The home of pizza, pasta, parmi, and ribs!
It’s not news that Newcastle loves a good pizza – but what goes hand in hand with pizza? Not just pasta, but parmi and ribs too!
We dropped by the OG Papa Franco space in Wallsend to catch up with the brains behind this quickly evolving business to get the goss behind why their pizzeria is just so damn good.
For over 30 years, the Australian wine industry was home to the entrepreneurial spirit of a seasoned professional, Frank Fabrizio. After realising that retirement wasn’t for him, Frank created Papa Franco in late 2022 and has seen this pizzeria become a sensation across Newcastle and beyond.
“I got bored of retirement. I had retired and I had so much spare time. It was probably a little bit too early for my retirement. So, I decided I needed to do something.
“We’ve had restaurants attached to our wineries and cellar doors, so the experience was there. I looked around and thought a little pizzeria would be good. This one here in Wallsend was the first one, and I thought yep – this will keep me busy,” Frank said.
The decision to expand was a quick one, fuelled by the success of its Wallsend location, the Papa Franco brand can now be found in Nelson Bay, Hamilton, and their most recent store opening in Kotara.
“I was doing one, and the formula worked really well. So, I thought – why don’t we do another?”
Papa Franco’s success is rooted in its commitment to being a business for the locals. With strategic placement, each pizzeria is located away from the usual hustle and bustle and instead, in areas that have been calling for somewhere good to get casual, yet quality food.
“It wasn’t even just the menu that worked, it was the fact we were off the beaten track. We put ourselves in a place where there wasn’t anything else to choose from and the people were screaming out for something.”
The brand’s success is also a testament to the seasonal menu. Sitting on the higher end of the pizza scale, the menu showcases a commitment to quality with imported Italian flour, sauces, and top-notch ingredients.
“We use the best ingredients that we can find. Everything that we can do, is from the top of the line. For example, the ham we use is double-smoked, and our pepperoni is Italian Salami. All of our ingredients are top-end.”
The extensive menu offers everything from entrees, subs, and traditional and gourmet pizzas to salads, chicken parmis, pasta, ribs, sides, and of course, dessert. But what is Frank’s favourite?
“It is controversial – I actually love the pork ribs!”
The newest addition to the menu is the signature Papa Franco sub – embracing the concept of pizza but just in sub form.
“Our subs are so popular. People tend to order these as a starter.”
Not one to sit still, Frank has plans to continue expanding, with eyes on the Maitland area. Moreover, the pizzeria also has plans to introduce a popular U.S. concept – take n’ bake. Watch this space on that one…
Papa Franco has not only carved a niche in the competitive pizza scene of Newcastle but has also brought a unique dining experience to residents. With its commitment to quality, innovation, and community – Papa Franco is set to continue its success story. So, get on in and enjoy a slice of something truly special at your closest Papa Franco.