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Award-winning Italian restaurant 400 degreesfounded in Melbourne, Australia by celebrity chef Johnny Di Francesco, expands its DFW presence with a second location, plus two new locations of its famed dessert/gelateria shop Zero degree.

The restaurant will open in McKinney, District 121, a $250 million mixed-use development on the northeast corner of State Highway 121 and Alma Road next to Craig Ranch.

The original 400 Gradi is in downtown Dallas. Di Francesco – a regular on Australian TV shows such as MasterChef Australia, The Mentorand Gourmet everyday — opened the building restaurant at 2000 Ross Ave. in 2019, as well as the first in the USA

Its authentic Neapolitan-style ingredients, such as San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil and flour imported from Italy, have not only earned a loyal following, but also the Best Pizza award at CultureMap’s annual Tastemaker Awards. in 2022.

I mean, consider the Suprema pizza with fior di latte, pumpkin, arugula, pine nuts and goat cheese. What’s not to like.

Expansion of desserts
In 2021, they opened a sweet spin-off next to their downtown restaurant: Zero Gradi, with espresso, Italian-inspired pastries and a gelateria with traditional gelato and sorbetto.

Now there will be two more Zero Gradis:

  • McKinneyalso at District 121, at 6107 Alma Rd. in McKinney, adjoining 400 Gradi, just like the original in Dallas.
  • frisco, in the Starwood shops, at 6975 Lebanon Rd. #307, in a former jewelry and perfume store called Trends. This location will be a standalone store.

400 Gradi director Igor Stevovic says the northward expansion was driven by customer demand. This included David Craig, founder of District 121, who encouraged them to join the range of Craig Ranch, his mixed-use development at SH-121 and Alma Road.

“It was a natural expansion as we saw a lot of customers coming from that area,” says Stevovic. “These were people traveling 30 minutes from downtown Dallas.”

However, their goal is not to have a 400 Gradi on every block.

“We care about producing high-quality food from scratch, with handmade dough and pizza dough that is as authentic as possible,” says Stevovic. “That’s what’s important to us. We are the only restaurant in the United States that filters its water to achieve the same degree of softness as in Naples.”

“But we feel like there’s an audience for a second Zero Gradi,” he says. “Our ice cream, pastries and baked goods are wonderful and people downtown have shown they appreciate it immensely.”

Zero Gradi made CultureMap’s list of the best desserts for Valentine’s Day 2022, where it was praised for its ice cream cakes and luscious almond croissant filled with almond cream and blueberry jam, as well as its propensity to use pistachios (instead of bottled paste) and hazelnuts from Piedmont, Italy, hailed by experts like the best hazelnuts in the world.

The shop was also nominated for CultureMap’s 2022 Tastemaker Awards for Best Pastry Chef Lizbeth “Lizzie” Ramirez.

Construction of the Frisco store is just beginning, with an opening expected by the end of the year; McKinney opens in early 2023.

“Dallas’ population is growing exponentially, with an increasingly sophisticated palate sensibility,” says Stevovic. “For us, that’s good, because our food has an incomparable authenticity.”

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