“It was what I wanted to do,” he said. “I always wanted to be around people. I love cooking.”
In a day and age where Sudburians can choose from several different large pizza chains, Don's Pizzeria very much remains a small family business.
“I'm not competing with that kind of business,” he said. “This is more individual — it's specialized.”
Cousineau does about 75 per cent of the work himself, with his mother, Frances, coming in to help two days a week.
He focuses on homemade ingredients — including pizza dough and sauce — and cooks his pizzas on cornmeal in a stone oven.
“I don't push a button and it comes out the other side, and it's cooked,” Cousineau said.
“I cook every pizza differently. If you want your pizza well done, I cook it well done. If you want it less cooked, I cook it less for you. I do what the customer wants.”
People have taken notice of Cousineau's smaller-is-better approach to customer service and quality.
In the early 2000s, Don's Pizzeria was featured in a Lonely Planet guidebook, and in 2012, Cousineau was presented with a business excellence award for hospitality by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.
But such accolades aren't what drives the business owner.
“The satisfaction I get from when the people are eating pizza, that's the main thing to me,” Cousineau said.
Don's Pizzeria, which is currently operating on its summer hours, is open Tuesday to Friday from noon until 9 p.m. Cousineau said he'll likely start opening on Saturdays again after Thanksgiving.
The business can be contacted at 705-674-7864.