Gino’s made headlines last year as the winner of the Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge.

A family-run pizzeria in Robertsham run by owner Gino Mazza and his sister Carmela, with Gino’s daughters helping out on weekends and school holidays, the restaurant has been a favourite amongst customers for almost 40 years who now visit with their children and grandchildren. We caught up with Gino to find out the secret to their success, the menu favourites, and, of course, what makes their pizza so delicious.

What did winning the Pizzeria award last year mean to you?

It was such an honour to win! For us it meant we were recognised as a favourite by a lot of people, and it was heart-warming to receive such positive feedback from our community and loyal supporters!

 

What do you think goes into running a neighbourhood eatery with such longevity?

It’s important to stick to your principles and to give people value for money. We’ve always attempted to show our hard work, our energy and passion for what we do.

 

Are there any anecdotes you can share that demonstrate how you’ve remained favourites for so long?

Trading for 39 years (this November) has meant that we have witnessed many memories being made in our establishment. We’ve been fortunate enough to host many celebrations for families that have become regulars, and this way we share these special moments with them.

Couples have met in our restaurant as singles (Gino himself met his wife here). We’ve celebrated engagements and small weddings here, including Gino’s daughter who had her wedding inside Gino’s on a Monday as it was the only day available, as well as many small family receptions for so many happy couples. We’ve seen baby showers and birthdays – Gino once gave a table a bottle of champagne to be opened on their daughter’s 18th birthday, and the family sent us a picture of the moment they popped open the bottle during lockdown to celebrate their daughters 18th birthday! Being included in the community in this way is what makes what we do so special.

 

 

What are some of the dishes that people return for, year after year?

The pizzas are clearly a favourite! But there are a lot of customers who enjoy our other dishes like the Maria Special, or the Pollo Ricotta, the Calamari Oven or our Tripe Stew. These are the kinds of dishes that if customers like them, they’ll return for them year after year.

 

What have some of the changes been throughout the years? How have you adapted to today’s restaurant scene?

Covid was a big shock, and a lot of people have changed their eating habits. Instead of dining out, people avoid going out too late – they make sure they are home early. We had to adapt to the demand for deliveries and the increase in takeaways. We also had to start reserving tables which was something we never previously did.

 

Why are your pizzas SO good? Can you tell us about how you make them?

That’s an easy one to answer; use good ingredients, and good chefs who know how to mix the flavours well and who know how to cook the pizza properly. The secret is to use the very best ingredients available to you to make your pizza!