By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Moumen Nouri of Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro in Hillcrest is reconfiguring his 12-year-old subterranean restaurant to allow for a bigger patio, which he’ll grace with custom-made Moroccan furniture. The remodel is expected to be completed by mid-March — and by mid-April he plans on introducing more small plates and vegetarian items to the menu. He will also start featuring late-night DJs and belly dancers on the weekends. 3940 Fourth Ave., 619-295-5560, kouskousrestaurant.com.
The much-anticipated “chef-to-table” Maestoso restaurant opened March 5 in the HUB Hillcrest Market.
Appearing in place of Napizza, which moved to University Town Center and still maintains a location in Little Italy, the new eatery is headed by chef Marco Maestoro, an Italian transplant who has cooked for Donatella Versace and former Italian president Giorgio Napolitano.
The menu features “daily whims of the chef” offered directly to guests’ tables; build-your-own pasta dishes; and pinsa, which is the Roman ancestor of pizza blending rice and wheat flour into the crust.
The sleek 2,000-square-foot interior is distinguished by a large, majestic chandelier and an open kitchen. 1040 University Ave., 619-642-0777, maestoso.com.
This summer marks the arrival of a nonprofit Italian-inspired bakery and breakfast joint in the South Park space that formerly housed Rebecca’s Coffee. The recently announced project is the brainchild of Matteo Cattaneo, founder of nearby Buona Forchetta and Officine Buona Borchetta in Liberty Station.
Profits raised at the still-unnamed eatery will benefit public schools within the San Diego Unified School District. In addition, Cattaneo plans to include a space where kids can learn cooking techniques and participate in a variety of classes offered by the schools. For updates, follow Buona Forchetta on Facebook or Instagram. 3015 Juniper St.
Just in time for the colder half of our winter, the pho-centric Shank & Bone opened recently in North Park with an ample bar and community tables for consuming a host of Vietnamese specialties. Ingredient choices for pho include filet mignon, oxtail, meatballs, and lobster. The menu also features bahn mi sandwiches, bun bowls, and of course, beef shank and bone marrow in keeping with its name. 2930 University Ave., 619-458-9085.
Tarts, macarons, kouign-amanns and other French pastries are in the offing at the new Patisserie Melanie in Hillcrest. The licensed home shop, launched by Le Cordon Bleu alum Melanie Dunn and her husband, Axel Schwarz, showcases elegant pastries and cakes made in small batches in the couple’s home kitchen, a floor above their retail space. 3788 Park Blvd, Suite 4, 619-677-2132, patisseriemelanie.com.
Commercial property brokerage, Location Matters, recently signed into place a Japanese-owned establishment in Kensington called Tanuki. The business will operate as a coffee spot by day and a sake bar by night. Sushi, sake and matcha tea will be available. Tanuki is expected to open within the next few months. 4191 Adams Ave.
A vacant lot in South Park will soon be transformed into an espresso bar and pastry outlet in a garden setting. The project is the brainchild of Jen Byard, founder of Communal Coffee in North Park (2335 University Ave.). This will be her second location of the popular cafe, which she’ll partly contain in a 1959 Shasta trailer for selling a rotating selection of lattes and other coffee drinks, plus outsourced pastries.
Her menu will be similar to the North Park location’s, and will also include donuts and bagel sandwiches supplied through a partnership she recently formed with Nomad Donuts.
The 2,000-square-foot parcel will offer scattered seating and serve also as a community space with artistic elements and a stage for live performances. 2221 Fern St., communalcoffee.com.
A family-run Italian restaurant with a broad menu spilling into all-American fare has opened in Linda Vista’s busy Presidio strip plaza near the University of San Diego. This is the second location for Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant, which operates a kitchen under the same name in Kearny Mesa at 9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
Mingling with numerous pasta dishes and pizzas are things like salad wraps, burgers and boneless chicken wings. There are also torpedo sandwiches, including a pastrami Reuben and Philly cheesesteak. Beer and wine are also in the offing. 5277 Linda Vista Road, 619-293-3333.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.