Community-driven since 1923.
In 1923, Chas. Cannatella opened in Melville, Louisiana. The store was founded by Charles Cannatella and his father, Joe. Prior to 1923, Joe (formally Guiseppe) had a small country store on Bayou Rouge, just north of town. Charles and his wife, Mathilde, raised ten children in the home that they built next door to the store.
In our family cookbook, their daughter, Jennie Cannatella recounted,
“We have always lived near the store. For us, it played a vital part in our lives. The store seemed to have a spirit of its own. Papa was always there, along with Grandpa, who played with us and taught us how to play the slot machines. During dangerous hurricanes, Papa would open the store, even through the night, to those who sought protection from the storm. He handed out bread and salami for sandwiches, ensuring no one went hungry. In the early days, customers didn’t even walk behind the counter, they would indicate the items they wanted, and we got them. Customers even called in orders occasionally.”
The business quickly evolved into Chas. Cannatella & Sons as the family grew and both sons and daughters had responsibilities in the store. As the town and the economy started soaring after the Great Depression, so did Cannatella’s. We provided everything from fresh produce and meats to hardware, clothing, boots, building materials and farm supplies. Over the years, the store has seen several expansions and the new millennium saw third and fourth generations, Pete Cannatella and sons, Brian and Grant, managing the store.
In May 2019, Grant and his wife Pam decided to expand outside of Melville and opened a small neighborhood market located at 3869 Government Street in the heart of mid-city. Wanting to get back to “basics” they designed the Baton Rouge store to resemble the original “old” store in Melville. The charming Italian market is known for our delicious Take & Bake meals, New Orleans style muffulettas, Italian sausage and fresh homemade pasta. We also offer a wide selection of Italian wines, imported specialty foods as well as cheese and charcuterie items.
In May 2022, as the local business environment continued to decline, Brian and Grant were faced with the unimaginable decision to close the Melville store after 99 years in business.
Same Recipe. New Generation.
As we move ahead, we are excited about the future and look forward to continuing the Cannatella Grocery legacy.
Time changes many things, but the one thing that never changes is our love of family and our commitment to the community.