Diner Critique: Barbieri’s Italian Diner (Syracuse, N.Y.)

Review | Written and photographed by Nathan Mattise

Directions | Web site | Overall Rating: 3

I was under the impression Barbieri’s in Syracuse was a recently deceased diner (going the way of my beloved Doc’s and the Sugarpearl and I never did make it to).  It was going to be my first stop on the Dead Diner project until I went and found a perfectly good diner hidden away in Syracuse’s Little Italy. It wasn’t exactly bustling on my Sunday morning visit, but after trying it out I’m not exactly sure why that’s the case. Babieri’s is in the often forgotten Little Italy section of downtown Syracuse. It’s the only diner I know of in that neighborhood but it’s easily neglected since any of the major traffic in the area doesn’t go directly pass Barbieri’s. If it wasn’t for the giant sign atop it’s front walls you’d never be able to tell the brick building is a diner.

Inside Barbieri’s is a great space. It’s a very open dining room with plenty of available seating and a small separating sectioning off seating areas to provide a cozier feeling. The counterspace is long and helps provide the feeling you’ll never have trouble finding a seat. Against the back wall is a muraled landscape (of what I believe is Italy) and if not for the countertop seating Barbieri’s could likely be a low-casual Italian eatery rather than diner.

Service was prompt and very adaptable (love it when diners will allow you to take out and also provide utensils, take out cups, etc.).  The menu at Barbieri’s Italian Diner is equally as inviting price wise (most expensive item outside of a giant Fretta is only $6) but lacks a ton of choices or any extremely unique items. I saw an Italian Breakfast Burrito as an out of the ordinary option so for under $5 it was the obvious choice.

The burrito won’t win any awards for pure plating and aesthetics, but it’s a great breakfast on the go option. It’s compact and surprisingly tidy for a wrap. The flavors aren’t muted by an abundance of breading and who knews that sausage, peppers, onion, egg and chease could go so well with tortilla. No need for any condiments with the egg/sausage juices keeping things far away from dry.  It doesn’t come with homefries on the side, but getting them in addition made for a plenty filling meal (though nothing special on the fries – loyal potato flavor, not too crisp).

Barbieri’s is far from a dead diner, though it’s ironic that project lead me to it. I perceive Sunday mornings as the busiest diner time of the week so it’s sad that what turned out to be a solid locale was so dead during my visit.  It may be out of the way since the Little Italy section of town doesn’t seem to get much traffic, but Barbieri’s is an affordable option that provides limited by quality options. Certainly worth exploring for when, and if, you’re in the neighborhood.

The Final Tab

Pros: Solid food at cheap prices, plenty of seating available

Cons: Limited menu, locale a bit out of the way, average hours

Overall:

2-toast1

Three Out Of Five (Basic combo | It’s OK – try it.)

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