Neighbourhood Pizza started to literally serve its neighbourhood.
“Mainly, the premise of the restaurant was to be a place for locals,” co-owner Emily Stribley said. “That was the original concept, it’s a local spot, we have the same people come in, week in, week out. So it was all about bringing a neighbourhood and community vibe.
“Neighbourhood Pizza is the place to bring your mum, to bring your date, the place to bring your kids. I’ve lived in New York and the food was incredible over there but nothing beats coming home to Melbourne. You cannot beat it.”
Emily and Michael opened the Armadale location pre-pandemic after a lifetime in hospitality. They’d both worked in various cafes and had mouth-watering backgrounds in food - Emily in front of house, Michael in back of house. Michael was the head chef at a previous venue where Emily worked alongside her brother. “Can I say she was the sexy waitress?”
Neighbourhood Pizza was starting to really take off and get busy, and then COVID hit and complicated things. They turned to technology, with mixed reviews.
“We tried quite a few delivery partners and platforms and they just weren’t working right for us,” Michael said.
“We had a whole on-road dining activation and they blocked off the entire road and we went from being a 40-seat restaurant to having another 100 seats outside and we couldn’t service that without Mr Yum. From there, we integrated Mr Yum into more of our takeaway aspect and then we phased out other delivery partners because they were effectively ripping us off.”
“We’re always open to opportunities coming up and it was a little bit different being a restaurant and being pizza but we know food, we’ve worked in food for a long time, and we just love serving people and delivering an amazing experience,” Emily said.
“It turns out that if you treat people nicely and give them good food consistently, they come back,” Michael said.
“The food is just classics that people like. We just make it taste good, it’s as simple as that. There’s nothing fancy, it’s just yum. Our gnocchi is made in-house, all the pizzas are hand stretched. The boys are here early every day making the dough and letting it ferment for 48 hours.
“It’s like having friends over for dinner every night, but you have like 120 friends.”