Known for their pizza, the Molinaro family has 55 years of history in Mississauga


Published August 25, 2022 at 5:34 pm

mama molinaros pizzeria

Frank Molinaro’s mother is the type of person who loves to make a good meal for family and friends.

“What makes her most happy is people smiling and telling her how great her food is,” says Frank. “And I’m a lot like my mom that way.”

So it only seemed natural that Frank would name his pizzeria after his mother (Anna).

He started Mama Molinaro’s Pizzeria in March 2021 out of lockdown boredom.

Known for their pizza factory, Molinaro’s Fine Italian Foods Ltd., the Molinaro family has around 55 years of history in Mississauga.

Frank is still a vice president with  Molinaro’s Fine Italian Foods Ltd. and his brother Vince is president. But since much of his job involves meeting with clients and travel, the pandemic changed things. Meetings moved to online and Frank found himself looking for something more to do.

“I got bored because by travelling came to an end,” he says.

Molinaro’s Fine Italian Foods Ltd. was started by Frank’s father, Gino, around 55 years ago. The company makes fresh and frozen fully-topped pizzas, along with dough balls, flatbreads, gluten free and plant based crusts for the retail market.

Gino came to Canada when he was only 16 years old from Calabria in the southern part of Italy next to Sicily. He knew Anna as they came from the same town but she came to Canada later to marry Gino.

Frank grew up around the business, learning the trade.

“I grew up my whole life in the in the production side of things,” he says. “My summer holidays, and my March breaks and then whenever kids were going on holidays, I was coming to work here as a kid.”

His father sent him to the American Institute of Baking in Kanas where he learned how to make dough from a master.

His instructor, Tom Lehmann, called the ‘Doctor of Dough’, was said to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the chemistry and physics of dough making and baking processes. He is said to have taught many pizza chefs the art of pizza crusts.

“My knowledge of pizza actually comes primarily from my father, but also from Tom Lehmann.”

Frank doesn’t use yeast at Mama Molinaro’s and instead uses a semolina starter. The dough ingredients are simple – semolina starter, flour, water and salt.

“Then I let it ferment for 36 hours before we use it,” he says. “And that’s what gives me that flavour and rise, those bubbles [or] air pockets so you know they’re so crunchy.”

He travelled to Italy as well, to learn different styles of pizza. Frank believes he is making the best pizza around.

“It’s the best pizza in the world,” he says.

Although his father is “the pizza king of Canada,” and Frank learned most of what he knows from him, when it came to naming his business, he decided his mother deserved credit.

“My mom is a huge inspiration to my love for food,” says Frank. “And so just because I wanted to honour my mom, I put her picture on the box and named it after my mother.”

And it turns out his mother, now 75 years old, likes the name.

“When she goes to the hairdresser’s and somebody recognizes her and says, ‘Oh, my God, you’re the lady on the pizza box,” says Frank. “You know, she is flattered and she loves the pizza.”

In addition to pizza, Mama Molinaro’s also has trumpetas, which are rolls of pizza dough filled with toppings and cheese. Unlike a panzerotti where the fillings slide down into the bottom of the pocket, the toppings are spread evenly and rolled.

They also have a variety of focaccia sandwiches, and are licenced.

Mama Molinaro’s is at 496 South Service Rd.

  1. Mama Molinaro’s Pizzeria
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