You may recognise these guys from their pop ups at McLaren Vale’s Alpha Box & Dice, but now Pizzateca have found a more permanent home, and it’s just down the road.
Pizzateca is a coming together of Tony Mitolo, his father Vito, and their friend Tim, but we’re assured it’s a Mitolo family affair. “My family really holds the place together,” says Tony, “from prepping the contorni and Nonna’s Tiramisu, to front of house service.”
Tony has been a touring drummer for the past ten years, but Pizzateca has given him a new direction. “Pizza is my life now,” says Tony, “I’ve gone from beating skins to pounding dough and I’m loving every minute of it.”
Drawing inspiration from pizza experiences in Naples and New York City, Tony developed his own approach to pizza making, with a philosophy that he’s coined “Oztalia”. Being Australian-born with Italian heritage, Tony’s more passionate about creating a memorable pizza, than a carbon copy of something you’d find in Naples.
But that doesn’t mean he’s lost touch with the traditional Italian way of doing things.
“When we all get together at Easter, Christmas or whatever, we don’t skimp on things to make it easier to feed the quantity,” says Tony, “and the food coming out of the kitchen is the same as we eat on these occasions… no compromise.”
Put simply, it’s Nonna’s food.
“My philosophy whenever I try a new pizzeria is to go for the Margherita,” says Tony, “if the pizzeria can’t get the Margherita right, then they shouldn’t bother making any other pizzas.” So if he’s got one piece of advice – “get the Margherita and journey starts from there.” You can expect a thin Neapolitan-style pizza, with a soft, airy crust, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
But there’s something to be said for the Arrosticini, their Abruzzese-style lamb skewers cooked over charcoal with char-grilled bread and oil. “Charcoal and salt,” says Tony, “it’s that simple.”
Tony describes McLaren Vale as “shiraz country,” so it should come as no surprise the wine region plays home to his family’s shiraz vineyard. “My father and I make our home wine like Nonno did in his shed in Campbelltown,” says Tony, “only now we have some technology and friends in the area helping us, and it has a fancy label with a screw cap.” Try the Pizza Rosso, their bangin’ 2011 McLaren Vale Shiraz.
The Mitolo family have brought a piece of their heritage to the ever-evolving McLaren Vale, marrying two of our favourite things: pizza and wine. So make a day of your trip to Pizzateca, ‘cause we can guarantee it’s well worth the drive.