Eleven-year-old Reid LeBlanc said it best when he strolled into M.J. M.D. Pizza du Luigi, sat down at one of the tables inside and started chomping away at his pie: “This pizza’s great,” adding through a mouthful of pizza while trying to lick his fingers, “It’s probably the best pizza I’ve ever had.”
LeBlanc’s 11 and 12-year-old pals, who were huddled around the table, were equally impressed and hardly looked up from their task of downing two large pizzas on one of the last days of summer holidays.
It’s this kind of reaction cook Max Sabourin is always hoping for.
“I like pleasing people,” said the 23-year-old pizza chef, whose parents Marie-Josee Baril and Dan Sabourin just purchased the former Cheezy Luigis last month. “I like seeing that people like what I make.”
It’s not a new thing that people like Sabourin’s pizza. He’s been the main chef at the Chelsea pie shop for the past two years and his step-mom, Baril, has been managing the business for about four years. She’s always wanted to own her own pizzeria, but the timing has never been right.
But that’s since changed, and now the threesome, along with Baril’s daughters, Danyka, Kassandra and Jasmine, are making it a family affair.
A new slogan pasted on the walls of the Old Chelsea Road shop reads, “Prepared by our family, for yours.”
Although they have big plans for the pizza place – expanding deliveries to Cantley, hiring more drivers and even opening up a second pie shop in Wakefield – the pizza will remain the same.
Buying the business came with all the recipes and that’s one thing Max won’t mess with. It’s those recipes that helped his pizza land in the #4 spot in Ottawa Magazine’s “101 Taste Issue” earlier this summer. The family is even keeping former owner Luigi Meliambro’s name in their new logo.
“We’re not changing a thing. We think it’s the best,” said Baril. “It’s a known pizza, they are (Meliambro’s) recipes.”
“We wanted to make sure that Luigi didn’t disappear. He’s the original,” added Dan.
The only thing the new pizza family is adding to the menu is one new concoction – it’s called Papa’s Stravaganza, and Max stumbled upon it when his grandpa asked for a layered pizza. So Max created a pizza with layers of cheese, veggies, bacon, sausage and pepperoni and baked it on a deep crust. The result was a pizza they just had to keep around and it’s starting to sell.
The Stravaganza is now the fourth top-selling pizza at the shop.
The pizzeria is located at 241 Old Chelsea Rd. Call (819) 827-2882 for more info.