Piccolo Grand, Mamma Franca's and second SPQR join Melbourne's pizza party

Mamma Franca's Pizza Hall in Mordialloc.
Mamma Franca's Pizza Hall in Mordialloc. Photo: Sammie Cow

Whatever hero decreed that no corner in Melbourne should be deprived of an artisanal pizza slice, their work is almost complete. Just in time for spring, three new operators are adding to the crust crush.

Down in District Docklands (formerly Harbour Town, beneath the Melbourne Star), Liverpool Street's SPQR Pizzeria has a new branch, serving a tighter list of their Napoli-style, sourdough pizzas, but with the added bonus of personal pies (seven inches versus the normal 12) and negronis in cans. All drinks, from espresso martinis to Balter beers and wines are canned, so you can summon a chilli and guanciale Amatrice pie and cocktail for one, or a party. Otherwise, there are six stools and outdoor tables for sitting in.

In Richmond, the back bar of The Grand Hotel has become Piccolo Grand, a semi-autonomous pizza and prosecco bar, accessed via the rear alley. The Grand's original designer, Christo Gillard, has kitted it out with tan leather booths, red floors and tiled walls and while the 60-hour fermented woodfired pizzas stick to classic flavour combinations, the fine diner next door means truffles and porchetta can make the odd cameo. On the side: build-it-yourself antipasti boards, parmas, steak and two lasagnes, including the Grand's signature Marche version featuring chicken livers between the mince and pasta layers.

SPQR has opened a branch in Docklands.
SPQR has opened a branch in Docklands. Photo: Annika Kafcaloudis

In Mordialloc, Mamma Franca's Pizza Hall has become the fifth venue in the restaurant stable of Cory Jimmieson, Rob Kent, Brett Slaughter and Jimmy Christo who founded Bang Bang and Main Street Cafe. The group saw a need for Italian in the town, gutted a run-down cafe, consulted with celebrity chef Tobie Puttock and are now turning out Napoli-style pizzas, plus four rotating fresh pastas, snacky sardine sandwiches and oven charred vegetables, backed by a short list of Italian and Australian beers and wines by glass or carafe from Tuesday-Sunday noon-late.

SPQR, 102 Studio Lane, Docklands, spqrpizzeria.com

Piccolo Grand, 331 Burnley Street, Richmond, grandrichmond.com.au/piccologrand

Mamma Franca's, 9 Centreway, Mordialloc, mammafrancas.com.au