Long live Wickham’s pizza joint
In February, all of our hearts sunk as OG Masa Madre owners, Steve & Naomi, announced that they were closing the doors of the much-loved Wickham pizza joint for good.
Thankfully, pizza-loving superhero and Newcastle hospitality whizz Andrew Dunne (Dunny) swooped in and has continued to bring us all the Masa Madre greatness, just now with his own spin.
“I ate here once a week, and I went on Instagram to grab the number again and I saw that they had announced they’d closed. I basically said, can I buy it from you? They said let us think about it for a week. They got back to us, and it all happened pretty quickly,” Dunny said.
With Masa Madre serving pizzas to the Newcastle community since its inception in late 2016, taking over the reins of this beloved eatery with a cult-like following wasn’t taken lightly. Dunny spent a few weeks tirelessly perfecting the Masa Madre dough to ensure visitors were either getting the same quality pizza, if not, it had to be better.
“Normally when you buy a business you might have a three-month handover and learn how to do everything from the previous owners, but we didn’t really have that opportunity. In comes my saving grace, Josh.”
Josh Nicholson, originally from Melbourne, has spent his formative years working in high-end restaurants and the catering scene across Melbourne and Canada and has been the man behind perfecting those Masa Madre doughs.
“I worked in a hatted restaurant in Melbourne and was in charge of the pizzas there. It’s basically just fancy toast. You put good stuff on it and people will love it. There’s a lot to it, but at the end of the day, it’s just fancy toast,” Josh said.
Officially opening back up in March, the team waited with bated breath to see if their pizzas were hitting the spot for those loyal locals.
“I really didn’t want to serve up anything that was sub par from what it was, so we spent a lot of time perfecting that. Since we opened in mid-March the feedback has been amazing and we’ve been super busy,” Dunny said.
We can confirm that all of the Masa Madre classics are still on the menu, alongside a featured special or two each week. Sticking with the original philosophy of the brand, the team is still using high-quality ingredients and 100% natural sourdough.
“The dough is made daily and fermented for a minimum of 24 hours. We hand stretch our pizzas and cook exclusively in a wood fire. We use high quality toppings and try to use Australian products wherever possible.”
Masa Madre can be found on Wickham’s very industrial and busy-by-day, quiet-by-night, Railway Street. Order your fancy toast and pull up a seat (or crate) outside and soak up that Wickham atmosphere. Expanding the Wickham-based venue’s opening hours to seven days a week from 5pm, and on Fridays from 12pm – Dunny has now given you a good reason to have pizza every day of the week.
So, does Masa Madre stand up to the original hype? You be the judge.