Holy Cannoli's! Here They Are, to Stay, in Downtown Rochester
Family-owned-and-operated Main Street shop offers cannoli like your grandma used to make.
The storefront may be new, but Holy Cannoli's has been serving up "devilishly delicious" treats to Rochester for years.
Your search is over: Holy Cannoli's has taken up permanent residence at 415 South Main.
"People who have tried our cannoli track us down," co-owner Cathy Schulte said. "They come in and tell us, 'We've been waiting for this!' "
Exact hours are a work in progress but the cannoli shop opens daily at 11 a.m. with the exception of Monday, when it's closed. Look for late hours on Friday and Saturday to fulfill that after-dark sweet tooth need.
A family recipe
Holy Cannoli's is a family business. There is grandmother Sharon Beheler, mom Cathy Schulte and daughters Nicole Francy and Christina Granger.
"Everybody does it all," Francy said.
"Everybody has to be in the kitchen, even the men. They started as taste testers then got 'promoted' to labor," Granger added.
But the family recipe for the cannoli goes back even further than these three generations of women.
"When I was growing up during the holidays all my aunts would get together to make cannoli," Schulte said. "They were in their 90s at the time and it was their grandmother's recipe!"
That makes it a recipe well over 100 years old.
"We like to tell people it's just like your grandma's cannoli but made by our grandma," Francy explained.
In fact Beheler is the head chef of the operation, making the shells, or "little tubes" from scratch and the cream fillings fresh daily.
And while no one is going to mess with a good thing, the family isn't afraid to try new things.
"I like experimenting," Francy said. "Especially with seasonal fruit based on what we can get locally."
Recently Key Lime, Mint Chocolate Chip and Strawberry cannoli joined the display case.
"Our customers have a lot of ideas of flavors to try and we jot them down," Schulte said. "Some are wonderful and some ... well, let's just say they don't make the display case!"
A family business
When you hear for 30 years, "You should do this as a business" it's hard not to pay attention.
Beheler also owns an antique shop in Washington Township called The Bank of Antiques. Every year they host a Holiday Open House where the family cannoli are served.
"From the age 5 and up we'd spend every Thanksgiving weekend making 500 to 1,000 cannoli for the open house," Granger said.
Soon people were coming just for the cannoli. With so many raves, the family decided it was time to take the cannoli for a test drive.
"We did a bridal show to see if people besides family and friends were interested, and, wow, were they!" Francy said. The business started at special events, markets and even setting up shop at Dessert Oasis and Sole Sisters during the holidays.
Now the family, including husbands and cousins, is working together "like a well-oiled machine" on Main Street.
"When you work together and play together you're friends for a lifetime and we do both of those," Beheler said.
In the store
In addition to a variety of cannoli, the store also sells pistachio baklava, cream puffs and personal cassata cakes. Full-sized cakes can be special ordered.
"We want a whole cannoli theme with cream filling in everything, including cupcakes," Francy said.
Holy Cannoli's has also perfected a gluten-free cannoli with blended flour from Hillman, MI. The gluten-free cannoli are baked in a separate gluten-free kitchen.
"We've gotten really positive feedback on the gluten-free," Schulte said. "People say it tastes just like what they remember."
Holy Cannoli's offers "Build Your Own Cannoli" kits in six- or 12-shell packages for the fun and freshness of on-demand assembly. It also offers cannoli in a chip-and-dip format for easy snacking or entertaining.
Finally, the store is selling old-fashioned candy and a variety of made-in-Michigan products.
"We've met a lot of great people with quality products at farmers markets. We want to give them another way to get their product out there," Francy said. Products include toffee, pot pies, salad dressing, organic cheese and popcorn.
"We have been real fortunate with the support we've had," Schulte said. "We just want to pass it on."