Melbourne-born institution 400 Gradi is expanding interstate for the first time, and founder Johnny Di Francesco has chosen Adelaide as its first destination.
In 2014 Di Francesco’s margherita pizza was judged the best in the world at the Campionato Mondiale Della Pizza (Pizza World Championships). With three restaurants now open in Melbourne, the time has come to expand.
“Adelaide, in my opinion, has a good and growing dining scene and so is a good market to get into and establish ourselves there as a brand,” Di Francesco tells Broadsheet. “Adelaide is also known for its beautiful produce, so we thought, ‘Why not, let’s take a shot down south’.”
Diners can expect the same traditional Neapolitan techniques for which Di Francesco is rightly acclaimed. Di Francesco’s family is from Naples, home of “the world’s best pizza”. He has travelled there to perfect his skills as a pizzaiolo at the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, a Naples-based international association for which he has since become the Australasian principal. It’s there he learned the importance of quality, time, ingredients and temperature. The 400 Gradi house-made dough is cooked in a woodfired oven set at 400 degrees (400 gradi).
Di Francesco says Australia’s other capital cities are also on the cards; “We are also looking at Sydney, Brisbane and even Canberra to open restaurants, but for us we want to make sure we choose the right suburb and demographic for what we do. There is still a bit more research to be done before we sign off on anything,” says Di Francesco.
The pizzaiolo and restaurateur has also announced details of an international expansion; it plans to move into five countries before the end of 2018.
400 Gradi Adelaide is scheduled to open in September at 121 The Parade, Norwood.
This article was updated on June 19, 2018.