In 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.
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."
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.
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
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 Saturday, Sept. 2, 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.
And 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."
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.
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
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
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.
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.
visit River Pizza's website at www.riverpizza.ca.