Johnny Di Francesco opens 400 Gradi Essendon

19 November, 2015 by
Aoife Boothroyd

Johnny Di Franceso – the winner of the 2014 Pizza World Championship – has added another venue to his portfolio with the opening of 400 Gradi in Essendon.

The new restaurant has been designed by South Melbourne studio Lombard & Jack and features dark grey walls, textured wool panelling and black and white tiles. The venue seats 220 guests with indoor, outdoor and private dining options available.

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The menu will keep in theme with Di Francesco’s other venues – 400 Gradi Crown and 400 Gradi Brunswick – by offering salumi, antipasta and authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Good Food reports that ex owner-chef of Fitzroy’s Town Hall Hotel, Harry Lilai, has come on board as executive chef of the Gradi Group, adding a number of dishes to the menu including gnocchi di patate with 20-year-old balsamic vinegar and black garlic; and slow-cooked capretto with lemon, paprika and white wine.

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In addition to the new venue, Di Francesco has plans to open a gelato store named Zero Gradi on Lygon Street early next year.

Hospitality caught up with Di Franceso recently to discuss what it takes to become a member of the AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana or Association of true Neapolitan Pizza). Look out for the November issue of Hospitality Magazine to read the full article.

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