Back for thirds in the Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge

Gino’s in Robertsham is determined to reclaim the top spot!

Gino’s in Robertsham is something of a Johannesburg restaurant institution – an old favourite that has stood the test of time and proudly celebrates its 40th anniversary in November this year.

So, it was hardly surprising to its clientele that this family-run business won top spot in the inaugural Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge 2021, beating tough competition from around the country.

What did amaze many of Gino’s loyal customers though was the restaurant being pipped at the post in last year’s competition, to take the runner-up spot behind eventual winner Ferdinando’s, from Observatory in Cape Town.

But if there’s one thing owner Gino Mazza has learnt during his four decades in the restaurant business it is that staying on top cannot be accomplished without tenacity, resilience and perseverance.

It should come as no surprise then to learn that Gino’s will once again compete for the crown of South Africa’s favourite pizza maker in this year’s Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge.

Says Mazza: “We are back to take up the challenge and definitely in it to win it! Last year’s competition created a fun atmosphere amongst our customers, and many have become real pros at creating their favourite pizza and wine combinations.”

So will Gino and his team do anything different this year to get back to the top spot?

“No, we’re not planning on doing anything different, but will continue to provide great service and fantastic pizzas, because ultimately that’s what the competition is all about. We have not and will not change a thing, because our customers love the consistency and know what to expect when ordering a Gino’s pizza! Hearing customers say ‘it’s always the same, nothing ever changes,’ is a part of our brand.”
Although Gino’s was the brainchild of eldest son Gino, the entire family, from father Guiseppe, to mom Antonia as well as sisters Carmela and Maria and youngest brother, Dom, were drawn into the business in true Italian style. Today there are two family-run restaurants, the original Gino’s still remains in the heart of Robertsham and is run by Mazza and his sister Carmela, while the second Gino’s opened in Stellenbosch in 1996 with Dom in charge.

The Stellenbosch branch has also entered again this year, having been placed fourth in last year’s challenge.
Mazza says his restaurant’s best seller and signature pizza remains the Chiattona.

“The one with everything, as customers call it,” he says. “We also have a signature oval shape which is a favourite.
For him, a pizza has to have a good crust and quality cheese and ingredients. His personal favourite toppings are bacon, anchovies, olives and onions and he believes that anything that can be put on a slice of bread can be used as a pizza topping.

“We will be celebrating 40 years of trading on November 1, 2023,” says Mazza. “We are proud to have achieved this milestone and, with so many aspects of life changing, tough times and the Covid lockdown having a real impact, it’s heartwarming that our loyal customers have seen us through to such an incredible upcoming anniversary! To each and every one of them, we say a massive thank you!”

Perhaps Mazza and his team will get to celebrate their 40 years in the business by reclaiming the top spot in the Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge 2023!  One thing’s for sure – the rivalry is going to be fun but fierce, with the ultimate winner being South Africa’s pizza-loving public who will get to enjoy some of the best pizzas in the country!

The Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge 2023 is now open and runs until September 30, with the winner being announced in early November. The challenge is open to any restaurant offering pizza on their menu and holding a valid liquor license.
Consumers dining at participating restaurants will notice point-of-sale containing a QR code that prompts them to the voting platform. For more information and to vote via the website, please visit:
Each week, a lucky voter will be drawn to win a case of wine from Porcupine Ridge and an EarthFire Pizza Board and Cutter, worth a combined R1 200. A grand prize winner drawn at the end of the challenge will receive five cases of wine from Porcupine Ridge, an EarthFire Pizza Oven and a year’s supply of pizza from their favourite restaurant, with a total value of R8,000.
Gino’s is located at 126 Harry Street, Robertsham, Johannesburg. Telephone 011 680 1819 or visit

Social media details are Facebook – @ginospaesa; Instagram – @ginospizzajhb; Twitter – @GRobertsham. For more on Porcupine Ridge visit:

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