22 April 2024

Pop Pizza breathes life and colour and flavour back into Fraser shops!

| Michelle Taylor
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pizza parlour

Pop Pizza has breathed life and colour and flavour back in Fraser! Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Fraser shops are my local and we share a lengthy history.

My first three kids cut their teeth working shifts at the IGA there as soon as they were old enough. The local grocery shop, the pub and Fook Lee Sheng kept Fraser humming all those years ago.

Sadly, one by one, each of those once-bustling establishments closed their doors in their own time, turning the corner block into a barren place where you could hear the tumbleweeds blow across the car park.

Then, just weeks ago, work where our local Chinese once stood piqued our interest. Days later, a bright neon sign declared Pop Pizza open.

I imagined that this must be a pizza chain. What does Pop Pizza mean? Of course, this calls for a visit.

man leaning on counter in pizza shop

Drop in Pop Pizza and grab some delicious pizza! Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Owner Gregorio takes me by surprise! His name alone promises good quality Italian pizza.

The small restaurant sits colourful chairs around its tables, and if you eat in, your pizza will arrive on a wooden board crafted by the chef himself. Having studied medicine, Gregorio says that the decision to open his own restaurant was originally a financial one – setting himself up to have a family in the future. But exploring the delicate chemistry of pizza dough, continually experimenting with new processes and techniques and delighting in bringing joy to customers brings him deep satisfaction.

As we talk, Gregorio rolls my pizza dough out onto a semolina-dusted bench. He swipes it with tomato sauce and sprinkles chopped mozzarella and basil over the oblong of dough.

“I make Italian pizza, but it isn’t from any region. This would be a Margherita pizza, except that I like parmesan cheese and I add it to this pizza. So, I call it a Regina pizza.”

man holding pizza

Gregorio and a Regina pizza. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Gregorio is on a quest to continue to perfect his pizza game; he is his own harshest critic.

“I don’t want compliments about my pizza,” he insists.

“Give me a critique, give feedback on what I can do better. That is much more helpful. I want to learn and grow.”

I am trying to be critical. I really am. But the pizza I have just helped to demolish is truly fabulous.

Back to the Regina pizza. I really love my first piece, its crisp crust edges, the soft chew inside, the molten tomato sauce and the cheese that pulls away from the pizza in long, warm strands. The crust has a crunch, and the sauce is sweet and lush under the soft cheese.

The second time I grab some of Gregorio’s pizzas, it is to order some pleasers for the family. This means I am ordering a potato and sausage pizza and a Nutella pizza for dessert. How gorgeous is the potato and sausage pizza! Cubes of Italian sausage and rosemary-roasted potato dot the mozzarella/smoked Provola-encrusted landscape of blistered pizza crust. Classic Italian flavours baked into that wonderful dough.

Fraser, we are so lucky to have Gregorio!

How gorgeous is this potato and sausage pizza! Photo: Kazuri Photography.

I am not sure how he makes the Nutella pizza, but I enjoy a bit of mystery. Nutella oozes from the pizza’s centre. The dough is crisp around the warm, melty filling and my youngest doesn’t leave any, so I am grateful I grabbed a bite at the shop.

Gregorio’s tiramisu is also a must-try. He has worked hard to perfect each element and to achieve the perfect ratio of coffee to mascarpone to ladyfingers. If you’re worried about the raw eggs in tiramisu, don’t be. He pasteurises the eggs to kill any bacteria but not cook the eggs.

Gregorio is grateful that the local Fraser community has inundated him with support by way of lots of pizza orders – but considering the pizza, that’s hardly a surprise!

Pop Pizza is located at shop 2/4/8 Daley Crescent in Fraser. It’s open from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Follow Pop Pizza on Facebook. (Get down to Fraser and you might just hear Gregorio belting out some songs while he works.)

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