The Pastabilities Are Endless

The Pastabilities Are Endless

A Food Review by a Hungry Student
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Being a student at SU, our food sources are very limited. Dining halls are average, and there aren’t too many “hot spots” around town. However, there is one place whose name I always seem to hear…

Opened in 1982 by Karyn Kortelig, Pastabilities has become one of Syracuse New York’s most popular restaurants. Open for over 35 years, this Italian-inspired pasta shop has seen so much success, it has even been featured on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show.

After hearing such great things about Pastabilities, I knew exactly where to bring my father when he came to the city for a visit. Having been to Syracuse many times before, my father had actually eaten at Pastabilities before. He had nothing but wonderful things to say about the restaurant and was excited to go.

We pulled up to, what my father described as the “usually overflowing” entrance, and I went inside to put our names on the list while he parked the car. Upon entering the restaurant I felt a rustic, artisan vibe.

Art is made here.

Luckily, we didn’t have to wait for more than five minutes, but my dad recalled times of having to wait upwards of forty minutes. However, he said that people never seemed to mind waiting to eat at Pastabilities. He said that they would sit at the steel-topped bar and enjoy specialty drinks, and order appetizers to pass the time.

People liked being at Pastabilities. It’s not just about the food. When we were walking through the restaurant to our seats, there was a live jazz trio playing music. People like being at Pastabilities. It’s about the people.


When it came time to order, my dad wouldn’t stop talking about this spicy tomato sauce they have. He put in a request for it before our waitress even had the chance to introduce herself. The waitress knew exactly what my crazy father was raving about, and smiled.

She nodded and headed into the kitchen. My dad didn’t say anything or stop smiling until the dish came out. The dish was really titled, “Spicy Tomato Oil”, and it tasted exactly how it sounds. Paired with a basket of fresh bread from their bakery across the street, the sauce is sweet and spicy.

It’s oily but has a saucy base with chunks of fresh tomato and garlic. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drooling writing about it now. The two of us polished off the bread and the oil, and I was eager to order my entree.



For dinner, I decided to order the “Homemade Cheese Ravioli”. Inside this ravioli pasta are ricotta and aged provolone. On top of the ravioli is half of their marinara sauce, and half of their hot tomato oil, a combination in which they call, 50/50 sauce.

The pasta itself was cooked to perfection. After researching Pastabilities, I know that they cook their pasta differently than most Italian restaurants. I loved it. The cheese inside the ravioli was fluffy and delicious. It was creamy and sweet, with a little bit of salt.

The sauce was the perfect ratio of sweet and spicy, but there was way too much of it. My poor ravioli was drowning in 50/50 sauce. However, I was able to play lifeguard and still enjoy them.



As for my father, he decided to order the “Fresh Basil-Walnut Pesto Pasta.” What attracted him to this dish was the Locatelli cheese. My dad is a huge Locatelli guy. He gasped when the waitress put the pasta down in front of him and begged like a puppy while I took the photo to the right.

He loved this meal. No leftovers. There were no leftovers for either of us, but he had had a “big lunch” that day. My dad said everything about his pasta was delicious; The pesto, the noodles, the cheese, they were all brilliant.



Not only did we find a hotspot, but my father and I found “our place” in Syracuse. If anyone is bored of their usual dining routine, Pastabilities is a reasonably priced, gourmet, nice restaurant to go to with friends, family or maybe even on a date. The food is great and the vibe is cool. Pastabilities, you have my approval!



Cover Image Credit: Katie Napell

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I'm The Customer That Doesn't Always Tip 20 Percent

I can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, but it depends on YOU.
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As a server, I fully understand that myself, and others like me, make a living off of our tips.

I know how nice it is to get a $50 tip and how frustrating it is to get merely change when you did everything you could to make the unpleasable table happy. I am well aware that an acceptable tip is anywhere from 15-20% and I typically tip way over that.
However, I can easily say that there have been times where I have tipped anywhere from 5-15%. In these times, the tip was well deserved...or not deserved.

As before mentioned, I am a server, bartender, and part-time restaurant manager. It is safe to say that I know the business quite well. This makes me aware of the tipping process and what is deemed acceptable, but it also makes me aware of what a serving job entails. We are, without a doubt, the worst critics when we are out to eat. We noticed everything you did or didn't do and we timed how long it took to get our drinks -- it's just in our blood.

We also notice if you are genuinely good at your job, or if you are just there to be there.

The key point to any serving job is knowledge. I, as a customer, expect you to be able to answer almost all of my questions. If I ask you something absurd like "exactly where was your lettuce grown?" ....Like what the f****? Who knows that? But when I ask what beers you have on draft, or what all comes on a salad, I expect you to know it. If you don't, I dock it off your tip. No, it's not mean, it's you not holding up your end of the deal when you started this job.

I know that sometimes you get busy and it's hard to cater to someone's every need, but I do expect my refills in a timely manner and would also expect you to check back with me shortly after I get my food to make sure everything tastes good. I feel like that all is just common sense. If I have to wait for five minutes with an empty glass before I even have the chance to call you over, that's going to affect your tip. If you never check up on me after I get my food, guess what, I take it off your tip. If something goes wrong in the kitchen or you forgot to put my order in, do not avoid me. Tell me. I know how hard it is to tell a table that you are the one who screwed up their experience, but it is so much better to be honest and shows more about your integrity than by saying, "I don't know, the kitchen lost your ticket. There was a computer malfunction and then things caught fire. The firemen had to come and put it out, and then they found your ticket under the smoldering embers...so that's why your steak is five minutes late.".... Just tell me you got busy and it slipped your mind. I'm okay with that.

The worst one to me is when I see my server on her phone. I know that today's generation has some need to be in contact with everyone 24/7 and I have learned to accept that. But when I need something at my table, and you fail to notice because your girl friend just broke up with her boyfriend who cheated on her with his supposed best friend...I'm not going to be happy. You are here to work and this is your job. And, not to be conceded, but I come first. I am the one paying the bill that allows you to keep that phone your on in service, so make sure that I am happy before Samantha can't call you the next time shit hits the fan with Andrew. It's common sense.

Despite all of these, probably the number one thing I look for in a server is a positive attitude. We all have our own lives outside of work, and not to be cold, but I don't really care about yours. I am here for a nice dinner and a night out to not worry about my own crazy life let alone wonder about yours. As soon as you walk into work, the outside world needs to stay there. Do not be in a terrible mood because your girlfriend is psycho. Do not show the customer that you simply don't want to be at work. You don't want to be -- I don't tip you. Easy as that. If you engage in even a small conversation with me, I will tip you more than expected. I am extremely easy to please and really understanding.

I know that every place is different and every store/restaurant has different standards, but I the guest-service industry all lies on the same guidelines. The number one rule is to make the guest happy. I am not that guest who asks for the world from my server. Nor am I that guest who doesn't tip my server if my food came out overcooked or doesn't taste good. I know what lies on the server and what lies in other areas of the store. I know what they can and can't control.
As a customer, I can be your best or your worst, but that all lies on the service that I receive from YOU.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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