So Long, Sora: Get Ready for Meatball Cucina


What wasn’t working for Sora?

The 7-month-old, Italian-Japanese restaurant downtown closed last Saturday, so we had to ask.

The fusion concept: Edamame-cream clam chowder, anyone? Teriyaki truffle butter NY sirloin?

The lack of signage: From the street Sora looked like a closed bank. Finding a restaurant at “655 W. Broadway” -- and at night -- was absurd, unless you were tipped off that Sora hid on the ground-floor of the First Allied Plaza high-rise, and that you should park underground.

The price: Big plates sat comfortably around $30. Sora’s managing partner Alessandro Minutella says that wasn’t well received on this unlit end of Broadway.

“Our concept wasn’t fitting great with our community, it was a little bit of a high-end concept.”

Around mid-May Minutella (of Greystone, Osetra and Osteria Panevino restaurants) and some Italian investors will reopen the spot with a new concept. “Instead of confusing Italian-Japanese.”

Get ready for Meatball Cucina Modern Italian Eatery.

“I couldn’t think of anything different to revive this thing,” Minutella said. “I never thought I’d have a meatball restaurant... Coming from Italy we only ate meatballs with grandma. We never ordered it in a restaurant.”

He said San Diego’s kind of funny - he didn’t say “hillbilly” - let’s get that straight. He said our tastes were more “countryside.”

For the new place, there will be appetizers, pizzas, salads...

Of course, Meatball Cucina will be living up to its name with beef, pork, lamb, fish, blends of meats and vegetables made into spheres! And served on pastas or alone. Some as sliders. Cheese-topped or not. With different sauces.

Minutella describes it as a casual price-point -- think $7.95 for a hearty bunch of meatballs.

He’s bringing in Naples-born chef Gennaro De Liso, formerly of Chianti Restaurant. And he’s investing in a big canopy and more signage to better your chances of seeing Meatball Cucina from the curb.

For the record, the old Sora did Wagyu Menchi...$12 premium Japanese beef meatballs.

Read Keli Dailey’s full story and more on

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Source: DiscoverSD