By Megan Sheehan
Photos by Steven J. Pallone
Ahoy! Load the family in the car or better yet, pack everyone up in the boat! Let’s head on up north! Oneida Lake has a spectacular way to make you feel worlds away from home. A short drive transports you to any resembling vacation spot hundreds of miles away. I believe there’s always a bit of where you’re from engrained inside each of us no matter where life takes you. Thankfully for us here in Syracuse, Cheryl Barsom, a Massachusetts native, has joined forces with culinary extraordinaire Donna DiRaddo to bring us a unique dining out experience on the water you will cherish.
The two began as work acquaintances, DiRaddo as executive chef, and Barsom as a bartender and manager. Their journey linked together at Lakeshore Yacht and Country Club and included learning from Karen White. Their chemistry sparked and in 2013, after a few more locations, they answered their own question of “Why don’t we just do this on our own?” by opening up their first shop. Barado’s Café became an intimate spot where they were able to create a high-end level of fine dining. They received rave reviews and caught the eye and taste buds of the Bradbury family, who owned the marina up the street. It seemed their boathouse-turned-restaurant needed some new life breathed into it. After a walk around and a bottle of wine, they were talking menus and visualizing where tables would go. The Lady Barado accepted the Bradburys’ offer and like a shot, they were on their way home.
These BFFs pair like any savory delight. Though both are owners, Barsom is the face of the business. With a bachelor’s degree, she is prepared, focused and determined. She has a smile that cannot be contained when she is able to express her plans for future updates. She was quick to admit DiRaddo during her dreamy thoughts: “I want to soar, but she keeps me grounded.”
DiRaddo is the cuisine master who keeps the menu fresh, seasonal, and with that “Pop!” required to keep things exciting.
DiRaddo is driven, anchored, and takes a modest pride in her belly-filling creations.
The passion for food comes through equally from both. While explaining their top dishes of fish tacos, using grilled Mahi Mahi, or their Ruby Shrimp, which can almost have its own phone line from hungry guests, or their classic Maine lobster roll on a toasted brioche, they were both in dream-like states. Their pride on the real, traditional take on seafood is what really makes them shine. There are no shortcuts or quick tricks!
Their passion doesn’t stop at the tasty and delicious, mind you. Their décor could get Barry Manilow to spend a weekend here. There is a beautiful twinkle-lit deck with sea rope stretched across the edge to keep onlookers from getting too close to the water’s edge. A locally made boat canvas enclosure gives shelter to anyone enjoying the great outdoors while still being protected from any elements. And of course, there’s a stage for local bands to play on Thursday and Saturday nights, as well as a whimsical Tiki bar. All in all, there is seating for 200, inside and out.
Barado’s has a dedicated staff of 50. Proud of their crew, Cheryl spoke kindly, singling out head bartender, Ericka, and day chef, Ted.
“It’s important to us to let them know how valuable they are to us,” she said. “I can’t do it alone, and neither can Donna. I don’t want to do it alone”.
Barado’s on the Water, located at 57 Bradbury Road, Central Square, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 .m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, with extended bar hours. Boats and families welcome!