Mother's Pizza Pasta Made Perfect

Published by Toronto Mike on August 11, 2007 @ 19:34 in Memories

foodI miss Mother's Pizza. As a kid, that was the local family pizzeria we'd visit and memories of the restaurant are hot and fresh. I remember the location on Dundas Street and The East Mall where the Bert & Ernies is and how disappointed I was when the franchise went under.

What's the Mother's Pizza equivalent today? It's not Pizza Hut, is it? If a family wants to go out for pizza, do they have to go to a Boston Pizza or is there a new Mother's-style restaurant in Toronto I haven't discovered yet?

Here's an old ad for Mother's featuring Dennis Weaver. Mother's really was pizza pasta made perfect.

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Comments 35 comments

35 Responses to "Mother's Pizza Pasta Made Perfect"

Anonymous
August 13, 2007 / 13:02

Ha I worked there in the 70's! Not so perfect when i was cooking!!

Annemarie
August 13, 2007 / 15:40

Me too. Our childhoods were so similar it freaks me out sometimes. I remember the red & white checkered tablecloths & I think I even have a picture of me celebrating 1 of my birthdays there as a kid w/ the cake in front of me on said tablecloth (was it cloth, plastic or other though? sorry, can't tell from the video @ work). I have never been to Bert & Ernies (but like the puppets) - passed it lots of times, is it good? I miss St-Hubert too & remember Ponderosa (there's still 1 in Belleville), Bonanza & Kenny Rogers Roasters?! Aw man, I'm getting really nostalgic about all the GOOD places there used to be. All these new franchises don't compare. Boston Pizza is expensive & I didn't even find their pizza that good; their pasta's better. Happy hunting & let me know if you find a good family place w/ ol' fashioned charm.

Phil Evans
August 14, 2007 / 13:49

Do you remember Frank Vetere's - I think there was one at Yonge and College? They had Chicago style deep dish pizza.

Rosanna
August 23, 2007 / 21:17

I remember many a family outing to Mother's Pizza on Dundas and The East Mall. We loved to go there!
Boston pizza is WAY too expensive for what you get. But I guess for me its the closest thing.

What year did Mother's close down?

Toronto Mike
August 24, 2007 / 09:10

I think it as around 1990, if my memory serves me correctly. I know it's been gone a while now...

T. D. Hyde
May 11, 2008 / 00:36

I've discovered that the final resting place of Mother's Pizzeria and Spaghetti House is at Beddington Mall, Calgary. I'm about to find out this summer if it's the same Mother's we all remember. I separately stumbled onto the logo (I've saved it) and one forum that talks about the old Mother's chain in general terms. I can recall the location at Dundas & Tomken (Mississauga) had great pasta, memorabilia on the walls and really old B&W silent movies.
BTW: It seems St. Hubert's has retreated exclusively to La Belle Province.

Rob
June 12, 2008 / 15:35

I remember Mother's Pizza and Ponderosa on Wellington Street South in London, ON. What a treat it was to visit either of those places when I was a child.

Greg
October 21, 2008 / 16:57

Hi to all Mother's Pizza Lovers!!

If you want to know about Mother's restaurant, it's food items, my favorite dishes, history, the lifestyle, reasons for closing, feel free to send me an e-mail.

I worked for the Oakville branch for 8 years. Started as a "pizza maker", worked the "sub counter" and finished my career there as a waiter.

BTW, it was a great time!!

Cheers,
Greg

Melissa
January 2, 2009 / 19:30

Greg! Do you happen to know the recipe for Mother's lasagna? Every time my parents took me to Mother's I ordered it and loved every last bite.

I love making lasagna now but honestly feel like the recipe at Mother's must have had something special because I can't replicate the taste no matter how hard I try! Lol..

If you have the recipe please let me know, I would be forever grateful!

Dave
February 4, 2009 / 15:04

Any information regarding Mothers would be greatly appreciated. To take those recipes to the grave would be a crying shame.

Martha
January 23, 2010 / 13:07

I loved Mother's Pizza as a kid, does anybody know what happend to it? And why it went under

martha
January 23, 2010 / 13:16

Hey T. D. Hyde, was it the same Mother's Pizza in Calgery when you went in 2008? Ok if is I will have to visit it.. Please let write a letter to the Owner of Mother's Pizza and tell them to bring it back. God know we need a great pizza place to go. And their isnt any pizza place like Mother's out their now a day...

Stu
March 2, 2010 / 12:06

We used to go to the Mother's in Burlington on Guelph Line. The building still looks like Mother's. Went to a couple of birthdays at the one in Oakville on Cross Ave. The late 70's were great. Rootbeer floats and nice gooey cheesy pizza.

Trudy
March 6, 2010 / 11:49

I am also looking for the recipe for Mother's Pizza - lasagne.

The lasagne was always my favorite when we went to Mother's years ago in Oshawa, Ontario. I miss the restaurant and nothing has compared to it.
Please does anyone have the recipe for Mother's lasagne?
Thanks

Dayle
May 4, 2010 / 21:27

Worked for Mothers for 11 years. Started as a dishwasher, ended up at head office and for a short time a franchise owner. A lot of the food, including the lasagne was made at Brockley Fine Foods and came in on a truck. Sorry to tell yo ubut itwas not made on site. Still have the uniform and nametags, and my wife who worked for me in the London Ontario locations. I would love to touch base with old Mothers employees.

Dayle
May 4, 2010 / 21:29

oh and by the way, Jerry White the financial guru was the demise of Mothers. Sell a franchise to anyone that had the money even with no restaurant experience. Then take away the quality assurance and training team, sell off the corporate stores and voila, the end of a great company!

Reg Maxfield
June 2, 2010 / 11:56

I was GM at 3 Toronto locations and would like to reconnect with my area manager,Terry Acheson.

Nicholas
June 9, 2010 / 09:41

Those were the days , honeydale mall , and rexdale locations ,great employees , great customers, If barry glazier reads this , i say Hey it's been awhile !

Brian
August 7, 2010 / 13:59

I worked at the Kennedy Rd location as a pizzamaker. I was hired by Steve Van Alstyne way back in 1986. My very first job. I still have fond memories of the place.

Steve
October 28, 2010 / 17:21

I use to go to the Mother's in Burlington all of time. Was a tradition for our public school's graduating class to celebrate there. Fun times and GREAT...GREAT pizza, lasagne, subs, garlic bread and panzerotti's. I would love to open one up in Burlington again. It would have to be exactly the same recipes and old charm of the old pizzeria/restaurant. If anyone has any info it would be much appreciated. I must say that it was a fine eatery for the family and everyone in the city just loved it !!!

James Garland
November 12, 2010 / 14:44

Hi Dayle... didn't Jerry White also close the Mother's Commissary?. after selling off the stores as Franchises? leaving the store to buy there own inventory to make the produce, this throwing away the consistency of it produce? that made Mother's What It was...its to bad,I worked at 2 scarboro locations(Kingston Rd ,and the Eglington store)from 85-88.It was a great place to eat and a great place to work.. I also had very fond memorys of both places...
Reg Maxfield.. last time I heard terry opened up an resturant in Oshawa.....

Brent Hanna
November 25, 2010 / 14:08

i worked at MOther's in calgary for over 10 years until Little Ceasars bought us out. i became a general manager and loved every minute of the restaurant lifestyle. we had father;s lounge and i totally remember a magazine that mothers put out as well. some great memories for sure

Steve Van Alstyne
April 8, 2011 / 17:00

Ah Mothers ...

Started there as a dishwasher in high school and ended up as a general manager at two locations. I remember Reg ... we worked at Danforth under Terry Aitcheson before he left to open his own franchise. And I remember Brian too ... great kid! Hey Brian. It's been a while. That commercial above was shot at the Mothers Kingston and Lawrence location while I was acting GM there ... my brush with greatness. Oh wait, it was Dennis Weaver. Nevermind. ;)

Gerry White was indeed the death of the company. He bought the company, turned all of the corporate stores into cash by selling them to franchisees, sold the commissary, pocketed the cash, stopped paying a dime for advertising, then flipped the company to Mike's Subs out of Montreal, who flipped it to Little Caesar's. I lost track after that, as I had left while company was dying its slow death.

It was started by Gray Sisson and a group of former OPP officers out of Burlington, and was run with integrity and pride while Gray was at the helm. Gerry White flushed it down the toilet. Long live capitalism.

When we lost Mother's we lost more than a great family restaurant [are there any family restaurants left?] we lost a great employer and a great community member. I miss them to this day ...

Steve Van Alstyne
April 8, 2011 / 17:01

Ah Mothers ...

Started there as a dishwasher in high school and ended up as a general manager at two locations. I remember Reg ... we worked at Danforth under Terry Aitcheson before he left to open his own franchise. And I remember Brian too ... great kid! Hey Brian. It's been a while. That commercial above was shot at the Mothers Kingston and Lawrence location while I was acting GM there ... my brush with greatness. Oh wait, it was Dennis Weaver. Nevermind. ;)

Gerry White was indeed the death of the company. He bought the company, turned all of the corporate stores into cash by selling them to franchisees, sold the commissary, pocketed the cash, stopped paying a dime for advertising, then flipped the company to Mike's Subs out of Montreal, who flipped it to Little Caesar's. I lost track after that, as I had left while company was dying its slow death.

It was started by Gray Sisson and a group of former OPP officers out of Burlington, and was run with integrity and pride while Gray was at the helm. Gerry White flushed it down the toilet. Long live capitalism.

When we lost Mother's we lost more than a great family restaurant [are there any family restaurants left?] we lost a great employer and a great community member. I miss them to this day ...

Terry Aitcheson
October 29, 2011 / 17:33

Well, just typed in my name and low and behold all these Great Comments and references to Mothers... Am on Facebook for those who wish to reconnect. Terry Aitcheson

stacey
December 14, 2011 / 11:32

looking for mother's memorbilia - specifically a tiffany light with the mother's logo on it! anyone have one? Email Stacey :) Thanks

cheryl
November 10, 2012 / 00:12

There is a sign up in hamilton on queenston road that says coming March 2013 Mothers Pizzeria and Spaghetti House.

becky
November 11, 2012 / 01:48

I worked for Mother's for over 18 years. The first Mother's location was in the Westdale district of Hamilton. All menu items were produced in house at all locations until the Commissary was built. The original owners were, Grey Sisson, Pat Marra and Ken Fowler, until the Company became franchised and public. As a result of a buyout, Mother's sold to a group of investors headed by Gerry White. It seems to be well known that Gerry and investors sold the properties that Mother's owned helping to put the company into bankruptcy. In order to protect the assests, the Commissary claimed bankruptcy a few days later. Mother's was sold to Little Caesars. Little Caesars, being pick up only, closed the full service restaurants and reduced menu items. The Commissary was closed as a result and Little Caesars locations produced items in-house. I have also seen the sign on Queenston Road in Hamilton and would be very interested in finding out who is responsible for the re-birthing of Mother's in Ontario, it has been a long time coming. If I am correct, Mother's continued to operate in Alberta, owner Gord Raspberry. The original owners were fabulous people to work for. During my time at Mother's I worked for and with an extraordinary group of people and would be honored to work with such a group again.

barb
February 7, 2013 / 17:20

I also worked for mothers on centennial parkway for 13 years .Best job i EVER had !The comraderrie was fantasic .Made long lasting friends. I would Love to work there again. Have Great job now but it would be fun!! Everyone is correct about Gerry White he drove it into the ground. He rerouted the profits into his other companys in the US. And left a great company high and dry and in recievership! I was there until the end in late 1991. The last one out the door in our place. The new guy is from jack astors and his partner revitalised the Pop Shop.

Allison Ticknovich
February 27, 2013 / 20:12

Mothers pizza is opening April 1st in Stoney Creek

barb miller
April 17, 2013 / 14:25

mothers is up and running and sooo busy ,and they sould be. ive heard stories of a 2hr wait on the weekends. well worth it iyl bet.

Bob Chehowski
April 21, 2013 / 08:29

Omg, hi Barb! You trained me at Centennial & I went on to management at 2 different Hamilton stores, ending up as the GM in London Wellington. Yes, Jerry White ruined Mother's and the franchisees he sold too dragged the company's good name through the mud by stupid promotions like a New Year's Eve dance with roast beef & a dj. Yeesh! Went a couple of weeks ago on a Friday night to the new location & the wait for a table was 2 hrs. Has anyone been & does it compare to the way things were? BTW, re lasagna recipe: you'd really have to have the same ingredients to make it taste the same, which isn't really possible. I've come very close replicating the panzerotti though. ;)

Ghost Wolf
July 7, 2013 / 18:23

Ah, Mother's. I have a few things to say about that place.

When I was a kid, growing up in Windsor, yes, it was a great place to eat, and very popular.

In 1984, I moved to Toronto, and wound up with a job at one of the new take-out/delivery places that were opening up - mine was operated by a company known as "Franchise Canada" - I can't seem to find it, I think it was a private company. Anyway, we had a good owner, and good co-workers. The head office trained us. The store was in Parkdale; another guy was already operating a successful take-out/delivery Mother's in Etobicoke.

Google lied, btw. The lasagna was frozen, and came from a central commissary, just like the pizza dough did (though just before I left, our place had just gotten its own dough mixer.)

From opening day to the three-month mark, things went really, really well. Our clientele had expanded, and so had our driving staff (from one to three, with a fourth part-timer). Us five crew members who were hired from the start were being trained as managers, because our owner wished to open up a total of 7 stores around Toronto - management positions for all! As a 17 year old, that was an awesome opportunity, and I still honour Mr Freel for offering it to me without my even asking. Until then, we had been promised a 25 cent raise (yay!) once we'd been there three months - minimum at the time was $4/hr.

But alas, it was not to be. The Company came in, and told Mr Freel that there was some glitch in the contract or some damn thing. Now, my boss here had been franchising for decades - he was no amateur by any means. All agreed that there was something dirty about the Company, and its contract. Sigh, but Mr Freel lost, and we were given over to The Company ... and a couple of "field agents" or whatever the hell they were called came in.

First of all, we were all reset back to Day 1, no raise. The promise of management positions? Gone. All full-timers but me and the manager? Gone! Most of us were replaced by student labour.

Not only that, but I watched one of these field agents train an assistant manager (hired from outside) how to make a cash register lie on the Z reading. I had to listen to this, I was scared to death, because even at that age, I knew it was VERY illegal.

Then, on a Friday night, I get left alone to manage a bunch of students, and a former driver who only knew how to answer the phone. Our manager was exhausted after working .. well, several days _straight_ with no sleep (as he was my roommate, I can vouch that he was never home, and was always to be found at work. He was one of those workaholic types who demanded perfection from himself). Sigh, I sent him home to sleep. Then the kids never showed up, so I wound up running my ass off all night - until about 10 pm when I fell trying to get more pizza boxes from a ridiculously high perch. The field agents ripped me off of my worker's comp, because I was a dumb kid myself and didn't know my rights. I still have the scar on my chin.

Anyway, because of the unreliability of the student idiots, I started a regimen of 9 am - 3 am - for three weeks straight. I finally get a day off, and go to visit my boyfriend .. they have the gall to call me at HIS house and demand I come into work because some stupid student couldn't be bothered to show up. I said no. They said I'd be fired. I said I quit.

Anyway, I saw my former manager/room-mate quite a few months later, can't remember how many now. Probably too many, as he was a good enough fellow to hold onto some personal items for me until I could retrieve them. He told me that the store shut down only a few weeks after I left, because the senior field manager had been busted for making a pass at a male student.

The chain shut down because The Company was thoroughly crooked through and through. What I heard was that when Little Ceasar's bought them, the books had been cooked so bad, there was nothing they could do to untangle the mess without possibly falling afoul of the law - so it was simpler to just shut the whole mess down.

I can believe that.

They did have a good pizza recipe, though.

Ghost Wolf
July 7, 2013 / 18:41

Edit, not Google, Wikipedia. I edited it, but it probably won't stick because I have no sense of tact.

R.S WHITE
April 4, 2014 / 09:34

All mothers products were made in Stoney Creek at Brockley Foods factory. Execpt the pizza dough (Chilled ) the lasagna etc was frozen. I know this as I was there corporate Chef and ran the factory.I have all the recipes but not available to the public. I only sell them to commercial business. We shipped across Canada and to the USA locations as well.


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