Cannelloni Bros. Fresh Pasta and Pizza remains well known in the Ottawa Valley. The company consists of two businesses, a wholesale endeavour where Mayer makes pasta in bulk for local stores, and a pizzeria, where he offers fresh pasta dishes, as well as pizzas. Courtesy Photo
Cannelloni Bros. Fresh Pasta and Pizza focuses on quality
MOOSE CREEK – “The lasagna is the flagship product. I make the noodles from scratch and the sauce,” Paul Mayer, owner of Cannelloni Bros. Fresh Pasta and Pizza said. “I think my emphasis is on making a quality product.”
It’s been 20 years since Mayer, with the help of his brother and silent partner Michael, took the leap into entrepreneurship in Moose Creek. While the company has evolved over the years, the name – Cannelloni Bros. Fresh Pasta and Pizza – remains well known in the Ottawa Valley. The company consists of two businesses, a wholesale endeavour where Mayer makes pasta in bulk for local stores, and a pizzeria, where he offers fresh pasta dishes, as well as pizzas.
“The pizzeria operates from Wednesday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” Mayer said. “Then on Wednesday and Thursday during the days, I make all the lasagna for the grocery stores and then on Friday morning I deliver.”
The pizzeria operates on a takeout basis at 16976 McLean Road in Moose Creek and a copy of the menu is available on Cannelloni Bros. Fresh Pasta and Pizza’s website (cbrospizza.com). The wholesale products, which include fresh homemade lasagna, cannelloni, and manicotti, can be purchased at Crysler General Store, St. Albert Cheese Factory, and Co-op Your Independent Grocer in Embrun.
“When I first started the business, it was just the fresh pasta,” Mayer said. “That was my sole intent was to make fresh pasta, and that was in 2002.”
Mayer’s mother is the one who taught him to make pasta from scratch. She also shared her mother’s recipe for pasta sauce with him. Mayer’s grandmother immigrated to Canada from Italy in 1957, bringing with her the now famous Cannelloni Bros. Fresh Pasta and Pizza pasta sauce recipe.
“I had my mom teach me how to make all the sauces and stuff,” he said, referring to the summer after high school when he attempted to run a food truck specializing in pasta. While that “was a flop,” it did give Mayer the knowledge and experience he needed when, years later, he found himself in the Cornwall area in need of employment.
A forester by trade, Mayer said forestry jobs at the time were scarce, so he decided to investigate working for himself. He said he noticed a need, especially in the Cornwall area, for freshly made Italian-based foods. He bought an old church in Moose Creek and renovated it, creating a kitchen large enough to make fresh homemade pasta for his wholesale business.
“This is what I grew up eating,” he said. “I still make ravioli and manicotti. The sauce is the same way I remember it.”
Pizza wasn’t added to the menu, or the name, until a neighbour suggested it. There was no pizzeria in Moose Creek at the time and the one South of Maxville would soon be closing. So, Mayer visited the Maxville pizzeria owner who then taught him everything he knew about making pizza.
“I went and saw him, and he taught me how to make the pizza,” Mayer said. “So, then I started doing the pizza and the pasta at the same time.”
Mayer said he spends roughly 50 hours per week running Cannelloni Bros. Fresh Pasta and Pizza. He said his focus is not on expanding, but in being the best at what he’s doing now.
“For now, it’s kind of just finding a nice balance. I’m not looking to expand. It’s a one-and-a-half-man operation. The challenges get a little bigger, you need more staff. There’s nothing wrong with being at a happy spot,” he said. “I’m very fortunate and I count my blessings every day, that’s for sure. Especially with COVID-19, I was really fortunate because I was just doing take-out and so my business wasn’t really affected. If anything, I saw an increase.”
While nothing is set in stone, Mayer said he’s been thinking of ways to celebrate this year’s milestone anniversary later this year. To learn more about Cannelloni Bros. Fresh Pasta and Pizza, visit their website (cbrospizza.com) and follow them on Facebook. To contact Mayer, phone (613-538-5858) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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