The Best Italian Bakeries in Utica, NY - From Inwood Out (2023)

The Best Italian Bakeries in Utica, NY - From Inwood Out (1)

[Updated December 12, 2021] I’m going to be bold and say that the best Italian bakeries in Utica, NY are the best Italian bakeries there are.


Yes, they are that good and yes, I’m lumping them all together as the best because honestly, nowhere I’ve ever been does pastries, tomato pies, and Italian sausage rolls as good as Utica does them. This isn’t something I’ve always known, however.

There are certain foods I grew up eating without realizing they were unique to my region or culture. In my family and in the part of upstate New York where I’m from, Italian-American food is just…food.

I only began to understand the idea of regional specialties when I ventured out into the wider world to travel and live abroad.

Utica tomato pie is a good example of an upstate New York specialty food. It’s made with a fluffy porous dough that’s covered in tomato sauce and baked on a sheet pan. The sauce is often thickly spread and may or may not be sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Cut into squares, it tastes best at room temperature or even cold.

Tomato pie isnotpizza. The sauce tends to be sweeter and there is no mozzarella cheese nor toppings of any kind. It is the world’s most perfect party food, so perfect that I’ve never actually brought it to a party because someone always beats me to it.

Utica tomato pie is not the only local delicacy, but it’s a good example of a dish I’ve always known about but only recently paid closer attention to. Matt and I spent some time in Utica over the holidays and decided to investigate more closely the bakeries and delis that make their living from serving these beloved dishes.

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Our week of adventurous eating took us to some of the best Italian delis and bakeries in Utica.

We focused on the most popular ones, that is, those that consistently pop up, not on Google, but straight from the mouths of lifelong residents when asked who creates the absolute best Italian-American pastries, tomato pie, cookies, etc.

The first four below specialize in savory foods while the final two make only cookies and pastries.

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I wanted to bring into focus the foods I’ve always eaten; therefore, always taken for granted, and also familiarize Matt with dishes he did not grow up eating.

We feel absolutely certain we can recommend the places we visited as some of the best places to eat in Utica. But for me, it was also a culinary walk down memory lane. Read on for the absolute best Italian delis and bakeries in Utica, NY.

Read here for even more Utica restaurant recommendations.

Table of Contents

Rosa’s Trattoria Italian Deli Bakery

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We spread our food crawl out across the week, starting at Rosa’s Trattoria Italian Deli Bakery in South Utica. Rosa’s serves the type of hot subs—eggplant parmesan, meatball, sausage and peppers—that stick to your ribs for days. Everything, including the bread for subs and the dough for tomato pies, is baked in-house.

We went to Rosa’s intending to try an Italian sausage roll, definitely another local favorite that I haven’t seen in other cities I’ve been to. An Italian sausage roll (also called sausage bread) is as it sounds—ground seasoned sausage rolled into homemade dough and baked to a golden brown loaf of bread—and it is heaven on this earth.And typically, wherever sausage rolls are made, spinach rolls are usually available as well.

What we really fell for at Rosa’s though, unexpectedly, was their fried bologna and hot pepper sandwich, a lunch I ate (minus the long hots) more times than I can remember when I was a kid.

Rosa’s fried bologna sandwich, like my mom’s used to be, is made simply: the meat is fried to an almost-crispness and then piled high between slices of toasted bread. It is a sandwich with no frills–in fact, the thing wasn’t even that photogenic. It was, however, simply and completely delicious.

Side note: if you’re looking to give that someone special the perfect local gift during the holidays, Rosa’s cookies fit the bill. Read here for more ideas on gifts that show your love from Upstate New York.

Napoli’s Italian Bakery & Deli

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A few miles east of Rosa’s, down a long road that seems kind of desolate, isNapoli’s Italian Bakery & Deli.

Of the places I’ve mentioned, I’ve probably most consistently eaten tomato pie and Italian sausage rolls from Napoli’s.

Every autumn, my family meets at my brother’s house in the Adirondacks to celebrate my nephew’s birthday. My sister-in-law’s parents usually come bearing a carload of treats—freshly baked Italian bread, tomato pie, and sausage rolls—all from Napoli’s. They are native Uticans and like many locals, have developed a strong loyalty to one particular place.

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Napoli’s also sells dried sausage and Soppressata, homemade pasta, imported cheese and olives, calzones, subs, antipasto salads, and much more.

Roma Sausage & Deli

Just a minute away from Napoli’s,Roma Sausage & Deliis a hive of activity, with cars constantly pulling in and out of the busy parking lot.

In addition to operating as a deli and bakery, they are a sausage distributor and specialty grocery store. Comparatively, they sell the widest variety of products: imported cheese and salami, homemade pasta, fresh sausage and meatballs, imported dried goods, olives, subs, and of course, tomato pie and sausage rolls.

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Roma’s really brought back scenes from my childhood when, around Christmas, a huge metal lunk of a sausage-making machine would appear on our kitchen counter.

My parents and aunts and uncles would spend the day hand-cranking out homemade sausage links and sipping glasses of red wine poured from a giant jug. I also remember balls of cheese the size of cantaloupes hanging from our basement ceiling as they aged, much like Roma’s has hanging in their store.

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The tomato pie at Roma Sausage & Deli is a frequent winner at Utica’s Annual Tomato Pie Day, an event that provides an opportunity to taste for yourself who makes it best. The next Tomato Pie Day is on April 9, 2022 at the Parkway Recreation Center.

Bossone’s Sausage & Meat Co.

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I cannot recommend this Bleecker Street establishment enough when you want to grab some fresh meatballs or sausage to take home and throw in the frying pan. It makes for a quick dinner but one where you can be confident it will be fresh and delicious every time.

Bossone’s makes daily Italian specialties which are available until they’re sold out. Stop here for meatballs, sausage and peppers, hats and broccoli, lasagna, beef bracciole, and so much more. Bossone’s also caters parties and offers special holiday meals. To find out their specialties of the day, call 315-765-6409 or check their Facebook page.

The Best Italian Pastry Shops in Utica, NY

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For decadent local Italian desserts, go to the experts: Caruso’s Pastry Shoppe and Florentine Pastry Shop, both located on Bleecker Street just a few doors apart from each other.(Bossone’s is also located in this same row of shops).

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Again, loyalties to one or the other are deeply established in the community—the Florentine opened in 1928; Caruso’s in 1958—but I would happily eat a box or two of pastries from either.

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Both sell homemadepastaciotti, which are custard-filled Italian pastries known locallyas “pusties.”

Fillings vary from vanilla to chocolate to lemon. Also available at both shops are cannoli, cannoli cakes, cream puffs,Sfogliatelle, a large variety of Italian cookies, and so much more.

Since they’re located so close together, it’s easiest just to stop at both to close out your Italian food crawl.

Best of the Best: Our Recommendations

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As I mentioned, I’ve always eaten tomato pie, Italian sausage rolls, and pusties without really paying attention to where they came from. My reason for this is not that they are all the same but that, in Utica, they are all fantastically delicious and it matters little where they come from.

But, since we recently sampled these items more mindfully, Matt and I agreed that certain dishes rose to the top. If you absolutely had to limit yourself to only one item at each bakery, here’s what we recommend:

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  1. Rosa’s: The best fried bologna and hot pepper sandwich
  2. Napoli’s: The best sausage roll
  3. Roma: The best tomato pie
  4. Bossone’s Sausage & Meat Co.: Best for buying fresh sausage or meatballs to take home and cook.
  5. Caruso’s and Florentine: Not possible to list only one, sorry. Split your bounty with a chocolate, a vanilla, and a lemonpastiaciotto(“pusti”), a regular and a chocolate covered-cannoli, a variety of Italian cookies, and then…well, you’re on your own here since we recommend literally everything at both shops!

Reasons to Visit Utica’s Italian Bakeries

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Central New York is a haven for regional foods, which is a point of pride with residents. If you’re visiting, just like traveling in any new city, to know the food is to know a tiny piece of the culture.

I grew up in nearby Rome, NY, a city with its own collection of Italian restaurants but Utica has the higher concentration. If you’re just passing through Utica, most of the places listed here are not far off the New York State Thruway and worth a short detour.

A tomato pie actually makes a good car snack and I promise, it’s always a crowd pleaser.

Essential Information about Utica Bakeries and Delis

Always call ahead to be sure the items you want are still available at the time you plan on arriving.

  • Rosa’s Trattoria Italia Deli Bakery
  • 2644 Genesee Street, Utica
  • 315-721-7672
  • Eat-in or takeaway
  • See here for hours of operation
  • Napoli’s Italian Bakery & Deli
  • 412 Culver Avenue, Utica
  • 315-798-8709 or 315-735-5023
  • Takeaway only
  • See here for hours of operation
  • Roma Sausage & Deli
  • 2029 Bleecker Street, Utica
  • 315-792-1445
  • Takeaway only
  • Call for hours of operation
  • Bossone’s Sausage & Meat Co.
  • 711 Bleecker Street, Utica
  • 315-765-6409
  • Takeaway only
  • Call for hours of operation
  • Caruso’s Pastry Shop
  • 707 Bleecker Street, Utica
  • 315-735-9712
  • Eat-in or takeaway
  • Call for hours of operation
  • Florentine Pastry Shop
  • 667 Bleecker Street, Utica
  • 315-724-8032
  • Eat-in or takeaway
  • See here for hours of operation

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