The Beginnings
Baking and delicious home-baked products have long been a family tradition for the Musemuci family who own Pâtisserie St. Martin in Duvernay, Laval.  They celebrated their 35th anniversary in November 2022.

Antonio Musumeci, the patriarch of the family, was born in Sicily (Italy) and arrived in Montreal in 1950. He built and opened Aurora Bakery on Papineau Street in 1956 as he wanted to share his authentic, traditional recipes with Montrealers.  Some of his specialties at that time included Italian bread, cannolis, amarettis and pizza with its “magic” tomato sauce.  Antonio’s wife Catarina, the matriarch of the family, was also born in Sicily and arrived in Montreal with Antonio. They have two sons, Joey and Salvatore (Sam), and daughter Maria.

Joey showed a keen interest in baking and all three children learned “the tricks of the trade” from Antonio. Due to Joey enjoying baking so much, he ended up working many years alongside his father at the successful Aurora bakery. After Joey gained considerable experience and expertise from his dad, he decided he was ready to embark on a new challenge. With loving guidance and the assistance of his mother Caterina, Joey opened Pâtisserie Léger in east-end Montreal.

Pâtisserie Léger became quite popular, so Joey Sr. thought it would be a wonderful idea to provide the Laval community with “an authentic taste of Italy” also. This is how Pâtisserie St. Martin was born in November 1988. Joey realized that with his excellent baking skills, coupled with his strong people skills, that he could entice many customers. Unlike Pâtisserie Léger, Joey Sr. faced many challenges with his new bakery. Back then clients were hard to come by, so Joey turned to hotels and restaurants and supplied his bakery services and goods to the hospitality industry. From there, the business took off and the bakery clientele flourished and expanded.

Soon, other quality imported items such as speciality olive oils and balsamic vinegars were offered at the bakery. Then they added customized catering for events, parties and weddings, which became very popular. Tables at the bakery were filled each day at lunch time. Business and life were good. Today, 100-150 people eat lunch at the bakery daily. The staff know most of their customers and are on a first name basis with them; they treat them as their friends. Not surprisingly, the bakery sells 1500-2000 cannolis each week. Their best-selling cake is the Fruitta di Bosco (wild berry cake).  Customers also appreciate picking up delicious ready-to-go meals such as cannelloni, veal parmigiana and tortellini with rosée sauce.  Their specialty cakes and pastries are so flavorful because they are lovingly made by hand with only the best ingredients: 100% butter and fresh 35% cream.

In 2005, Joey and two of his employees opened another Pâtisserie St. Martin in Vimont, Laval. Its success led to the opening of two more locations. Unfortunately, things went sour with his partners so Joey opted to disconnect himself from the partnership and to retain Pâtisserie St. Martin solely at its original location in Duvernay, Laval.

Joey and his wife have three children: oldest son Joey Jr., daughter Talissa and youngest son Matteo. After Joey Jr. was born, dad Joey became lovingly known as Joey Sr.

Favourite Memories
Talissa has fond memories of celebrating her birthday as a child at the bakery with her family and friends. Of course her friends loved the idea of making her birthday cake and pizza, but sharing and eating it altogether was so very special. Talissa is also extremely fond of zeppoles which are only made once a year from February to April, which is part of what makes them unique.  Joey Jr. and Matteo also cited this treat as being their favorite. Zeppoles are an Italian dessert which are made of fried dough with ricotta, custard or Nutella filling. The pastry commemorates St. Joseph’s Day which is celebrated on March 19th. Talissa’s other bakery favourites include sour dough bread and ricotta pizza.  When Talissa has a bad day, she confides that her “go to” is a pistachio donut bomb! 

Joey Jr. remembers family gatherings at the bakery too. Some of his fonder memories were learning how to make special pizzas with its authentic tomato pizza sauce and baking bread.  He also truly loved his grandmother Catarina’s special homemade desserts. Joey Jr. also enjoyed the delicious pear juice handed out traditionally to the children by their grandfather and their father. It was truly a very unusual and yummy treat. 

Matteo recalls eating the delicious Dulce de Leche cake when he was growing up.  Some of his favourite childhood memories also include the special family birthday parties that took place after work hours at the bakery. Staff and family alike celebrated special and joyous occasions together.

Fast Forward to 2018
Joey Jr. and Talissa had always dreamed of opening up their own bakery to continue their father’s legacy. Joey Jr. recalls that his father Joey Sr. would always tell them: “The right opportunities always arise when you least expect them.” On January 9th, 2018, the family heard on the news that the well-known “La Gascogne” bakery, located in the Jean Talon market, was closing its doors due to bankruptcy. A few months later, a long-time customer of Pâtisserie St. Martin mentioned to Joey Sr. that this space was available. The rest is history.

“On August 3rd, 2018, my sister Talissa and I opened the Jean Talon location,” says Joey Jr. “I was responsible for managing the store while Talissa was responsible for the social media and marketing. Together, we were able to find the perfect balance that worked well for both of us.”

Talissa reassures patrons that both Pâtisserie St. Martin locations will continue to bake and sell the same products.  They don’t plan on removing any products. “We may add new products to our product line, but we want to keep it traditional; this is what our customers enjoy,” says the duo.

“The goal to incorporate and add new products to our pastry line is mainly due to the fact that we want to accommodate our clients from the Jean Talon/Little Italy area,” says Joey Jr. “We managed to add a few new items such as baba, gelato brioche and our all-time favourite, the pistachio donut bomb.”

Although it was a very exciting time, the next few months brought forth many challenges and difficulties. Joey Jr. and Talissa needed to adapt to new clients, and the clients needed to adapt to a new bakery. After a few months with the new bakery, they finally understood how tremendously hard their father had worked all his life and the siblings developed an even greater appreciation for him.

“Our clients mean everything to us. Through conversations, we have built incredible relationships with many of our clients, which is our favourite part of the job,” says Talissa. “We will always be grateful that they gave our bakery a chance and welcomed us to the market.” Clients feel like Pâtisserie St. Martin is not only a bakery, but part of the community. They are right, as throughout the years, Pâtisserie St. Martin owners and staff have supported community runs and Freedom Walks, have hired and supported kitchen staff with autism and the bakery has become part of their clients’ daily routine.

Mary Musemuci was integral in founding, organizing, and initiating Freedom Walks.  This event helped mothers and children who experienced conjugal violence. “Making a difference in children’s lives is so important,” she says. Her brothers Joey Sr. and Sam helped out so many people over the years.  “Helping others just comes naturally to our family.  We were raised that way,” Mary notes. She finds it amusing that customers often refer to her as “Mary St-Martin”. When the bakery closes each day, leftovers are donated to non-profit organizations, church groups, etc. Each evening a representative from an organization arrives at 9:00 p.m. to pick up goodies.  The bakery also made a valuable contribution to the Young Author’s Contest run by Laval Families Magazine.  They help whenever and wherever they can.

Their longstanding clients enjoy being able to walk in the bakery, to feel part of a family environment, being provided with one-on-one personal service and enjoy purchasing fresh, homemade, superior quality food. They know they can always expect freshly made products that they can bring home and share with their own families.   

Then 2020 Happened
“In 2020, it was like the world stopped. We were living in unprecedented times with Covid,” says Talissa. “It was a catastrophe that no one could have predicted. Unfortunately, many industries suffered or had to close their doors. Luckily for us, the pandemic brought the ideology of supporting local business, which really helped us during the last two years.”

Despite all the hurdles they have faced, Joey Jr. and Talissa have had a successful four years. They hope to expand their stores one day, but for now their main focus is on the Duvernay and Jean-Talon locations. Joey Jr. says they would like to just focus on keeping up with the demand. It is difficult to find and maintain good employees. The Jean Talon bakery is a smaller store, while the Laval bakery has a wider variety of specialties. Joey Jr. is more heavily involved with the Duvernay bakery and Talissa runs the Jean-Talon bakery.

Joey Jr. maintains that once he, his sister and brother take over the reins of both bakeries that most of the products will remain the same.  “Don’t change something that is working well; just add some value, if possible,” he says.  He says he feels blessed to have and enjoy four generations of his family: his grandparents, his parents, his siblings and now his own children.

Joey Jr. is following another family tradition, as he has a three-and-a-half-year-old son who is also named Joey Jr., the third generation of Joeys!  When asked what happens when someone calls out the name Joey, he laughs: “All three heads turn around at the same time.”  Joey Jr. also has a younger son Fabio, who is two years old.  Both his children adore visiting the bakery and enjoy the same special pear juice, the same special desserts and pizza that he enjoyed when he was young and still enjoys to this day.

Joey Jr. feels proud that his younger brother Matteo, 18, will join him working in production in the kitchen. He says that Matteo will be an excellent addition to the family team as he is meticulous, and he also grew up knowing the family business.  Joey Jr. graduated from John Molson School at Concordia and received his Bachelor of Finance there.  He says that this experience provided him with valuable life knowledge. 

He believes that their bakeries feel like “home” to the community.  “Our bakeries are places for our clients to come to be sociable, have wonderful and meaningful conversations whilst enjoying the bakery’s delicious baked products.”   

Will Joey Sr. ever retire? “Hmmm, not really, maybe we will see less of him, just as he did with his father and so the tradition continues,” say Joey Jr. and Matteo. Matteo is looking forward to participating at the bakery in production and delights in knowing that he will work with his older brother and sister. He says his family is very close knit and the staff who work at the bakery are like family members to him. 

When asked about the future of the bakery, the siblings say that they have invested in and will continue to invest in more kitchen machinery such as new ovens, mixers, fridges, etc. “We are beyond blessed and so grateful to have an amazing staff who show up every day to offer their services. None of this would be possible without them or our awesome, loyal clients who continuously support our business,” says Matteo.

If you have not yet had the pleasure of eating their delicious pizza, homemade breads or a delectable cannoli or tantalizing cake, what are you waiting for? Go and check it out!  “We welcome you with open arms,” says Joey Jr. “We hope our family traditions become your family traditions.”

Pâtisserie St. Martin
2495 boulevard St-Martin Est,
Laval, Québec H7E 4X6
450 629-6202

Pâtisserie St. Martin (Marché Jean-Talon)
268 Jean-Talon Est,
Montréal, Québec H2R 1S7
514 379-1101