The Holy Cannoli Shop: a ‘shell’ of a good time

A sweet addition to the Newbold neighborhood offers up a twist on the traditional.

Since January 4, The Holy Cannoli Shop, 1716 Jackson St., has been serving up coffee alongside creative cannoli and other treats made with all-natural ingredients. The shop is the brainchild of Kristine DiCrosta who was first inspired to open her own cafe while studying abroad in Italy. DiCrosta has been cooking and baking using only real, all-natural ingredients since 2012 after “becoming aware of the low quality ingredients and the artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives commonly used in many foods.” The shop is the realization of a long-time dream.

“Everything has been nerve-racking, but it’s been exciting, too, because everyone has been very receptive,” DiCrosta said from her Newbold-based space. “I have a surreal feeling stemming from how what I had imagined has come to be.” 

The South Philly resident offers a host of beverages including cappuccino, Americano, chai tea latte, housemade hot cocoa, kombucha, apple cider, and Italian sodas. These libations can be paired with fruit bowls, yogurt parfaits, muffins, cookies, croissants, bagels, oatmeal, and toast. The shop also hosts occasional pop-ups offering sandwiches and other fare.

The superstar draws are the cannoli, whose hold over her intensified following a 2020 pandemic-induced layoff from her corporate retail fashion position. Finding that people favored cannoli with added flavor, DiCrosta experimented with traditional notions on what the shell-centric treats should contain.

“At first, if you’re used to or aware of only typical cannoli, you might be shocked, but there are so many possibilities,” DiCrosta said. In the fall of 2022, while working on the shop, DiCrosta took online orders. That allowed her to craft seasonal flavors including chai maple, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, gingerbread, and white chocolate cranberry cannoli. “I am still determining potential flavors, so that’s a fun process.” 

Smores and chocolate-covered strawberry creations could come soon, with the latter likely to be offered around Valentine’s Day. DiCrosta intends to sell a variety of flavors each month. She finds that her focus on fresh, natural ingredients encourages customers to step out of their comfort zone when choosing creatively flavored cannoli.

A recent Sunday special: Homemade Belgian Waffle topped with cannoli filling and chocolate chips (optional) with choice of fruit and maple or honey drizzle.

“It’s been fun to bring this to life,” DiCrosta said of what she and her two colleagues, including mom Debbie Herold, have thus far accomplished. Her hopes for Holy Cannoli include hosting art exhibits. “I’m all about bringing people together. Using cannoli is a good way to do that.” 

Check out the shop’s Instagram or Facebook for information about weekly specials and upcoming pop-ups.

The Holy Cannoli Shop hours:

Monday to Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.