Profiles
Rick Nixon, Itza Ristorante & Pizzeria, Nelson, B.C. www.nelsonpizza.ca
Starting a new business is never easy. For Marina Rondinelli, owner of Rondo’s Pizza Plus in Bright’s Grove, Ont., getting her restaurant up and running proved to be riddled with more challenges than she’d expected.
The only word in the English language that Moe Atallah, owner of Moe’s World Famous Newport Restaurant in Ottawa, doesn’t know is the word “no.” This quote, a local Ottawa joke, can be interpreted in different ways.
Pasqualino Oliveri is explaining what makes a good pizza when he stops and says, “I talk too much.” Talking is good, I assure with a laugh, talk away. This is an interview, after all. He continues in well-articulated English accented by the musicality of the Italian mother tongue. Eyes lit and sentences punctuated by smiles, Oliveri’s enthusiasm for a life in pizza is about as hidden as a giraffe on an ant farm.
Two years ago, Mike Jeffs and Nicole Welsh’s landlord offered them additional space in the building where they already operated a successful tapas restaurant.
It’s generally accepted that New York Style pizza in Toronto was born when the Pugliese family opened the doors of Vesuvio in 1957, making this restaurant the oldest pizza place in Canada’s biggest city.
Vancouverites are enjoying wickedly good pizza that may soon be tempting new customers in other Canadian cities.
They always said if you work in the kitchen you’ll never starve.” Adrien Vachon, owner of Fat Cat’s pizzeria in Welland, Ont., explains his start in the food business with the same simplicity with which he approached opening his own shop with his wife Kelly.
For Agostino’s pizzeria, home is a 900-square-foot restaurant nestled in a little strip mall in the St. James area of Winnipeg.
It’s no surprise Dave Housman disliked his career in computer science, considering it was a far cry from the pizzaiolo life that beckoned in the background.
Madanto pizzeria lies nestled in the heart of the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood of Toronto, its colourful storefront facing a shopping hub and movie theatre.
A poor location and limited restaurant experience sounds like a combo destined for disaster. This is exactly the predicament Jeff Hughes, an ordained minister, found himself in after relocating from Ontario to the Maritimes to be closer to his wife’s family and children’s grandparents. A conversation with a landlord turned into an offer to buy a pizzeria – one that had had three owners in the past five years. The pizza store is the third restaurant to occupy the site in Riverview, N.B. Still, Hughes took his vision for Diesel Pizza & Wings and jumped in.
Authentic seems to be the current darling of restaurant trends but, for many establishments, it’s easier said than done. After all, does it really make sense to serve wine in tumblers and adorn the table with paper napkins if customers don’t have ample context to appreciate the gesture? What if your market relies on a significant number of international tourists? Through what lens will they view authentic? It can be a challenging balance to strike, but for The Grand Pizzeria and Bar in Ottawa, Ont., it’s a matter of heart, mind and appetite.
Combine two food lovers with a passion for pizza and a market thick with world-renowned dining options and one might argue that opening a pizzeria is ill-advised. Pizzeria Prima Strada’s owners, Geoffrey and Cristen DeCarolis Dallas, noticed some “white space” in a Victoria, B.C., culinary scene sorely lacking an authentic neighborhood pizzeria. The Dallas’ envisioned a place you can walk to with your family and friends and have a great food experience. They set about creating a warm, inviting environment where patrons could see their food being made and enjoy an authentic Italian experience that celebrated the best in local ingredients.
In a fast-paced world of instant gratification and corporate domination, Dimitri Neonakis’ successful throw-back to the family-oriented pizza business demonstrates that the old charm of the ma and pa pizza store is alive and well.

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