Little Italy Pasta; Little Cafe with a Big Heart
In August of 2013 a lot of things in my life changed. I finally got married to my sweetheart of four years AND I got a shiny new job. The “Shiny New Job” was out in Acheson… my foodie self was devastated. I would have to give up my much loved food trucks and learn to pack lunch for myself. (Insert lengthy sigh here)
Luckily, I had heard of this lovely little Pasta restaurant; “Little Italy Pasta”. I had never been able to make it out there when I worked downtown unless I was taking a flex day. They are open for lunch – that’s it. So one day, I did exactly that. I took myself out for lunch and met Gerry Graziano, the face of Little Italy Pasta.
Pasta is a weakness of mine. When I am craving comfort food it is usually pasta. So when I got my piping hot serving of pasta and sauce with a side of espresso and Tiramisu. I got to have a lovely chat with Gerry AND I inhaled all of my food before taking pictures of it!
So when the news came that I would be changing gears and moving out to Acheson, things weren’t so bleak because I knew that I could depend on Little Italy for a great meal.
Now it is many months later, and I still haven’t actually sat down and written a review on them. I should be visiting more, but the new company is in the oil industry, so winter is crazy busy for us. I have had the opportunity to duck out a handful of times and grab lunch.
I finally remembered to snap a couple of photos on my last visit, so I can tell my Little Italy Pasta story.
The cafe is like an oasis in the desert. It is located in Acheson industrial park on the south side of the tracks. Italian folk are all about family and very passionate about life. This shows in the photos and sports memorabilia that grace the walls of the cafe. There is a lower level and an upper level. Upstairs is usually a little quieter if you are wanting to have a lunch meeting.
Little Italy does not make the pasta. They do however, make all of the sauces, panini, soups and desserts. Gerry will switch up the specials daily, so check out the website for the latest and greatest. There is always a gluten free option, and there is always espresso!
So the unique thing about Little Italy’s cuisine is that some of Gerry’s recipes have been passed down through generations. You can always taste the care and attention that goes into his food.
Pictured above is a half order of take out. We have spaghetti with meat sauce and two of the “Saintly Good Meatballs”. The salad and garlic toast come as sides. I should have put something in the picture so that you could tell the actual size of the containers. I rarely can finish a half order in one sitting.
Take out is normally my choice, but the cafe does have actual dishes when you go in for a sit-down meal.
The meat sauce is tangy and tasty; just the right texture, not too lumpy, not too runny. It sticks to the pasta. The “Saintly Good Meatballs” are named that for a good reason. They are huge, moist, and full of flavour. Gerry has them simmering in a red sauce before he adds them to your pasta.
Very recently, Gerry has been experimenting with different flavours of Cannoli.
Above is the “Orange Creamsicle”, “Nutella” and “Strawberry Shortcake”.
Gerry’s Tiramisu is “melt in your mouth” good! It was my favourite until these came along. The pastry manages to stay crisp without falling apart too badly when you bite into it. The fillings were a lot lighter than what I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise! I have had some very heavy Cannoli. So besides being beautiful to look at they each have their own unique flavour. The Orange Creamsicle tastes like it’s name. The Nutella tastes chocolatey with the hazelnut and slight hints of cinnamon. The Strawberry Shortcake is very much like the Orange Creamsicle with the flavour variation.
I couldn’t really pick a favourite. All three flavours are very good. It looks like he also has Almond, Chocolate Mint and Raspberry. I will definitely be indulging in more of these!
Even though the cafe is only open for lunch, you have the option of calling Gerry and his Familia in to cater your special event. Little Italy Pasta also has a school lunch program available for your child’s school. The cafe is available to book for private functions.
Another thing I have to add about Gerry and his cafe is that he has the biggest heart! He is very involved in his community. For a small business he has made a big difference and brought a smile to many a face in Edmonton and the surrounding area. He sponsored a contest where we could nominate someone that has made a difference in the community and he would bring a catered meal for 10 people to them. It’s gestures like those that let you know that Little Italy Pasta cares!
If you can’t make it out to Acheson, watch for Little Italy Pasta at the “Taste of Edmonton” in July.