Big Dreams of Small Plates
By Shweta Karikehalli | Photography by Steven J. Pallone
Nestled in between other local establishments like Pizza Man and Mohegan Manor, Dani’s Dessert & Wine Bar is a small but inviting addition to the streets of downtown Baldwinsville. Owner Tammy Panebianco, a veteran in the restaurant business, left her previous operation to follow her dream of opening a tapas place, leading her to open Dani’s in May 2016.
“Before owning Dani’s, I worked for a corporate restaurant for 13 years and I wanted to do something different that was on my bucket list,” Tammy said, adding that although it was hard to leave the security of her job, she was drawn to owning a place of her own. “I just didn’t want to have regrets.”
Tammy was inspired by her nephew’s dessert and wine bar downtown, as well as another tapas place in Syracuse at the time, Laci’s Tapas Bar. She decided to put the two concepts together and create a place for people to relax and enjoy a drink and some small plates to share. Since she’s very close with her daughter, Dani, Dani’s Dessert & Wine Bar was the perfect name.
Visiting her sister-in-law in Baldwinsville helped her choose the right location. She liked that the up-and-coming area was away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Syracuse. The moment she stepped inside the building on Oswego Street, she was in love, she said.
“Between loving the building and the location, I knew I had to have it for Dani’s,” Tammy said.
Dani’s features an extensive wine list — from locations such as Chile, California, Washington and Italy — supplied by Southern Wines. There are primarily New York craft beers on tap, which Tammy switches up every three months.
In addition, there’s a delicious tapas menu. Popular items on the Dani’s menu include the salmon crostini with cream cheese, capers and pears; pierogi with sour cream and bacon bits; and risotto balls with marinara.
“I think people like it because they can get a variety,” Tammy said. “They like being able to munch on little plates instead of having a huge meal. When I go out with my girlfriends, we always split a couple of plates.”
Tammy said her customers enjoy the personal feel of her restaurant, describing it as “quaint, Zen and serene.” Guests are drawn to the European-style outdoor patio because of the tall, vine-covered brick walls, warm colors, hanging lights and fire pit, Tammy said.
“A lot of women will come here by themselves and feel comfortable coming here, and it’s a great date place,” Tammy said. “People say they feel like they’re in a different country when they’re out on the patio.”
Owning Dani’s has kept Tammy too busy to think of another location for now, but she hasn’t ruled it out for the future. In the meantime, she looks forward to continually making improvements and creating the best experience for her patrons. Though Tammy primarily runs the business on her own, she said none of it would have been possible without the support of her family, friends and customers.
“My family and friends came in and helped me with everything,” she said, citing her boyfriend, future son-in-law and friends as huge assets. “It was stressful at times, but it was worth it to see how much the customers enjoy it.” SWM
Dani’s Dessert & Wine Bar is located at 56 Oswego St. in Baldwinsville. The restaurant is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and closed Sunday. For more information, visit danisbville.com or facebook.com/Danisdessertbar, or call (315) 303-0321.