Liborio Mendola

Owner and Founder, Basement Kitchen

Liborio (Lee), a Canadian-born son of Italian immigrants, has always been deeply connected to his cultural heritage, language, and family traditions. He spent 20 years working in marketing in Brantford, but his love for cooking and passion for creating delicious meals remained an important part of his life.

However, it wasn't until the early months of the recent pandemic that Lee's passion for cooking truly took off. Lee's dedication and enthusiasm for his craft led him to study pizza-making at The True Neapolitan Pizza Association (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, AVPN), where he became a certified pizzaiolo.

Tell us about Basement Kitchen? 

The Italian culture, language and connection to family have always been pillars in my life. Food is reminiscent of my childhood around the basement kitchen table where we celebrated every joy and mourned every loss. My wish was to use the next chapter in my life to invite others to my table and experience the same emotion and sense of belonging. That’s why I opened Basement Kitchen, a mobile pizzeria and catering service.

How can people purchase Basement Kitchen? 

Being a mobile business, we move to different events and locations as they happen. When we are not booked, we are parked in the Brantford Nissan car lot. Our schedule is posted weekly on our Instagram and Facebook profiles.

What's your favourite menu item? 

Legalize Marinara…it is a simple pizza that is so flavor forward.  It has a tomato base, roasted garlic, Olive oil and oregano leaves.  It brings me back to Italy every time I taste it!

Person's hands working a round of pizza dough.
What are your favourite things to do/places to go in Brantford? 

I love walking through the Brantford Farmers’ Market and chatting with the vendors to find different flavours and being inspired for new pizza toppings.

No matter the filter, food is always a topic of conversation. The Brantford International Villages Festival brings the many cultures of Brantford to the forefront and, as a guest, we can experience their music, dance, art and food.

I also have to give a shout-out to the Brantford 99ers Hockey as I love watching my nephew and his team play AAA U15 hockey.

What are some other local businesses in Brantford that you love to support? 

I love coffee and Seventh Coffee Co. has many delicious roasts. My favourites are “Pilot Espresso” and “A Little Stitious”. 

And Spool Mac & Cheese - who doesn't love poutine or mac and cheese? Their menu is delicious. 

Olive oil is a staple in an Italian home. Especially really good olive oil and that's exactly what you can find at The Olive Oil Co! Their oil is some of the best quality oils I have ever tasted and their variety of balsamic vinegars compliments many dishes.