Volume 12 Week 5

Saturday, Sept. 2


Posted Sept. 30

Posted Sept. 12

Posted Sept. 18

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney


QUALITY, TASTE AND FRESHNESS that's our commitment to you!

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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.

Georges AbouAssali is the owner/operator of River Pizza which has locations in Orléans and Cumberland Village. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Sticking 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.

River 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.

Georges can still remember taking over the business from his brother-in-law when his sister passed away in 1992.

"I 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.

"At 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."

The 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.

"After 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.

River 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.

"People 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.

"I 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."

Among the clients AbouAssali is most proud of are the kids from the nine local schools that River Pizza provides hot lunches to.

"Kids 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.

Not 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.

But 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.

Delivery 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.

The 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.

You can vivit River Pizza's website at www.riverpizza.ca.

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