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The legendary bakery on Syracuse's Northside

For 116 years, Syracuse's Columbus Bakery has tried to remain true to the traditions of making Italian bread.

Italian bread isn't the only thing the Columbus Bakery has served up for more than a century.

To the owner of the legendary Northside Syracuse establishment, the bakery offers authenticity and international flair.

"It's 116 years old; I want it to look 116 years old," Jimmy Retzos said. "It's an old throw back era."

Retzos has purposely kept Columbus' same four basic ingredients -- water, flour, yeast and salt -- in use since bread was first baking there in 1897.

"If it's not broken, we won't fix it."
- Owner Jimmy Retzos

"If it's not broken, we won't fix it," Retzos said. "One thing my father taught me was don't change it ... don't change it, keep it the same.

"I didn't change it ... (and) that's what I will tell my son, too."

The bakery, which is located on Pearl Street, has a simple set-up with stacks of freshly baked Italian bread behind the front counter. Nearby, workers are pounding dough and sliding the loaves into the ovens that date back decades.

Cashier Jessica Thi Riha estimated that the bakery sells a few hundred loaves on weekdays and about 1,000 loaves each weekend day. Leftover bread is given a discounted price the following day, and any bread that is more than two days old is donated to local churches.

The bakery's history is equally as rich, with a cultural heritage that began with the seven Italian men who opened the tiny shop. From there, a Greek owner eventually took over and the bakery has been passed down within the Retzos family ever since.

Retzo said the diversity of Greeks, Macedonians and Cubans among its employees creates an international community with the shop.

"I don't care what nationality you are," Retzos said. "We sing, we argue, we drink, we do everything here, but the bread is still good."

Finding Italian bread in Syracuse

Click on the "loaves" below to find local bakeries, including Columbus Bakery, that offer Italian bread.

View Syracuse's Best Italian Bread in a larger map

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