By: JOHN ANASTASI The Intelligencer
January 08, 2010
The Cannoli Coffee Bar & Gelateria in Bristol closed last week, a little more than two years after it opened.
Maryanne Lalli said she wanted to make the Cannoli Coffee Bar & Gelateria in Bristol a fun and friendly shop that brought something special to the community she loves.
"We accomplished everything we set out to do - except make money," Lalli said Thursday.
Cannoli's closed last week, just over two years since Lalli and her husband Mike brought gelato, a traditional Italian dessert, to Radcliffe Street. The business was a hybrid gelato and coffee shop that also sold pastries, cookies and other treats.
"The first year, we did well, maybe because we were a new business," Lalli said. "People came in and promised they'd come back. Everyone loved the gelato. It'd show on their faces when they tasted something they'd never tasted before."
But, she said, the store was hurt by a tough economy, which contributed to funding shortfalls that forced the borough to stop holding First Night celebrations after 2007, and persistent cool, damp weather.
"It takes capital to open a business," said Lalli, who explained that she had taken loans to get started. "The weather didn't help when it rained 21 days in June (2009). We were seeing it (business) go down (after the first year) and then spring came and it was a washout."
Lalli is looking for a buyer interested in taking over the business. She said she'd be happy to stay on through the transition period to train the new owner and employees.
"I'm looking for someone with the same goals + someone who can take it over and who believes in Bristol," she said. "Small family businesses are the backbone of America and we can't lose that."
Rich Vallejo, who heads the Bristol Borough Business Association, said he was sorry to see Lalli go.
"She ran a clean, beautiful business + and the product was absolutely wonderful," he said.
But the store probably would have fared better on Mill Street in a larger location that included more seating for customers, which would have helped the business on rainy days, he added.
"It was a great store that was in a bad location and I think it was too small," said Vallejo.
Lalli said she appreciated the support of the customers who patronized Cannoli's and who have been approaching her with encouraging words since the business closed.
"They weren't just customers," said Lalli, who added that many lingered to chat after their purchases. "We knew their names. It wasn't a 'here's your coffee, thanks and bye' situation. They believed in us and in a small family business and that's something we're very grateful for."
John Anastasi can be reached at 215-949-4170 or at janastasi@phillyBurbs.com.
Borough boasts desserts that speak Italiano
by Cate Murway
Italy has incredibly rich pastry traditions, something for everyone and every occasion!
Step into the peaches ‘n cream painted shop that creates the desserts that speak Italiano!
Traditions and loving tributes to the authentic old world recipe desserts the family has enjoyed for generations are upheld with great zest in the Lalli household. These loving and friendly folks prize family history and love communal activities, feeling an abundance of pride in their Italian upbringing.
The Italian-inspired, family owned and operated Cannoli coffee bar & gelateria café, freshly stocked with heavenly combinations of casual and delicious voluptuous treats, opened at 2:00 p.m. on Black Friday, traditionally the day on which retailers are in the black [turn a profit].
All of Bristol has been tremendously supportive. President of Bristol Borough Council, Ralph DiGuiseppe, Jr. welcomed and supported their idea. The Borough manager, James Dillon offered, “If you need anything, call us. We’re here to help.” Her business mentors have been Donnie Petolillo, owner of “Cesare’s Italian Specialties Ristorante” [the closest thing to home cooking!] and Bob Angelaccio, owner of Annabella’s. BHS students stop in for a super snack and the BHS Mock Trial participants, coaches and advisors enjoy the chocolate hazelnut gelato treat.
BHS Social Studies teacher/cross country & bowling coach, Ronald Brian McGinn has used Cannoli gift certificates for contest prizes.The Lalli family is so thankful and hope that their business is a way to give back to the community.
Maryanne Carla [Fregoni] Lalli, Pennsbury H.S. ’77 most recently was a highly qualified paraprofessional instructional aid, providing potent and constructive influence for many students. At one time, she owned her own hair and nail studio business, “Dazzles” in Bensalem and was an enthusiastic Cheer coach and Advisor, exhibiting her spirit and dedication for the BHS programs.
She sampled her first chai tea; a great spice milk tea on South Street and her dream was born. She even invested in the “Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting and Running a Coffee Bar”, all the dirt on what it’s really like to work behind the counter and information on everything from how to build a business plan. Her goal to own her own cafe was sealed during the family trip to Italy. A cousin Mario took her out for a melone [cantaloupe] gelato [it’s still, her favorite!] and that was it. Zia [Aunt] Palmina, her mom’s first cousin, pulled out a tray of homemade cannoli and cream puffs for them to enjoy. Italian people are so warm and friendly. She fell in love with the ice cream, the people, the food and the complete deal!
The whole family, who takes great pleasure in the comforts of home and kin, including daughter, Adriana Victoria Lalli, BHS ‘07/ LaSalle University ‘11 and son, Michael P. Lalli, Attorney at Law, BHS ’99 and Temple University, Beasley School of Law ’06, exhibits lots of charm, appeal and attraction and share tenacious and strong-willed characteristics.
Maryanne Lalli says, “mille grazie” to her entire family for her inspiring childhood and heritage and all their help! She lives for today, a carefree philosopher with imagination!
Her chief Gelato maker husband, Michael N. Lalli, BHS ’76 and Temple University ’80, Psychology/Social Studies/Economics teacher/coach @ BHS; daughter, Erica Frances Lalli, BHS ’01/Temple University ’06/ Chestnut Hill College, M.Ed, a Special Education 9th grade Math & Career teacher at the state-of-the-art comprehensive Bucks County Technical High School, Fairless Hills, who praises her mom for “being a risk taker”; and her manager, a stockbroker, Sarah [Petto] [her husband is Maryanne’s nephew/Godson Dan Snyder] have all assisted from day #1. Erica’s boyfriend, local artist, Thomas Rudesyle, a BHS grad [T.R. Designs] who repainted the Bristol Wharf lettering, painted the store, created the logo for their sienna rust shirts and the signage, and displays his artwork in the shop for decoration and “for sale”. Electrician, Uncle Rich Tosti, “lights up their life” and helped them renovate the former “Unique Lending” office for their gelato business. Mother-in law, Josephine “Jo” Elizabeth [Tosti] Lalli, BHS ’50 [husband, Ralph Francis], the retired longtime BRT Business Manager who still hosts the Bristol Riverside Theatre staff Christmas parties, painstakingly prepares the traditional Italian desserts. Words simply cannot describe the delicious homemade tastes you are about to experience.
“Questi dessert Italiani sono squisiti!”
The crisp, delicately fried pastry shells [singular is cannolo, meaning “little tube”] filled with an authentic Sicilian recipe of sweetened and flavored ricotta cheese, was a treat always proudly provided on special occasions by her coalminer dad, Levittown resident, Francis Joseph [Frank] and her late mom, Carmella Sandra [Pancerella] Fregoni. Originating in the Palermo area [principal city and administrative seat of the autonomous region of Sicily, Italy], cannoli were historically prepared as a treat during Carnevale, the revels people held to steel themselves for the privations of Lent. The pure ricotta cheeses, whole eggs, enriched flour and imported flavorings concoction quickly became a year-round staple indulgence. Few desserts are as entwined with Italian American culture as the cannoli.
Are there gourmet treats that your family loved and served during the Holidays that you cannot seem to find? Forgotten delicacies and clever variations on perennial favorites of the Italian table are superbly presented to whet anyone’s fancy!
For even the most disciplined, it is hard to say no to all the delicious temptations that await you in the “cute little, quaint little, tiny little, warm” Cannoli corner.
Mad about muffins? Nutritious homemade banana-nut and cranberry-orange muffins, fresh out of the oven, are perfect for “breaking the fast”, and go hand-in-hand with a rich and quite refreshing cup of exclusive rich roasted Illy coffee, produced in Trieste, Italy or a steamy, frothy cappuccino. Or you can “scarf down” a delicious blueberry or cranberry scone. Americans are becoming hip to something that Italians have known for some time- coffee can be a specialty drink. Cappuccino has a sweet, smooth taste that is irresistible. Breakfast can “jump start” your day.
Ubiquitous Italian cookies, vital to Italian-American celebrations, are also ideal for a simple snack or for dessert with fruit or ice cream. Even when you say you simply don’t have room for dessert, you have room for a cookie! There are commercial versions, but once you have had a homemade original hard and slightly sweet or savory twice baked Lalli’s Legendary Biscotti, there is no comparison! The subtle sweetness is from flavors such as anise, almonds or just a touch of molasses.
Grab a spoon and indulge in a giant serving of Gelato! In “The Art of Eating Well” [L'Artusi, as the book is called in Italy], retired silk merchant, Pellegrino Artusi, the late dean of Italian gastronomes says that the Italians invented the “art of chilling”. He notes that the ice creams Caterina de'Medici's Florentine chefs served the Parisian court in the 1530’s caused considerable sensation.
Using an imported from Italy gelato making machine and the elegant and functional Oscartielle #1 specialty display case, they churn out the amazing variety of made fresh daily on premises flavors in astonishing quantity to satisfy the demand. Much of the artisan [high-up-there gelato, made from scratch] gelato experience lies in its consistency. Often improvisational in spirit, the made fresh daily semi-frozen extravagant treat is typically made with fresh fruit or other ingredients such as chocolate (pure chocolate, flakes, chips, etc.), nuts, small confections or cookies, or biscuits. Like high-end ice cream, gelato generally has less than 35% air, resulting in a dense and extremely flavorful product but with less fat and less buttermilk. Savor your flavor. Not for the “faint of taste” choices include Caramel, Almond Coconut Crunch, Gingerbread man, Pistachio, Chocolate Hazelnut crunch, and the all time favorite, Tiramisu, the king of Italian desserts, meaning, "pick me up". Crunchy multi-colored candy cane is edging the competition for the seasonal preference. They plan to prepare special, unique feature flavors and custom creations for every holiday and for the Bristol festival functions. Try one of the clean and fresh tastes of fat free sorbetto, an amazing blend of pureed whole fruit and fruit juices, like forest berry, melone and peach mango.
Miniature soft and delicious, rich and decadent fruit glaze garnished cheesecakes are an elegant and fun classic way to satisfy your sweet tooth after your meal.
The heavenly combination of treats beguiles, but what may be even more appealing is the relaxed atmosphere the Lalli family has created. Come; feel as if you are in Rome, even if only for a short time. Sit at the handcrafted mosaic tables and share the perfect ending to a perfect meal with a cherished friend or family member.
“We'll get a table near the street
In our old familiar place
You and I, face to face”
A delightful winter dessert/snack will bring warmth to your heart as the darkness falls outside. Come in for a warm beverage and a homemade treat on First Night.
Reservations are not required… yet!
“I'll meet you anytime you want
In our Italian Restaurant”
Great Gift Ideas: Order an appetizing breakfast basket to wake up someone’s day or a tempting pastry or cookie tray for holidays, parties or weddings.
Mention this Business Spotlight and receive a 10% discount on any Gelato purchase.
[“Scenes from an Italian restaurant” lyrics
by Maryanne’s favorite singer/songwriter/performer Billy Joel]
Coffee bar & gelateria
A Unique Italian Café
129 Radcliffe Street [corner of Radcliffe & Market Streets]
Bristol, Pa 19007
Winter Hours: closed on Mondays
Tuesday-Friday 7:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. / 4:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.
[closed between 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.]
Saturday- 9:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.
Sunday- 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Would you like your business spotlighted? firstname.lastname@example.org
Good eats and doo wop in Bristol
August 27, 2008 11:54 AM
By BETTY CICHY
Four restaurants on the 100 block of Radcliffe Street in Bristol Borough known as “Radcliffe 100” are continuing their summer series of theme nights with outdoor live entertainment in Bristol’s charming downtown.
Enjoy “Doo Wop Saturday Night” featuring the “Gary and Sonny Doo Wop Show” on Saturday. Make reservations early for alfresco dining while you enjoy the fabulous oldies with Gary Tosti and Sonny Mosco. “100 Radcliffe” is an association of four restaurants on Radcliffe Street who have joined together to generate more walking traffic and a higher profile for Bristol’s downtown by hosting monthly theme nights.
For more information and reservations call:
Annabella’s (fine regional Italian cuisine), 215-788-2929
Cannoli (coffee bar and gelateria), 215-788-8899
Kelch House (casual new American cuisine), 215-788-3850
King George II Inn (fine elegant dining), 215-788-5536
Today, the world lost a great man & heaven gained an angel.
Will miss you terribly. RIP Gramp ♥ Adriana Victoria
Frank J. Fregoni
Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 4:00 am
Frank J. Fregoni peacefully joined his wife in Heaven on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 at Statesman Woods Assisted Living, Levittown. He was 91.
Born in Girardville, Pa., the oldest of eight children, he worked as a coal miner before moving to Levittown in 1954. Frank retired from U.S. Steel, Fairless Works after over 25 years of service.
He served our country in the U.S. Army in Austria and Germany during World War II, and was a Purple Heart recipient.
Frank was an active member of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, where he and his wife worked Bingo for over 40 years.
Out of his love for children, he was a dedicated coach for 27 years at Levittown Continental Little League.
He was also a founding member of the Fregoni-Callivas, Chapter 117 of the Disabled American Veterans.
He will especially be remembered as a family man who was very loving and generous to everyone he met.
Husband of the late Carmella (Pancerella) Fregoni, he was the loving father of Carl Fregoni and his wife, Randi, Donna Snyder, Frank Fregoni, Maryanne Lalli and her husband, Michael, and Mark Fregoni and his wife, Regina. He was the devoted grandfather of David, Michele, Robert, Daniel, Cyndi, Michael, Erica, Adriana, Melysa, Angelina, Danielle, and Maria; and great-grandfather of Ryan, Kyle, Jesse, Luciana, Vincent, CJ, Danny, Temple, Mia, and Gavin.
Frank was preceded in death by four siblings, Carl Fregoni, killed during World War II while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, Dominic Fregoni, killed in the Korean War, George Fregoni and Anna Clark.
He is survived by three sisters, Rita Fregoni, Rosemary Callivas, and Theresa Minnick, along with many nieces and nephews.
Frank was also preceded in death by his long-time companion, Lorraine Flaherty.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3 at St. Joseph the Worker Church, 9172 New Falls Rd., Levittown. Interment will be held in Resurrection Cemetery. Friends may call from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1905. Wade Funeral Home, Bristol www.wadefh.com