A legendary Syracuse joint served “hot beer” and “cold food”. Of course there is now a cookbook


Some restaurants pride themselves on being “refined”. Others claim to be the “best” in town.

At the legendary Arturo’s in Eastwood, they proclaimed themselves proud to be purveyors of “decent” Italian food.

And now, 28 years after Arturo’s Decent Italian Food closed, there’s a cookbook to showcase everything that made the place, well, … OK.

It is of course called “Arturo’s ‘decent’ Italian cookbook”. It includes recipes like the famous Bad Breath Bonanza, a dish of steamed clams and mussels “dipped in a garlic butter sauce for a smell you can’t refuse.”

There are also recipes for sauces and pasta, pizzas, sandwiches (or sangwidges) and even dishes that don’t seem so Italian, like Sauerbraten, Beef Stroganoff, and Creole Shrimps. (See some recipes below)

The book is the project of Brian Belge, son of the late Art “Arturo” Belge, who ran the restaurant from 1958 to 1990 in Eastwood, then from 1990 to 1993 in Mattydale. Art Belge died in 2016 at the age of 83.

The right cookbook is available now on Amazon.com, and there will be a signature, as well as a few samples of Arturo’s favorite dishes at a special event on December 18 at the Marketplace on James in Eastwood. (See details below).

The cookbook is actually the second in what you might call an Arturo series. Art Belge wrote a kind of dissertation entitled “Warm Flat Beer” in 2015, with the help of Brian. It was a collection of funny and absurd stories that Art wrote about his life, most of them first printed as columns in the pages of Table jump magazine.

More humor and spirit of Belgian Art are exposed in the cookbook, as well as its recipes. (Brian added some of his own anecdotes.)

“These are mostly stories about growing up in the restaurant business,” said Brian Belge. “So really, it’s about the restaurant, the stories and the food. “

Brian grew up with six sisters and all of them were put to work at Arturo.

“The fifteen Belgian children (okay, seven – but they seemed to be more) worked in the restaurant with their father since they were little things until they walked one by one towards the bright lights from Albany ”, one of the anecdotes begins. “… They were working for cheap. As Arturo himself said, they were well worth the dough.

All recipes in the book are based on those designed by Art himself. The biggest problem is compiling the recipes in a cookbook and narrowing them down for home cooking, said Brian Belge.

“It was long and difficult to take pizza recipes for 200 and bring them down to six,” said Brian Belge. “Or a sauce for 50 (servings) and reduce it to six.”

But the spirit of Art lives in the recipes. In a section of the cookbook titled “Art speaks for itself,” he answers the question, “Do you have any ricotta? “

His answer :

“Let me put it like that. No. You see, I personally designed every recipe down to the smallest pinch and dash; enhancing the menu with my unique, Arturian touch; and I based my decisions purely on the whims. of an impartial panel: me.

“That’s why all the lasagna recipes in the world say you have to eat ricotta, except mine. I never cared about this stuff, so in my lasagna you don’t need the ricotta – you must not make ricotta. “

It seemed to work, said Tom Gillies, who worked in the kitchen at Arturo’s for several years, became a longtime friend of Art’s and served as a taste tester for the cookbook recipes.

Along with pizza and clam dishes, “lasagna has always been one of Arturo’s most popular dishes,” said Gillies.

When it comes to pizza, the new cookbook explains one thing about how they did it at Arturo: “Don’t throw away your dough! is the title of a chapter. (They spread it out in a well-seasoned pizza pan).

“The art was handy with the recipes and the cooking in the kitchen,” said Gillies. “And then he was also in the dining room telling stories. Art belonged to Arturo in every way.

Brian Belge said the book is primarily aimed at those who remember Art and Arturo and share a passion for the good old days in Eastwood.

“There is no doubt that there are people who have fond memories,” he said. “This nostalgia is what we rely on. “

Book signing

When: Departure at 11:30 am, Saturday. December 18

Or: Marketplace on James, 2802 James St., Eastwood. (This is a new craft market, with a kitchen serving lunch).

Details: Brian Belge will discuss and sign copies of Arturo’s “Decent” Italian Cookbook ”. The books will sell for $ 18, a discount from the Amazon price. Friends of Belgian Art, Tom and Denise Gillies, will serve Arturo’s favorite dishes in the kitchen.


Editor’s Note: The recipes in Arturo’s “Decent” Italian Cookbook “are, like Arturo himself, a bit eccentric.

spaghetti sauce

Repeat (ingredients)

12 cups (4 cans, 28-0 z) chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cups (2 x 6 oz cans) tomato paste

4 cups of pepper broth (note) or vegetable broth

2 cups of sausage juice; sub-butter or oil if you must

1/2 cup olive oil

1 stick (1/4 pound) butter, melted

2 tablespoons of basil

1 tablespoon of oregano

1 tablespoon of sugar

2 tablespoons of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of black peppers

Performance (directions)

1. Combine the first six elements (wet stuff) in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

2. Smush basil, oregano with mortar and pestle

3. Add basil, oregano, garlic, sugar to the wet stuff

4. Whisk it, check for lumps, whisk more

5. Stir constantly until a soft bubble is obtained; heat drop down; cook, covered, 30 minutes

6. Taste for acidity; add sugar if desired

(To note) The art speaks: Pepper broth: Cut the peppers, put the trimmings in a mesh bag at the bottom of the steamer; cover with water; steamed peppers in the basket above; use the broth in the sauce; put peppers on the pizza.

Lasagna, Sloppy

First make Arturo’s spaghetti sauce (above)

Cook the noodles al dente – Scoop them up with tongs while they cook, letting them drop one by one into the pan to prevent them from sticking to each other.

A lasagna noodle strip is a noodle cut to length from your lasagna dish.

No ricotta. So you have to put in a lot of mozzarella and Roman parmesan to make up for it.

Add MORE spaghetti sauce to this bambina – that’s what makes it sloppy.

Assembly: work from bottom to top


Lots of spaghetti sauce on top

Lasagna noodles: For individual, 4 strips | For casserole dish, 4 strips

Parm-Romano: For individual, 2 tablespoons | For the pan, 1 1/2 cups

Mozzarella: For individual, 3 ounces | For casserole, 12 ounces

Lasagna Noodles: For individual, 3 strips | For casserole dish, 8 strips

Spaghetti Sauce: For individual, 1/2 cup | For the casserole dish, 3 cups

Mozzarella: For individuals, NONE | For casserole, 12 ounces

Crumbled Pizza Sausage: For Individual, 3 oz | For the pan, 1 pound

Lasagna Noodles: For individual, 3 strips | For casserole dish, 8 strips

Water: For individual, 2 ounces | For the pan, 1 cup


Don Cazentre writes for NYup.com, syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Reach it at [email protected], or follow him on NYup.com, to Twitter Where Facebook.


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