Mark Alousis stands at the counter of his pizza shop in Highland Creek
By Julie Plante
I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Alousis and his colleague, Jen, on a very cold winter’s day at Mark’s Pizzas. They were easy to talk to and down to earth. They both share a love of food and collaborate together very well.
Mark grew up in the community attending Highland Creek Public School and then Mowat. He took graphic design at college and political science at U of T, but his true love has always been food and cooking. He has learned his trade through the Food Network and cooking with both his parents and grandparents at an early age.
One job he will always remember, though, was his summer job at the Toronto Zoo where he met his wife, Heather, on the Zoomobile.
Mark started his pizza-making business out of his garage and when it began to take off, he would take his pizza oven and ingredients to pop-ups at breweries and other events around the city. The business started six years ago and next month they will have been at the storefront in Highland Centre for four years.
Mark’s daughter, Elodie, designed the logo for Mark’s Pizzas when she was 8 years old. Now
she is 14 and helps out at the serving counter. Not to be outdone, Mark’s son, Ben, designed a neon “slices” sign for inside the store two years ago when he was 10 years old. Mark now has 11 part-time employees, including nieces, nephews, sister and brothers-in-law, and Mark’s dad has been known to help out with repairs.
The business has been highlighted a lot along the way, most recently on blogTO as being one of the 50 essential restaurants to try in Scarborough.
They had branched out about a year ago into making sandwiches for the lunch crowd. As well, Jen bakes tiramisu on Wednesdays and all the other yummy desserts such as blueberry cobbler. Also for sale is fresh pasta, which is made on Tuesday for sale on Wednesday onward.
There is always spaghetti and one other type of pasta available. Having tried the spaghetti, I’ll never be able to go back to boxed pasta. It also freezes very well.
Mark has a weekly newsletter that comes out on Wednesdays describing the pizzas and pasta of the week along with any other offerings. You can subscribe to the newsletter on the website markspizzas.com by clicking on the top tab.
They also give back to the community by participating in the Annual Toronto Police Services Toy and Food Drive. They sold slices for $5 and used the profit money to purchase grocery store gift cards for families in need. They also support local fundraisers.
In his very little spare time, Mark enjoys mountain biking and spending time with his family.
Mark’s Pizzas is open for slices and sandwiches Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until sold out. Full pizzas are available Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday from 3:00 to 8:30 p.m. Pizzas can be ordered online at markspizzas.com. The storefront is located at 371A Old Kingston Road in Highland Creek.