Local bakeries serve up sweet treats this holiday season

Bakeries serve up sweet treats for the holidays

Learn more about five Syracuse bakeries close to SU's campus known for cakes, pies, cannolis, cupcakes and more.
Published: December 16, 2021
Sweets at the Biscotti Cafe & Gelateria in Syracuse range from cannolis to tarts.
Sweets at the Biscotti Cafe & Gelateria include a wide variety of pastries and colorful treats.

What’s the holiday season without food coma-inducing sweet treats left and right? Local bakeries surrounding the Syracuse University area are ready to provide the best remedy for your seasonal sweet tooth. Each bakery creates a unique selection of goodies that give customers many options to choose from.

1. The Sweet Praxis

Signature Dish: Chocolate Dream Tart

The first stop on the bakery tour is The Sweet Praxis. Located on East Water Street, the quaint bakery has every type of savory and sweet dish imaginable. They also make quality coffee for commuters to enjoy on their way to work. The Sweet Praxis is a perfect getaway for students tired of eating at chain restaurants.

Chocolate Tart
The Chocolate Dream Tart is The Sweet Praxis' signature dish.

The Sweet Praxis also focuses on giving back to the community. They donate pies to local schools and fundraisers for families in need and emphasize the importance of recognizing diversity within their business and throughout the community.

“You know, our team is really diverse and [has] interesting folks with all different backgrounds,” said Jennifer Walls, owner of The Sweet Praxis. “Right now we’re up 15 employees. We’re really proud that we partner with other businesses in the area to not only source products, but they’re our wholesale partners.”

BASIC INFO on The Sweet Praxis

Address: 203 E Water St, Syracuse, NY 13202.

Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesdays

Phone: (315) 216-7797

Online: Website | Facebook | Instagram

2. Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Signature Dish: Cupcakes!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes is a family affair. Run by couple Rebecca and Christopher Riley, cupcakes are the love language of the shop. Their infant son Marley is the selling point of the shop as he sits in his bassinet, greeting customers as they come in with a happy smile. According to his dad, people come into the shop just to see him.

The bakery started out of Rebecca’s garage 10 years ago and moved into its current location on West Fayette Street in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the store was closed until November 2020. Now, the family is back in action and fulfilling the community’s cupcake needs in person.

Goodwill Sign

At the Riley family business, hatred and negativity are not tolerated.

Baby in a bassinet

7-month old Marley is one of the first things people see when they walk into Peace, Love, and Cupcakes.

The most common customers at the bakery are students from local universities (Upstate, SUNY-ESF, and Le Moyne included) and workers from the nearby area who want to escape chain restaurants.

“We do a lot of deliveries to students from parents [living] out of state reaching out to us to deliver birthday stuff up to the university,” Riley said. “Downtown went into an orange zone [during COVID], there was no indoor dining or anything. It was like a ghost town down here. If we hadn’t, you know if it hadn’t happened during the holidays, I don’t know if we would have even survived it. But luckily, all those holiday orders kind of carried us through.”

BASIC INFO ON PEACE, LOVE, AND CUPCAKES

Address: 121 W Fayette St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Hours: Saturday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Phone: (315) 472-2200

Online: Facebook

3. Rai’s Dough Bakeshop

Signature Dishes: Sandwiches and pies. Examples include “The Hawley Green” and “The Inner Harbor.” All dishes are named after Syracuse landmarks.

The new addition to East Genesee Street has only been around for a few months. After it opened in April 2021,  actors and crew members from the closeby Syracuse Stage became frequent customers, as well as hotel guests at the Crowne Plaza next door.

Mother and son working together
Owner Raineen "Rai" Hill works with his mother Janine to create desserts that cater to all occasions.

“Rai’s Dough” is used for their homemade bread, made in-house by Chef Raineen “Rai” Hills and his mother Janine, who specializes in the desserts. While the restaurant itself can only seat about a dozen people, it offers an intimate setting to enjoy the eclectic and modern style that makes customers feel at home.

“I do like the sweet side of things,” Rai said. “But just recently now that I’ve got a café, [I] kind of moved into making bread and doing the gourmet toast-side of things. I can’t really say that there’s a specific dessert I like but I’ve always enjoyed doing bread and things like croissants and bear claws.”

BASIC INFO ABOUT RAI’S DOUGH BAKESHOP

Address: 719 E Genesee St Suite 1, Syracuse, NY 13210.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Phone: (315) 254-1799

Online: Website | Facebook

4. Pie’s the Limit

Signature Dish: Butternut Squash Galette (savory), Triple Berry Pie (sweet)

Started in 2019 by owner Fiona Day, Pie’s the Limit expresses the baker’s lifelong passion for pie-making, which started when she was a little girl baking alongside her mother. Over the years, Day’s pie-making business has grown and so have her pie-making skills. No pie is too difficult for her to make. Combinations and experimenting are a big part of Pie’s the Limit. One of the more unusual pies Day makes is a honey custard with orange blossom honey and water to make a floral-reminiscent pie.

Alternative Text
Pie's the Limit offers both sweet and savory pies for customers to try.

The customer base at the Salt City Market location ranges from college students to theatre patrons who have come to see musicals at the nearby Landmark Theatre and are in need of an after-show pie. Unlike the musical where the lead character names the pies after events in her life, Day keeps the names of the pies simple to avoid confusion.

Like other bakeries in the Syracuse area, Day takes pride in donating her pies to those in need.

“Plowshares reached out to me last year around Christmas time,” Day said.  “So I did that the last two years when they reached out to me about it. But we were never really close to anywhere else before, [and now] we are right down the road from the Rescue Mission. If we have a big haul of leftovers, we will bring them over there.”

BASIC INFO ON PIE’S THE LIMIT

Address: 484 S Salina St, Syracuse, NY 13202 (Salt City Market)

Hours:  Every day 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.

Phone: (315) 720-0785

Online: Website | Facebook |  Instagram

5. BISCOTTI’S CAFE AND GELATERIA

Signature Dishes: Everything!

Alternative Text
Biscotti's fruit tarts can be found at Syracuse University's Schine Student Center.

A staple among SU students, Biscotti’s has been around 1998. The bakery is known for its delectable desserts and vibrant wedding cakes. They’re also known for their on-campus presence at the Schine Student Center, offering sweets for students to purchase in between classes.

Biscotti’s selection can apply to all occasions, from graduations to birthdays. While their cakes are the most popular, their tiny desserts are another customer favorite.

BISCOTTI’S BASICS:

Address: 741 N Salina St., Syracuse

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Phone: (315) 478-9583

Online: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Avatar for Charlotte Hansen

is a Goldring arts journalism and communications graduate student and digital producer for The NewsHouse