Divino Pizzeria: size matters at Sunderland’s newest Italian

Divino Pizza chef Alex Contini
Divino Pizza chef Alex Contini
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Get a pizza the action at the city’s only dedicated pizzeria.

Bosses at Divino Pizzeria say they are bringing “proper pizza” to Sunderland after opening in the former Cafe Roco in Burdon Road.

Divino Pizza, Burdon Road, Sunderland

Divino Pizza, Burdon Road, Sunderland

Alex and Kirsty Contini and Martin Duke took over the lease on the property after noticing the city centre was lacking a sit-down pizza restaurant.

Thought the trio have 20 years of experience as head chefs and restaurant managers between them, this is the first time they have opened their own business.

Alex, who hails from Siena in Italy, learnt his pizza technique in Naples and says he will bringing a traditional flavour to his dishes.

Specialities include American-style 20inch pizzas, as well as classic recipes from the old country.

Divino Pizza manager Kirsty Contini

Divino Pizza manager Kirsty Contini

“Being Italian I’ve always had a passion for pizza,” said Alex. “It’s proper traditional pizza, all our dough is made fresh the day before and we don’t use trays as all the bases are made by hand.

“I did a course in Naples on pizza-making and it’s a recipe that nobody is doing here.”

The new owners got the keys in early September and closed for refurbishment before opening up this week.

“It’s a great site,” said Kirsty. “So there wasn’t much work to do, it was mostly decorative. This building really appealed because it has a great location and it’s a great size as it seats around 40 people. We were looking for somewhere to open a restaurant and when we realised Sunderland doesn’t have a pizzeria we decided to do it here.”

Alex, who has worked in restaurants in Newcastle and Leeds, said: “I have always wanted to open my own restaurant and we’ve been getting great feedback from people already.”

Pizza Divino is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with around 20 types of pizza available during evenings and a range of salads and sandwiches also available during the day.

“Although there are Italian restaurants, there aren’t any pizzerias,” said Kirsty. “Whole pizzas start from £6.50, so it’s reasonably-priced too.”