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Mannino’s Cannoli Express Moves Indoors With Its New Storefront!

cannoli Photo via Mannino’s Cannoli Express

With all due respect to the cannoli from Rene at South Philly’s iconic Rim Cafe, Mannino’s Cannoli Express are the best I’ve ever had.

I was first introduced to the owner, Gabriella, last November at the Pitman Food Truck Festival where she insisted that I try out her latest offerings. I was absolutely floored! The shells have just the right amount of crispness and the cream has the perfect balance of texture and flavor. Each one was a work of art; the pumpkin flavor was a Rembrandt. Fresh pumpkin is prepped with cinnamon, whole cloves, all spice and then roasted until golden and soft. The pumpkin is then puree’d and then folded into their vanilla ricotta mixture.

 

Mannino’s is a family business, one that Gabby, has been in since she was a little girl. Her father, Vito Mannino, owns several eateries himself and was the one responsible for showing her the ropes starting when she was young. Her fleet currently consists of 3 cannoli carts and trailers in the South NJ region. When I read the announcement that she was opening a storefront, however, I was beyond excited!

Gabby was nice enough to take a few minutes of her time to answer a couple of the questions I had …

How did you get your start? What was the origin of the food truck?

“The origin of the food truck came about in 2009 during my junior year in high school. I was a volunteer for the Hammonton Blueberry Festival and worked very closely with John Runfolo, the President of Hammonton Chamber of Commerce. Each year from then John always made it a point for me to create new items for the blueberry festival.

In 2013, we came up with the Fresh Blueberry Cannoli for the festival. We figured why not? Let’s give it a shot. We had 200 shells and about 15lbs of cannoli cream. That didn’t last more than 45 minutes. That’s when the idea of going mobile with the cannoli really came into play. I figured for myself, a cannoli truck at a festival would be my ultimate weakness. I took a leap of faith and started Mannino’s Cannoli Express.

I thought it would be best to use the highest quality products I could get my hands on. Coming from a Sicilian background, I ended up finding a Bakery in Palermo, Sicily that actually imports these artisan cannoli shells that are divine. These are specially hand made for only the top chefs in Italy. Having these imported shells paired so well with each and every cannoli cream I could come up with.

I wanted our menu to be different, not just the plain jane with chocolate chips. I decided to make our menu seasonal. Offering seasonal flavors to showcase the fresh blueberries and peaches of Hammonton during the summer months was the way to go. During the fall and winter months, we like to offer pumpkin, caramel apple, mint chocolate chip, tiramisu, amarena cherry and orange. Of course, our menu will always include our Sicilian Vanilla and chocolate chip for those who are the real OGs! We even offer a savory cannoli that includes Maple, Bourbon, anddddd BACON! It’s a hit for the beer fest!”

With the opening of your storefront, your business is going outside-in. Being on wheels to a brick and mortar location is obviously much different. What made you decide to make the jump?

“Due to our increase of customers and clientele, we decided to go brick and mortar. I wanted to not only give my customers a prime location for pick up orders, but to also give back to the town where it all started, Hammonton. Some times not everyone can make it to visit us the food truck events, this gives them the opportunity to stop in and visit us along with many other great Downtown Hammonton shops.”

Is the menu going to expand at all? Any changes in store?

“Our menu is expanding in the store. We will not only be able to offer a wider selection of cannoli flavors, but we have added in Sicilian Gelato, Italian Pasties/ Cookies, Juniors Cheesecake from NY, and cookies. I wanted to give our customers a chance to not only try a cannoli but accompany it with a fresh espresso or affogata. We will be offering Lavazza espresso and coffee, the finest line you can have.”

Can we still expect you to be as active as you’ve been on the food truck scene?

“We have a full season booked ahead for the mobile units and are tackling them with full throttle. We had to turn down many events already because of how booked we are. Our motto is really to focus on the private catering, events/ weddings and food truck festivals that draw in a bigger crowd. Over the years, we have found what works best for us and that is to always choose wisely. We are looking forward to a busy 2018-2019 season.”

I always make it a point of trying to eat locally and support small businesses where I can. When the quality of product is hitting the level that Gabby is, it makes that effort much easier.

Join me in supporting Mannino’s as they celebrate the first grand opening of their new storefront in downtown Hammonton on Saturday, May 26, 2018 from 12-9pm

220 Bellevue Ave, Hammonton, NJ 08037

or click the link below for directions

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