Family-owned and social media sensation Lamanna’s Bakery puts spin on Sicilian dishes

Lamanna's Bakery has been a staple in West Hill for 18 years. People will flock to the community bakery for their "big slice". Stella Acquisto talks to the family behind this operation.

By Stella Acquisto and Meredith Bond

For almost two decades, family-owned Lamanna’s Bakery has been a staple here in West Hill, putting a spin on traditional Sicilian dishes and becoming social media sensations.

Lamanna’s was opened 18 years ago by Rosa and her son Joe. Rosa was born in Sicily and her husband Peter is from Puglia. They both moved to Canada, met here, and married in 1965.

“I always wanted to have my own business. I worked in many bakeries; I learned so much in so many bakeries. And when I got married, I made my cake, and I have always had a passion for making cakes. From there, I started this business,” said Rosa.

Rosa and Peter Lamanna pictured at Lamnna's Bakery in West Hill.

Rosa and Peter Lamanna are pictured at Lamanna’s Bakery in West Hill. CITYNEWS/Stella Aquisto

Their three sons, Joe, David, and Lorenzo, also all work at the bakery, although it didn’t start that way. Initially, only Joe had partnered up with their mother.

“We were in the banking field, suit and ties,” said Lorenzo. “This was just a small business for my mom, and my brother was helping her. And then, about six to seven months later, we had to quit our jobs and come aboard because it was too much. We’ve never looked back since.”

The bakery serves everything from gelato to Italian pastries, rice balls and their specialty giant pizza slices, bringing in crowds from all across Ontario.

Joe said Lamanna’s initially started as a 1,200-square-foot shop but has since expanded over the years and plans to expand even more.

“We actually grew up in the area. So, we always said that when we have a spot available, we’ll put something in here and show what we can do.”

The family has adapted to the times, creating new food ideas which have gone viral on social media. The Instagram account for the bakery currently has over 150,000 followers.

The bakery is known for its famous big slice and exciting variations, topped with everything from pancakes to grilled cheese and cakes.

“We were fooling around with pizza. We used to make focaccia-style pizzas, and then as a joke, we made a big giant pizza slice. And people liked it for parties and things like that,” explained Joe.

“Then we started thinking, let’s do something crazy…let’s do something different with donuts and birthday cakes. And then it just went out of control.”

“People started going crazy, and it was the spot to take Instagram pics with the biggest slice … It just snowballed into something that we never imagined would happen. It’s amazing,” Joe added.

“It just keeps growing and keeps growing like it just doesn’t stop.”

Joe said they keep developing new pizzas every day. People now come from all over Toronto to come to Lamanna’s and try one of their big slices.

They plan on expanding the bakery into the spot next door as they keep growing in popularity.

“[There’s] always lineups here. That’s probably the biggest customer complaint, but there’s a reason for it, and we do our best.”

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