Louisa Dolente, smiling in a headshot on a white backgroundLouisa Dolente’s journey from a university student to co-owner of Maria’s Pasta Bar and Pantry was driven by her passion, education, and love for connecting with people.

At Mount Saint Vincent University, Louisa embarked on a path that would shape her future in the hospitality industry. Pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (with concentrations in management and accounting) laid the foundation for her successful career. While studying, Louisa also worked as a Guest Service Agent at Delta Hotels in Halifax.

After graduating in 2009, Louisa and her husband, Michael, moved to Toronto where they both worked in the tourism and hospitality sector. Louisa held progressively senior roles in the hotel industry, while Michael was a successful chef.

Despite their successes, they longed for a different lifestyle. Michael found it hard working long hours and being away from Louisa. This longing led them back to Halifax, where an exciting culinary adventure awaited.

Influenced by Chef Michael’s Italian roots, they embarked on their entrepreneurial journey by selling his tomato-based sauces at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market.

In November 2020, Louisa and Michael fulfilled their entrepreneurial dream by opening Maria’s Pasta Bar and Pantry. Maria’s Pantry is a cozy, 800-square-foot Italian food establishment in downtown Dartmouth. Everything is made by hand and in small batches to ensure it’s always fresh. They serve pasta lunches, as well as sell handmade pasta, sauces, ready-to-bake dinner kits, and sweets (if you’ve not tasted their delicious and ultra-popular bombolone, you’re missing out!).

“My passion for people and building long-lasting, valuable relationships is something that I am lucky enough to do on a daily basis. I thrive in an environment where no two clients (or events) are alike. From meeting planners, to groups and vendors, my priority is providing an exceptional guest experience,” says Louisa.

MSVU’s history is rich with the stories of countless people who’ve had an impact on the university and in the broader community. To mark our 150th anniversary, we’re featuring mini stories about those wonderful MSVU students, faculty, staff and alum. Check back often to meet more amazing MSVU people!