Ross Fortuna – From motor oil to olive oil

This week we sat down with Stella Pizza cafe owner and Altona local Ross Fortuna to talk about his successful business in the heart of Pier Street. Moving to Altona at an early age Ross wanted to be a mechanic, he devoted 15 years to the trade and went on to do sales before realising his passion no longer lay in motor oil and his focus turned to olive oil. Ross and his family took over Stella’s in 2003, they changed the layout and menu and injected their families love and history of pizza making, the result has produced a *stella* product and an iconic name that is now venturing into their third store location.

Growing up in an Italian family where wood fired bread and pizzas was part of the weekly family gatherings Ross knew he and his mother’s long standing recipes were what the restaurant needed to take it to the next level. Now very much a part of Altona’s Pier street landscape we asked Ross what he loves about Altona “The beaches, Altona has that kind of village (feel), look at the streets there aren’t any traffic lights, it’s away from the hustle and bustle. People are always out walking at night along the esplanade, I’ve been here all my life and I’ve always loved it.”

Besides being very aware of food allergies and intolerances (since Ross’s wife is gluten intolerant and he himself suffers from intolerances) the restaurant brings an excellent selection of allergy specific menu options and arguably one of the best gluten free bases in the area. But for those without allergies Ross’ pick for the menu is the chicken parmigiana, polo fungi & of course the wood fire selection of pizzas.

The woodfired pizza’s produced at Stella’s have long been known not just to inner west locals but Melbourne wide thanks to Ross’ all time customer, Julia Gillard who was quoted in the Herald Sun saying that Stella’s was her choice for pizza in Melbourne, a statement that you can see warms the soul of this hard working business owner.

Stella Pizza Cafe
56 Pier St, Altona VIC 3018
03 9398 8117
Open 10AM-9PM 7 days