When Brielle Dahan decided to help out her long-time Love Anthony Fontana by bartending at his family’s short-staffed Little Italy restaurant, she didn’t expect that mixing cocktails would somehow change her life. To an extent, she was right—it was what she did during off-hours that did. Bored behind the counter one day, she decided to whip up a cheese based pumpkin pie without realizing she was lacking ingredients for its crust. Reluctant to let her efforts go to waste, she followed her gut to a crafty solution—stuffing the mixture into empty cannoli shells—and the first Artisan Cannoli was born.
Like most accidental inventions, Brielle’s impromptu pumpkin pie cannoli was an instant hit: her first batch of two-dozen sold out in under an hour. But it was only when Fontana stepped in with his pastry-making expertise that the pair realized the gem they’d stumbled upon. The possibilities seemed endless, and Anthony began losing sleep as he sorted through them and concocted recipes in his mind. The flavor list grew and grew.
It didn’t take long for Stuffed to form as an independent commercial operation but the journey to their brick-and-mortar shop didn’t happen overnight. They first tested the waters by making their first splash at the Feast of San Gennaro in 2008
For the next year, Anthony and Brielle perfected their flavors and developed a loyal following as they doled cannoli from their street cart at the corner of Mulberry and Hester Street, still within the nearby comforts of the family kitchens. Gradually, the team expanded their line of flavors. With a full line of 70 flavors in tow, they were ready to open up a more permanent shop—one that couldn’t be rained out—and graduated from Little Italy to a neighborhood that better suited their unconventional treats, the Lower East side.