including many partnerships with local restaurants and businesses, one of them being Syracuse University, where they recently opened an outlet at the Schine Student Center on campus. Students can now stop in for a bit of the delicious between classes!

When I remarked that I had no idea how many operations they kept moving and in synch, Deb replied with a laugh, “That’s why we call Geoff ‘the maestro!’” She added that many people come into the shop and Café and assume that the showcases filled with cakes, cannoli, pies, tarts, and cookies, and the home-made luncheon wraps, soups, Focaccia, salads and sandwiches are “the business.” Behind the scenes, Biscotti’s is busy preparing baked goods not just for S.U., but also for area favorites like The Grotto, Brick and Brew, Doubletree, OnCenter, Mi Casita, Brickhouse Billiards, Peacock Restaurant, and for restaurants and establishments as far away as Altmar, and Lake Placid. While, of course, readying special orders for birthday, holiday and anniversary cakes, or those once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings – when everything has to be just perfect.

“And of course a holiday comes along like Valentine’s Day,” Deb adds, “and we had all the specials going, then the SU delivery – one thousand mini pastries – a special order for the Dome, and an order for one thousand heart cookies.”

As Deb and Geoff explained their approach to their work, part of the appeal to going “out to eat” is that the food tastes good. And part of it is that it be appealing to the eye, as well. “We learned plating and presentation in culinary school,” Deb says. “But I think that what attracted me most to baking was the artistry. To find ways to really make the pastries look beautiful, or fun, unique.”

It’s no surprise, then, that when you mention Biscotti’s most people in town will immediately come back with their favorite item from the establishment. Or that they have a wall full of “Best Bakery,” “Best Cake,” and other awards from our own paper and other organizations. Or that in 2020, the mayor of Syracuse officially created Biscotti Café Day to celebrate the community favorite every April 17th!

But the Camire’s have added that one ingredient that really makes any local business stand out: they really, really like, and appreciate their customers. “Like any small business, we appreciate ‘shop local,’” says Deb. “But even more we enjoy making friends of our customers. Get to know them. They’ve been with us all these years, they watched our kids grow up and work in the store.” And when I asked them what they most wanted to include in this profile article, their response was quick: “How much we appreciate our customers and their support.”

With all of that, I had just one more question: “What do you do for fun?”

“Well, Sunday we had a Super Bowl party for about twenty-five people,” Geoff said, I’m pretty sure with a straight face. “We like to cook!”

Biscotti Café & Gelateria

741 N Salina Syracuse, New York 13208



Nancy Roberts