Dolce Coffee House Offers Sweets, Baked Goods, and Other Treats

By Adrian Lysenko, Photos by Tyler Sklazeski

When John Minnella moved back to Fort William from Winnipeg, he had a dilemma: there was nowhere to get a good cup of coffee in his neighbourhood. “I mean there are great coffee places up on Arthur Street and within the area, but not within walking distance from my house,” he says.

Minnella, who had owned a couple of restaurants in Winnipeg, decided on a solution: he would open a coffee shop that would also feature baked goods. “It’s a little neighbourhood coffee shop that we want to focus on skipping dinner and going straight to dessert,” he says.

The coffee house is located at a former mini-golf course that had been closed down for a few years. Keeping it in the family, Minnella enlisted the help of his sister, Judy Gerolami. “My sister is a great baker… she’s always done it as a hobby,” he says. “So I saw the building and I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if we can get Judy’s stuff out’ and then just decided to do it and it’s going to be a family business. I’ve got four brothers and sisters and we’re all going to play a little part in this Italian coffee-gelato-bakeshop.” The other co-owners are Carmine Minnella and Lisa Minnella. 

Aside from coffee, the business will be offering gelato, cheesecakes, cakes, and cornetto. “To start off, I want to primarily be known as a bake shop,” Minnella says. “We’re baking some, we’re buying some, we’re using some local vendors and whatnot, but I think it’s going to evolve that we’ll have some savoury options as well.” They’re also partnering with other local ventures like Kumbaya Kombucha, International House of Tea, and Rose N Crantz Roasting Co. “We’re trying to use as many local suppliers as possible but we’ll also have some imported items as well like European coffees.”

Utilizing the space in front of the building, Minnella also has plans to create an open-air market and with a prototype for a kiosk already built, he hopes to have something running in August with local vendors set up in pavillions. “So my thought was, open-air market, stop in for a coffee,” he says. “The two would really work well together.”

Dolce Coffee House
345 Kingsway Ave