What’s Hot in Local Dining? Motza Pizza Is!November 7, 2020
Have you tried the ‘’beautiful’’ pizza place everyone is talking about? It’s time to forget what you think you know about pizza restaurants and head to ‘Motza Pizza, Vino & Gelato’ at Castlecrag!
Those who have dined at Motza Pizza in Castlecrag know it’s more like visiting a friend’s house for dinner. A friend who has a beautiful home and serves great food. The greeting is always warm, the interior is stunning, you’ll likely know the other guests and your kids will be well catered for. Owner Richard Nichols is also usually found making his way around the tables chatting and offering Prosecco top-ups for the adults.
Delving into Richard’s history, his ability to create a welcoming atmosphere is no surprise. He began his love of hospitality with an apprenticeship and then management position at the Hilton Hotel. “In 1993 I opened my first restaurant, RIO’S, in Sydney’s inner west. It was a much-loved, 300-seat, Brazilian theatre restaurant and nightclub, and it was the place to party Latin style in Sydney,” he recalls. I also owned and managed a catering company which specialised in major events. We were contracted by the City of Sydney, the 2000 Sydney Olympics, big music festivals and the like to feed and hydrate the masses.”
There was also SUBSOLO, a high-end Spanish restaurant and bar in Sydney’s CBD, which Richard opened and ran from 2007-2018. Meanwhile, he came across a fabulous restaurant location in his own suburb of Castlecrag and was immediately inspired. “I came across the now Motza premises in 2017, and thought what a great place Castlecrag would be to open a local Pizzeria. The sort of place I would like to take my own family to. I could see our local village shops becoming a real foodie hub, and it’s not often you get an opportunity to work in the same neighbourhood that you live. The overwhelming factor was the opportunity to spend a lot more time bringing up my two young boys”.
The location, however, was inside Castlecrag’s historical Griffin Centre, which presented some major challenges on the design front. Many may remember wondering what was taking so long! “I decided to engage a great designer and then project manage the building process myself,” says Richard. “It took a lot longer than expected to finish the fit-out, but at the same time this created excitement within the community that something special was about to be unveiled”.
When it finally opened, Motza did not disappoint and there are a few very good reasons for that. “Without doubt we have lifted the bar when it comes to quality and value,” Richard says. “Our vision is to work with the best of everything. We have invested a small fortune on the ‘Ferrari’ of Italian pizza ovens, we use only the world’s finest ingredients, we’ve created our own unique signature pizza base, and we employ the best professional chefs and managers – not to mention the stand-out interior design”.
Soon everyone was talking about the “fancy but family-friendly pizza place” at Castlecrag. Recommendations and high-praise posts came thick and fast on Willoughby Living too. “The level of community response has been incredible,” says Richard. “It seems that the local community had been in need of such a venue, and I’m very proud to have opened it. Almost everyone at Motza become regular customers which gives me great joy. And, at the heart of it, Motza is designed for families. Nothing makes us happier than to see three different generations of a family dining together. We are super child friendly and offer a popular kids’ pizza and pasta menu, activity packs and colouring-in stencils to keep them busy. High chairs are always available and there are baby change facilities too.”
2020 threw some challenges at the new restaurant, as it did for most businesses during COVID restrictions. But they managed to weather the storm. “The Covid-19 crisis has been a double-edged sword for Motza,” says Richard. “During the original lockdown our pick-up and delivery service went ballistic, but the subsequent in-house seating restrictions reduced our seating capacity significantly. As a result, it’s sad that local young staff faced reduced working hours during that time. The good news is that group bookings of up to 30 are now back on – so it’s ‘Party Season’ at Motza!”
The Motza crew continue to work on new and exciting pizza and menu creations and they have an ongoing promotion for the community as well. “We keep getting asked if Motza’s famous 25% OFF all Pizzas Sunday to Thursday will continue,” says Richard. “The great news is that after running this promotion for the past 18 months we are still committed to giving our loyal customers the finest pizza without the price tag. Simply apply the promocode: MOTZAMATE when paying online for your minimum order to get your 25% discount. And if you haven’t tried a Motza Pizza yet, give it a go and taste the Motza difference!”
Haven’t dined at Motza before? Here’s the lowdown on what’s hot!
“Our classic Margherita outsells all others but the Suprema, Funghi and Calzone come close behind,” says Richard. “I think the “must try” though is our Carne Pizza with San Marzano Tomato, Double Smoked Ham, Italian Pork & Fennel Sausage, Salami Classico, Nduja and Fior Di Latte Cheese. When Peter Gilmore of Quay told me that it’s ‘one of the finest pizzas in Australia’, I knew we had nailed it!”
Shop 6, The Griffin Centre
122 Edinburgh Rd (Enter via The Postern), Castlecrag
For Bookings, Orders or Enquiries:
02 9958 5555