Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Winnipeg’s new upscale shop


Pizzeria Gusto, Winnipeg’s new upscale pizza restaurant, is doing a “boffo” business after being open just a couple of months. Co-owner Bobby Mottola reports that customers at the 60-seat restaurant have to wait as much as an hour to be seated.

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Pizzeria Gusto, Winnipeg’s new upscale pizza restaurant, is doing a “boffo” business after being open just a couple of months. Co-owner Bobby Mottola reports that customers at the 60-seat restaurant have to wait as much as an hour to be seated.

The Mottola family had been in the bar business before Bobby and his father, Don, opened Pizzeria Gusto. But, the younger Mottola says, the concept had been in the back of their mind for some time.

Pizzeria Gusto aims to be the “Ferrari” of pizza restaurants in Winnipeg – and the Mottolas spared no expense. They imported their Mugnania wood-burning oven direct from Tuscany. The oven burns at about 750 degrees F and bakes the pizza in two minutes.

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The tomatoes and cheeses used to make the pizzas – and the wines – are also imported from Italy. Mottola notes that the sauces are made from scratch.

To further the odds of Pizzeria Gusto’s success, the Mottola’s recruited Scott Bagshaw, one of Winnipeg’s star chefs. Bagshaw was previously the executive chef at Sydney’s, one of the city’s top restaurants.

The pizzas on the menu include the Marinara (with tomato topping), the Margherita (also with tomato topping and mozzarella di buffala), Napoletana (with anchovies and capers added), Bryce (with four cheeses), The Commish (roasted sweet potato, pine nuts, pecorino, brown butter and sage), Ryall (roast piquillo peppers, artichoke, caramelized onion, goats cheese and arugula), Genovese (potatoes, pesto sauce and parmesan), Sophia (drunk mushrooms, pecorino and oils), Waterloo (pesto, potato, proscuitto, pistachios, mozzarella and ricotta), Miki (proscuitto, fig jam, gorgonzola, olive oil, lemon and arugula), “887” (sausages, tomato sauce, mozzarella and peppers), Sinatra (eggs, proscuitto, artichokes, olives, mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil), Rocco (white sauce. whole clams, pancetta and arugula) and Courtney (lamb, peppers. arugula, garlic, oregano, olive oil and chive-spiked yogurt). All the pizzas are 10 inches.

Also on the menu are a choice of salads, sandwiches (Italian cold cut, roasted vegetables, roasted pork, roasted lamb or sausage and peppers), a cold tomato soup, bruschettas, calamari, antipasto, meatballs, Italian desserts and drinks.

“We have been overwhelmingly successful,” Mottola says.  “We opened on June 21 and already 40 per cent of our business are repeat customers.”