Johnny Gio’s is one of those rare companies that are optimized for lockdown. “It was almost better for us,” says owner Jonathan Faro (also from Society Pizza). Broadsheet. It was so good that Faro opened two more Johnny Gios eateries during lockdown, in Newtown and Coogee.
Many of the recipes for pizzas, pastas and side dishes are based on Faro’s mother’s cooking, including marinara meatballs, chicken schnitzel and eggplant parmigiana, but have been adapted to the consistency, which is Faro’s mantra.
“I do not want to expand the stores too quickly, because everything must work perfectly to maintain uniformity and quality. Basically, good pizza is much more than just food. ”
Bondi Road was the first place for Johnny Gio’s, and it still uses a static oven to cook. But its follow-ups, in Waterloo (which opened last year), Newtown and Coogee, have red tiled brick stoves imported from Florence. Lockdown did not interfere with getting the stoves into the new rooms, but the installation process is involved.
“The furnaces are built on site by two different teams,” says Faro. Faro, who was previously a builder and trained engineer, is clearly fascinated by the process as he describes how the insulation was laid over the kiln core, followed by a plastering and more than a week of waiting. »The plaster must dry for five days, then you can fire it up in the oven for three days, so that all the moisture goes out of the cement. If you do not do all that, it will break. ”
Time is worth it. The ovens are more efficient than on Bondi Road, and it’s easier to get the cooking process down to a science. Each pie, filled with toppings, is cooked for two and a half minutes on a rotating hot stone at 380 degrees Celsius. They come out with blistered crusts. Classic pizzas include Mamma’s Meatballs with Tomato, Homemade Meatballs and Parmesan; Burrata Queen with cherry tomatoes, confit garlic and a shaky ball of burrata in the middle waiting to be cracked over the pizza; and plenty of meat options.
Consistency does not mean that the menus do not change. Johnny Boy is a new garlic-like vegetarian pizza, and The Hesh features cherry tomato, confit garlic, shrimp and basil.
The brand also collaborates with The Fermentalists to create a range of hot sauces that can be combined with pizzas.
“El Diablo pizza goes with the green jalapeno hot sauce, and the meaty Sammy the Butcher goes with Johnny Gio’s smoky hot sauce,” says Faro.
Takeaway shopping can be good for efficiency, but Faro is happy to have customers back to eat in the store. “We make some amazing pre-batch drinks, like Negronis, Margaritas, Martinis and Cosmos, and we make a Menabrea pale ale on tap.”
Manly and Cronulla can soon expect their own Johnny Gios outposts, and Faro is busy working at a delicatessen in New York that is to be a brother brand to the pizzeria. “I have big plans. We’re launching this deli, a sandwich brand. Imagine Johnny Gio’s pizza but cold cuts and fresh mozzarella.”
Johnny Gios Newtown
182 King Street Newtown
(02) 9557 6827
Mon to Sat 17.00-22.00 Sun 12.00-22.00
Johnny Gios Coogee
207 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee
0458 061 702
Mon to Sat 17.00-22.00