In 2016, Andrea Cozzolino of Zero 95 Pizza Bar won the Caputo Cup pizza championship for his Neapolitan Margherita. Coburg is the newest home of that pizza. It’s unlikely the world champion and Italian native ever saw himself throwing dough in the slammer.

“I’m really excited, it’s going to be something amazing,” says Cozzolino. Originally from Naples, he moved to Australia four-and-a-half years ago on a whim.

“First I came to Sydney, I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t know any word of English,” he says. “Slowly I learnt English, and I made new friends.”

Cozzolino met his future business partners Francesco Crifo and Anthony Biviano at a function, and decided to start a pizza restaurant soon after. “We had the same dreams, opening a restaurant in Australia,” says Cozzolino. “We shared a love and passion for food.”

Zero 95 Pizza Bar is the first retail tenant of the Pentridge Coburg redevelopment project. It’s an ambitious hospitality and residential development that’s being built within the walls of the now-closed Pentridge Prison – one of Australia’s most notorious jails.

Biviano says the 700-square-metre, 400-capacity venue will be in a proposed new two-storey building, incorporated with Pentridge’s existing structures.

“We’ve actually taken one of the old buildings, which is adjacent to the block where our new building will be built, it’s a bit of old and new mixed, so we’ll have one of the bluestone buildings as part of our restaurant,” he says.

“The old warden’s buildings, the old hospital sites and some of the old cell blocks have been redeveloped to form part of a hospitality or culinary mix,” says Biviano.

It will be joining Palace Cinemas, which last year announced the development of a 15-screen cinema at Pentridge.

Zero 95 has pizza bars in Doncaster and Templestowe, as well as Six Slices in Kew, but the Pentridge location represents its first inner-city challenge. According to Biviano, hopes are very high.

“I think it’s going to be a focal point of the community in Coburg, but also Melbourne itself.”

Zero 95 Pizza Bar Pentridge Coburg is scheduled to open at the end of 2018.

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