Rita Donohoe’s from-scratch cooking is now available at Rita’s Apron on First Avenue in Ladysmith. (Facebook photo)

Handmade pies made ‘with love’

Rita's Apron brings its warm home cooking to downtown Ladysmith

Mike Youds Special to the Chronicle

Rita’s Apron, for locals who know Rita’s pot pies, now has a downtown address.

With help from her husband Shawn and mother Annette Turner, Rita Donohoe’s dream of operating her own free-standing business has emerged from the oven.

Donohoe opened her doors for business last Tuesday at A 720 First Avenue — formerly Renee’s Soup and Sandwich — stocking her popular handmade frozen pot pies and other comfort foods that customers have come to appreciate.

The Cassidy resident continues to market her homemade foods through the COCO Café in Cedar, where she used to work, while offering a full inventory at Rita’s Apron in Ladysmith.

She offers a selection of frozen dinners, including lasagnas and casseroles, fruit pies and other baked goods. Beef stroganoff’s another one to take home. What makes them so appealing?

“The love that I put into it,” she said at the end of her first day at the storefront. “It’s all made from scratch. I do everything-from-scratch cooking.”

She acquired the knack while growing up on a farm in northern Alberta. At 17, she went to work in the oil patch as a camp cook and, after culinary arts training, taught cooking to remote Dene villages. In the 1990s, she relocated to the Comox Valley. She and Shawn were married eight years ago and bought a farm in Cassidy.

Rita’s Apron also serves soup, coffee and hot chocolate on the premises. Open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, Rita celebrates with a grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 16.

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