From Zero to 400 Gradi – We Enjoy Some Real Italian Dining
400 Gradi started nearly ten years ago as one small 60 seater restaurant. Then after 18 months, it expanded into the second site, and business started to get a little bit more hectic.
The story of 400 Gradi is proudly expanded on by owner Johnny De Franchesco.
Then going on from there, 2014 I ended up winning the world’s best pizza and that’s when the business went to a new level again however in the meantime we were already starting to construct this bar that we were sitting in right now. This wasn’t an afterthought, this was in the planning of opening a separate bar area for a different offering but as that award came through obviously business went crazy so we ended up using the bar for seating also.
The bar idea sort of amalgamated into the restaurant. We’ve been here for ten years, I am actually a local, I grew up here in Brunswick, my mum is still here, we’ve been living in the area for about 38 years so I have seen Brunswick grow and I am allowed to say this because I grew up here.
“From the slums to what it is today” a bit more affluent than what I saw as a child, my connection to Brunswick, I obviously went to many schools in Brunswick and also one of my first restaurant experiences was on Lygon street East Brunswick a place that’s not around anymore but was called Tony’s Fasta Pasta. I was working in there as a dishwasher and that was a crazy experience.
I love this suburb, I always say to people you can take the boy out of Brunswick but you can never take Brunswick out of the boy. Because once you have grown up here you have that culture instilled in you.
Other than your restaurant, is there some other place around that you can chat to us about?
Yeah, definitely I go to Rumi it’s a beautiful middle eastern restaurant, I go over the road to Talia Thai a fair bit, I think really between Thalia Thai and Zia Teresa. I mean Zia Teresa has been here a lifetime, when I was working here 27-28 years ago at the restaurant Zia Teresa was here, she is the iconic restauranter of East Brunswick then when it comes down to the next one then I would say Thalia Thai because they were the first real draw card to say wow, East Brunswick has become a bit more foodie. So these are places I regard with high respect.
With 400 Gradi once we came to the area we brought in a different offering to what everyone else was doing we probably made Brunswick evolve a little bit different, we attracted a different clientele which everyone has benefited from, which is great.
So these days, who is your clientele?
We get a fair few locals, but we also get people coming from other suburbs which is a great thing, you can imagine for the last four years we’ve had people interstate come to visit East Brunswick, people who didn’t even know what East Brunswick was.
We’ve had people come from overseas, from the States, from China, Japan to East Brunswick to see what the world’s best pizza is all about right! So I think that is the different dynamic of people that we have brought into this area. When they come here, then they see what else is on offer here because we have some amazing restaurants.
Could you talk about your menu at the moment?
You know, we develop new menus all the time but a dish that is never going to leave our menu is our Margarita that’s what our staple is, that’s what we are known for. Not only locally but also internationally. With the rest of the food we cover all Italian, we’ve got our beautiful cured meats and that’s a beautiful start, then we have a lot of entrees.
We’ve got our pastas, our fresh pasta, our meat, our fish so I say we’ve got something for everyone. It’s not just a pizza shop or a pizzeria it’s actually a pizza restaurant. You could dine here, twice a week and know that you are not going to eat the same thing all the time, you are not coming here thinking i’m just gonna have a pizza.
But just to check, it’s totally ok if I want to come here twice a week and have pizza?
Yeah mate! Of course 100%, you can come here five days a week and have pizza.
Actually, our pizza is quite healthy, if you eat our margarita it’s got less than 600 calories. I even know a great mate of mine in New York he lost 40kg eating pizza every single day.
I know there are all kinds of pizza, your pizza isn’t about putting as many toppings on as you can, it’s about making a great tasting pizza. I know there are all kinds of pizza but here it’s about quality and fresh ingredients.
Yeah, I think that’s like a fast food pizza, ours is not a fast food pizza ours is really a meal, it’s nutritional.
Two years ago we opened up our first gelato shop called Zero Gradi, obviously with the name Zero Gradi meaning something at freezing temperature. The gelato is very, very traditional, we play around with a few flavours but we also have those traditional flavours that you find if you go to Italy.
The gelato is made in house and if you walk into the shop you will see people making gelato every day. So we are not making gelato twice a week or three times a week, we actually make it every single day, fresh. That’s what I think differentiates us as a gelato shop to an ice cream shop or someone who has a gelato shop but is bringing in gelato from a third party supplier. For us, it’s all about fresh ingredients.
So date night, 400 Gradi a few drinks, pizza pasta and then..
Go next door have a few desserts there yep, we don’t only do gelato we have all our cakes that are made in-house our pastries, we do milkshakes or gelato shakes really.
Winter is coming along, we are planning to do some winter options, we will probably be doing some crepes, we are going to test this new in-house cone that we are going to produce ourselves, it’s a little bit different to a normal cone, STAY tuned for that one.