Parise's Original Cannoli and Coffee Bar Puts Venice on the Map

Good Bite

Pictured: Cannolis and cookies from Parise's Original Coffee and Cannoli Bar. Photo Courtesy of Parise's Original Coffee and Cannoli Bar.

Ask anyone where to find a mindblowing cannoli, and they’ll tell you Venice. Not Venice, Italy, but Venice, Florida, where Michael “Wheels” Parise runs Parise’s Original Coffee and Cannoli Bar, a mobile food trailer serving up life-changing cannolis and coffee.

Parise, now 57, grew up in Florida, where he worked in restaurants but dreamed of becoming a comedian. He moved to New York to pursue his dream and attended the Culinary Institute of America, from which he graduated in 1986. Parise worked as a chef in New York and started performing stand-up comedy in 1987. He became friends with fellow funnyman Andrew Dice Clay and moved to Los Angeles in 1990 with Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and Jimmy Fallon to pursue comedy. While in L.A., Parise toured as a comedian and met his future wife. The pair learned that they were expecting a child, and Parise drew on his culinary expertise to brainstorm careers that didn’t involve living on the road.

As an Italian-American child, Parise loved the cannoli. “Everyone does the cupcake and donut,” he says, reflecting on the popularity of gourmet versions of these desserts, “so I thought why not take the cannoli to a creative place too?”

Parise developed his original cannoli cream and opened the L.A.-based Cannoli Kings catering company in 2004. He started the business out of a one-bedroom apartment.  Catering a party at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch catapulted his career, and Cannoli Kings then catered over 300 varieties of cannolis for events hosted by celebrities. In 2006, they were voted the number one catering company in Los Angeles. Business boomed until the 2008 recession, when Parise and his family moved to North Carolina to take over a restaurant. Following the restaurant’s success, they moved to Las Vegas, where Parise worked in comedy. By 2018, Parise had decided to retire, so they moved to Venice, Florida, but retirement wasn’t on the menu.

Returning to his roots, he opened Parise’s Original Coffee and Cannoli Bar in Oct. 2022. The bar serves a vast assortment of cannolis, including Biscoff Cookie Butter, Red Velvet and the Signature Original. “Some customers buy a dozen cannolis at a time because they’re afraid of running out,” Parise adds, “and we’re on the list of things to do when people visit Sarasota and Venice.” Customers delight in coffees like the affogato and the tiramisu latte, but they can order small-batch roasted coffees online to make at home.

Parise parks his mobile truck at the Venice Mercato every Saturday and at the Venice YMCA every Friday, unless he’s catering a special event. He shares upcoming locations via Facebook and Instagram, and focuses on Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, but also services Lee and Hillsborough counties. Parise runs the company with his wife Sherilene and daughter Catherine. “It’s been the three of us since day one,” he says, “and we do everything together, which is why we’re here today.”

Parise’s Original Coffee and Cannoli Bar, parisecoffee.com, Facebook @parisesllc and Instagram @parisecoffee.

Pictured: Cannolis and cookies from Parise's Original Coffee and Cannoli Bar. Photo Courtesy of Parise's Original Coffee and Cannoli Bar.

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