Rustic Bakery in North York is totally family-operated, originally opened by husband and wife Francesco and Mirella Loiero.
Mirella runs the show, with her brothers Danny and Sam helping out with managing the store.
Aside from the cannoli, she says some of their most popular products include their tiramisu, lasagna, stone oven bread, sfoglia cakes, pizza, coffee and imported Italian grocery products.
“We make everything fresh from scratch and still implement the old school Italian traditions,” Victoria Loiero, Mirella’s daughter-in-law, tells blogTO. She’s married to Mirella’s youngest son, Joey, who is the pastry chef at the bakery.
“When we first opened the bakery we started making cannolis right away as it is a very popular Italian dessert. We make the filling from fresh ricotta and fresh ingredients from an original old-school recipe.”
They also make their own gelato and have a popular hot table with savoury items like porchetta and arancini that people swear by.
Sadly, people were unable to access their hot table during lockdowns, but Rustic Bakery has come out the other side better than ever.
“It was very challenging knowing our business wasn’t producing the way it usually does,” says Victoria.
“But, as a family, it made us stronger and we learned how to cope with the neighbourhood and helped people who were scared get through those hard times.”
Ultimately, it was the commitment of their regulars that kept and continue to keep them in business.
“We wouldn’t say the area has changed,” says Victoria. “The bakery has grown with the neighbourhood and community of people around it.”
“People and their kids from 20 years ago are still visiting knowing it has never changed and it is such a big part of their memory forever. Coming to Rustic Bakery is like a family tradition and a place that most people call their second home.”