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The Gabriel Pizza Story


Gabriel Pizza's history cannot be told without a brief background of its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Hanna. After immigrating to Ottawa from his home country of Lebanon in 1968 with very little money and no ability to speak English, Mike managed to find employment as a bus-boy at the Skyline Hotel in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Within a year, he had learned the English language and service skills necessary to push himself into a waiter position at the prestigious Vice Regal Room. With this new position came the responsibility of working at functions catering to the likes of Paul Anka, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and other socialites of the time.

It was at the Skyline Hotel, amongst Ottawa's elite, that Mike learned to excel in the food service industry and to set aside enough money to bring his family to Canada. In 1974, he was joined in Ottawa by his two brothers, George and John. In the next several years, he would be re-united with his parents, George and Shafika and his three remaining brothers, Nick, Eli and Joe.

On February 28, 1977, the Hanna family opened the doors to the very first Gabriel Pizza location at 2158 St. Joseph Blvd. in Orleans, Ontario. It was definitely not easy, however, with determination, hard work, a host of great recipes, and all five brothers doing deliveries - Gabriel Pizza started to build a name for itself.

By 1985, the second Gabriel Pizza location opened its doors on Des Epinette Blvd., in Orleans, Ontario. In August of 1991, the Hanna family opened the third Gabriel Pizza location at Innes & Page, in Orleans, Ontario. It did not take long for a string of other locations to open, including its fourth location on Trim Road, Orleans, Ontario, in 1992.

By 1995, the original Gabriel Pizza location on St. Joseph Blvd. had expanded into a family restaurant and was now serving breakfast. It took just six months for this breakfast to become so popular that one could not drive by St. Joseph Blvd. on the weekend and not see a lineup forming outside with customers anxiously awaiting a delicious breakfast.

Playing on this success, Mike and his brother Eli opened a second family restaurant at 2016 Ogilvie Road in 1997. Six months after its initial opening, this 80-seat restaurant was quickly expanded to 140 seats, due to its popularity.

With demand for Gabriel Pizza growing at an extremely fast pace, it was time to expand outside the Orleans community and move towards the west-end of the National-Capital Region. Kanata was the community chosen as the first west-end location and in early 2000, this location was opened by Mike's eldest son George and a close family friend Zeyad Ayoub. The opening of this location marked the beginning of the second generation of Hanna's taking part in the family- run business and brought Gabriel Pizza its first franchisee. Two years later, a second location opened in Kanata on Stonehaven Drive, in the Bridlewood community.

In 2003, George Hanna, Mike's eldest son, was appointed as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Gabriel Pizza Franchise Corporation. George's first project at the helm was to bring on a full- time operations and marketing team to meet the needs of the rapidly growing franchise. Within five years, and thanks to the efforts of George and his team, the franchise had grown to twenty-three locations across the National-Capital Region.

By 2008, the demand for Gabriel Pizza on delivery was so high that a corporate office and call centre were opened in order to accommodate the growing customer demands and public interest in franchising opportunities.

Today, Gabriel Pizza locations can be found throughout much of the National-Capital Region and many of its surrounding communities such as: Clarence Creek, Embrun, Kemptville, Stittsville, Barhaven, Kanata and most recently in Brockville, Ontario.

We are proud to remain a locally owned and family operated franchise and would like to say thank you to the entire community, especially the Orleans community, where our story began. Without the loyal support of our customers and our community, Gabriel Pizza would not be where it is today. We are grateful for your continued business and we look forward to serving you with great products and services for many years to come.