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the highly competitive world of take-out pizza, River Pizza, owned by Georges
AbouAssali, has managed to carve out a highly successful niche for itself in the
far east end by sticking to two basic principles: never, ever sacrifice quality
and treat every single customer as if they were family.
AbouAssali is the owner/operator of River Pizza which has locations in Orléans
and Cumberland Village. Fred Sherwin/Photo
to those two basic cornerstones has made River Pizza
a favourite in the east end. In fact, River Pizza
was recently selected as the best pizza and service
in the east end in a survey of local pizza lovers.
Pizza owner and founder Georges AbouAssali has grown
the business from a small location in Cumberland Village
with no delivery service, to one of the most popular
pizza outlets in Orléans.
can still remember taking over the business from his brother-in-law when his sister
passed away in 1992.
had only been in Canada for a year when I bought the place. I knew nothing about
running a business and much less about making pizzas. I only knew that I wanted
to keep the place going for my sister," he says.
first I was really overwhelmed. I had no drivers and only one employee to help
out on weekends. I hade homemade recipes to learn and procedures to figure out.
What had I gotten myself into? So I called my mother to talk about it and she
reminded me of my many accomplishments in the Red Cross and the Scouts. She said,
'Just put your heart into it like you always do and you'll be successful'. Her
encouragement gave me the boost I needed to keep going."
first thing AbouAssali did was to introduce free delivery. The next thing he did
was to start selling himself. Whenever someone came into the pizzeria, he treated
them like gold. On the phone he was funny and personable. Before long business
started to pick up.
three months I had two cooks inside and three drivers outside. Business tripled,"
says AbouAssali who only remembers taking two weeks off between 1992 and 2000
for his honeymoon.
Pizza's primary territory for the first eight years was the former municipality
of Cumberland and especially Cumberland Village. It wasn't until 2001, when Georges
started getting calls from people in Orléans, that he thought about opening
a second location.
would call and ask for the pizza to be delivered to Orléans, but I couldn't chance
sending drivers out that far and risk losing customers in Cumberland. So when
I was offered this location beside Mr. Gas I took took the opportunity. We opened
on Wednesday, Nov. 11 , 2001. I had eight cooks inside and seven drivers outside.
Everyone told me I was crazy for preparing three days worth of dough and pizza
sauce, but by the end of the night it was all gone," says AbouAssali.
he hasn't looked back since. Along the way AbouAssali supported a long list of
individuals, community organizations, local businesses, schools and sports teams.
try to help whenever I can," he explains. "It's a blessing for me to
be able to give back to the community where I live, work and am raising my family."
the clients AbouAssali is most proud of are the kids from the nine local schools
that River Pizza provides hot lunches to.
are #1 with us. We treat them the same way we treat everybody else. Some places
cut back on ingredients and quality when serving schools because they think, 'Oh,
they're only kids.' But you know what? Kids are smart and they know what they
like; they demand good taste," says AbouAssali.
only do the kids that are served River Pizza get great taste, but they are also
benefitting from getting the proper nutrition that every child deserves. At River
Pizza, the dough and sauce is prepared fresh daily. They use only the freshest
and finest ingredients available from local farmers and merchants. River Pizza
is also a nut-free environment and measures well below fat and trans-fat standards
as outlined by Ontario school boards.
pizza isn't the only thing on the menu. At River Pizza they serve chicken wings
subs, donairs, sandwiches, burgers, appetizers and assorted salads. George also
prepares a homemade marinara sauce for his pasta dishes which include lasagna,
ravioli and spaghetti.
is free anywhere in Orléans and Cumberland on orders over $8 between 12 noon and
closing. The Orléans location, which can be reached by calling 613-841-4999, is
open Mon.-Thurs. from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri. and Sat. from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
and Sun. from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cumberland Village location, which can be reached
by calling 613-833-3133, is open Mon.-Wed. from 3
p.m. to 9 p.m.; Thurs. and Fri. from 11 a.m. to 11
p.m.; Sat. from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. from 3
p.m. to 9 p.m.
can vivit River Pizza's website at www.riverpizza.ca.
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