HAMMONTON - It was a time of celebration on Friday evening for Gabriella Tomasello and her family and friends as they gathered for the ribbon-cutting of Tomasello’s specialty shop — Mannino’s Cannoli Express.

While the shop itself is new for Tomasello, Mannino’s Cannoli Express is not. Tomasello started out on her journey with Mannino’s Cannoli Express with a food truck. With her food truck, Tomasello would frequently travel to various events, including the Red, White, and Blueberry Festival and Hammonton’s Food Truck Festival. In time, all of that traveling helped her to build a loyal clientele.

It was Tomasello’s ever-growing clientele that lead her to consider opening a more permanent location for her business.

“I wanted to give the town something different,” Tomasello, a proud Hammonton native, added as another reason.

However, Tomasello admitted that when the opportunity presented itself to open a permanent shop on Bellevue Avenue, she was more than a little nervous.

“It was a total leap of faith,” said Tomasello. That leap of faith lead to a whirlwind 13-week renovation of 220 Bellevue Ave, located between The Funky Cow and Tales of the Olive.

With some final touches before the ribbon-cutting last week, the permanent location of Mannino’s Cannoli Express was ready for customers and its grand opening on Saturday.

“This is her dream come true,” said Tomasello’s friend, Marissa Dilallo. “I’m so happy that she went further than her food truck, she deserves it.” While Dilallo is thrilled for her friend, she admits that she also is happy to have a permanent location to visit when she needs a cannoli fix.

Those visiting the new location of Mannino’s Cannoli Express will be able to choose from a variety of cannoli shell and filling flavors, gelato, drinks and more. Customers will be able to sit down and enjoy their treats in a setting Tomasello hopes makes everyone feel like family. “It’s family oriented, we want you to feel like family,” smiled Tomasello.

She also hopes that those who walk through her doors will feel a special connection to Italy. “That is my number one thing, making people feel like they were back in Italy.”

Summer hours for Mannino’s Cannoli Express are:

• Tuesday – Thursday 11a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Friday – Saturday 11-8

• Sunday – 11-5

• The business is closed on Mondays.

For more information on Mannino’s Cannoli Express, please visit its Facebook page under the same name.

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