By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Italian restaurateur Matteo Cattaneo has soft-opened his non-profit breakfast/lunch restaurant in South Park, named Matteo. All profits (after operating costs) will be donated to various non-profit organizations that focus on education and early childhood development.
The 2,800-square-foot eatery offers morning standbys such as toasts, sandwiches, breakfast pizzas, frittatas and more. Pastries such as coffee cake and cinnamon rolls are crafted by head baker Joanne Sherif, who ran the former Cardamom Cafe in North Park for many years.
The shelves will also give way to freshly baked loaves of focaccia, along with imported Italian staples found in Matteo’s market section.
Cattaneo is a native of Bergamo, Italy and also owns a trio of Buona Forchetta restaurants in San Diego. 3015 Juniper St., 619-381-4844.
Cardellino restaurant and its bakery component opened Jan. 30 in Mission Hills, although the walk-up ice cream window, named Mr. Trustee, doesn’t launch until later this month. The multi-concept project, which also includes a wine shop, is headed by Trust Restaurant Group (Fort Oak, Rare Society and Trust Restaurant).
A preliminary peek into Cardellino reveals geometric patterns inspired by pasta noodles and a mural paying homage to tomato paste labels. The all-day menu features everything from vanilla pancakes, frittatas and shrimp omelets to pizzas, burgers and fried bologna sandwiches. The dinner lineup includes salads, a dry-aged porterhouse steak, and numerous pasta dishes. 4033 Goldfinch St., 619-600-5311, cardellinosd.com.
The latest update on Breakfast Republic coming to Hillcrest is that the locally based chain will open there in May or June. It takes over the space last occupied by Fig Tree Cafe, which remains operating in Pacific Beach and Liberty Station.
The cafes and Breakfast Republic restaurants are owned by Johan Engman, who chose Hillcrest for his 10th regional location of Breakfast Republic because of consumer demand. The interior is being completely remodeled, and the menu will be the same as all of the other locations. 416 University Ave., breakfastrepublic.com.
Embark on a culinary trip to Peru via Hanna’s Gourmet in Normal Heights as chef-owner Hanna Tesfamichael presents several dishes from the South American country. The family-style dinner features two seatings — at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Feb. 20. On the menu are “papa a la huacaini” potatoes, roasted chicken with creamy green sauce, beef and vegetable stir fry, and more. The cost is $45 per person. 2864 Adams Ave., 619-280-5600,
Cohn Restaurant Group’s non-profit Tacos Libertad in Hillcrest has chosen the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Conservancy as its February beneficiary. The philanthropic organization works in 52 countries and has been involved in helping to save Australia’s wildlife after this season’s devastating fires.
Since opening in 2017, the taco shop has donated more than $100,000 to different charitable causes. 1023 University Ave., 619-481-5035, cohnrestaurants.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.