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MARSHALL’S PASTA MILL - 519 672 7827
Leading the trend for healthy food and convenience.


marshall's past mill london ontarioMarshall’s pasta is a family- owned restaurant/ catering/ retail store of homemade Italian food. It is owned by Blake and Jodie Marshall. After playing pro-football for eight years in Edmonton, injuries forced Blake to seek a second career. Blake’s love of Italian food and cooking inspired him to open his own business. After retirement from football, Blake studied the pasta business and created a business plan with his wife Jodie. They chose London for their location because Blake attended the University of Western and grew to love the city and the people. Opening his restaurant in London was like coming home.

Marshalls Pasta Mill purchased Lusitana Bakery and continues making their own bread by still using the same recipe and making the bread exactly the same as it has been made for 40 years.
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"Whether you take our food home, and prepare it yourself, or dine in our Adelaide St at Central location, you will truly see how Marshall's makes your meal planning easy, great tasting, and a healthy alternative to Take Home Food"

Blake & Jodie Marshall


Mon, January 19, 2009
where to eat in london ontario for italian foodLondon's Greg and Jodie Marshall enjoy an extra helping of success after joining their pasta business with a popular bakery
By HANK DANISZEWSKI

Nothing goes better with a plate of fresh pasta than a fresh, crusty Portuguese roll.

That was part of the simple logic that prompted Blake and Jodie Marshall to combine their pasta business with Lusitana Martins Bakery. Last year, the Marshalls took the bold step of buying the 40-year old bakery business when owner Fernando Martins retired. They shut down their pasta shops on Oxford Street West and Adelaide Street North and melded the pasta and bakery businesses, operating out of the Lusitana shop at Adelaide Street and Central Avenue.

italian eateries in london ontarioBlake Marshall said the couple had been looking for an opportunity to expand their business, which had moved into catering and prepared take-out meals. We were looking for the right deal. This was everything we were looking for," said Blake, a former Western Mustangs and Edmonton Eskimos football star. The new store has a central location, lots of interior space, with good parking and street access. Both Marshall's and the Lusitana Bakery had built up a loyal clientele over the years. But loyal customers also tend to be resistant to change, making bringing both groups into the new business a challenge. Jodie said some Marshall customers weren't keen on the new location. The Lusitana clientele, mainly older Portuguese people, were even more set in their ways. "Some would come in and take a look at the pasta counter and walk out the door like they were in the wrong store. We would run after then and say, 'It's OK, We still make the same bread the same way,' " said Jodie.

Blake made sure of that by spending a month training with Martins to learn all his bread-making techniques. For 40 years, Martins would start at 4 a.m. and spend hours mixing the dough and shaping each loaf by hand. "We couldn't believe how labour-intensive it was," said Jodie. Blake made one change to improve efficiency, buying a machine that shapes the bread dough into loaves, eliminating hours of labour. Though he feared Martins might scowl at any departure from his technique, the veteran baker quickly approved. Martin and his wife, Pureza, still drop in occasionally and lent a hand during the busy Christmas holidays.

blake marshall london ontario marshall's pasta millBlake Marshall removes fresh buns from the oven at the new location, the former Lusitana Martins Bakery. (Derek Ruttan, Sun Media)

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Blake and his brother, Greg, were both students at the University of Western Ontario, both played fullback for the Mustangs and both won the Hec Crighton trophy. Both also went on to CFL careers with the Eskimos. After retiring from football in 1994, Blake pursued his passion for food, inspired by the days he and Greg would haunt the Italian eateries of Edmonton. He consulted with friends in the food business and worked for free to get some training. In 1995, Blake and Jodie returned to London and opened Marshall's Pasta Mill. The store offered fresh pasta, sauces and prepared meals, such as lasagna and soups.

marshalls pasta mill in london ontario jody and blake marshall london ontario Jodie, a University of Guelph marketing graduate, had just given birth to her second daughter at the time and never imagined herself in the food business. But she was willing to support Blake's new dream. "It was kind of scary at first. He didn't work for a year. We had two little kids and all we had was his football money," she said. But the business grew quickly, cashing in on a growing demand among busy families for high-quality, easy-to-prepare meals. The store offered popular package deals of pasta, sauce and garlic bread. Blake credits brother Greg, now the Mustangs head coach, with coming up with the recipe for the store's meatballs. The business expanded into catering as Blake used his sports and business connections to cater meals for groups ranging from the Mustangs to intern doctors.

As their girls grew older, the Marshalls ventured into preparing meals for hot lunch programs at elementary schools. They now provide a dozen schools with fresh, hot pasta lunches. In 2000, the Marshalls opened their second location on Adelaide.

After 14 years in business and 20 years of marriage, Blake still looks like a brawny fullback and Jodie still has the slim elegance that recalls her past stints as a model and dancer. They now have four daughters and the two oldest, Victoria, 15, and Bretton, 14, help out in the store. As their business becomes established in the new location, the Marshalls plan to broaden their offerings to include whole grain and multigrain breads. Blake said he also plans to expand wholesale deliveries of bread to local restaurants. The business also will provide dough for P.Za.Pie, Mike Smith's new restaurant set to open soon on Richmond Row.

In the summer, the Marshalls plan to open an ice cream corner in the store and a small barbecue patio outside. Blake will grill Pino Italian sausages, which he brings in from Sault Ste. Marie, where they are wildly popular. In the longer term, the Marshalls muse about opening another location in south London. Though the couple has enjoyed business success, Jodie said serving good food to customers has been the real motivation. She recalls one customer, in particular, who almost moved her to tears. "She said, 'Buying food from Marshall's makes me feel like a good mom,' " said Jodie.

"That's what this is all about for me."

cfl outstanding canadian players
CFL outstanding Canadian Player Award-1991

edmonton eskimos
Edmonton Eskimos 1987-1994
uwo football
UWO 1984-1986
the HEC Crighton Trophy, ciau football player blake marshall, greg marshall uwo football london ontario uwo
The Hec Crighton Trophy Most Outstanding
C.I.A.U. Football Player, Blake-1986, Greg-1981
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