The $2.3 million Little Italy Food Hall, featuring six restaurants and a bar, will open Thursday at the Piazza della Famiglia, 550 W. Date St., as the latest addition to one of San Diego’s top food and beverage meccas.
Mike DiNorscia, whose newly established Grain & Grit Collective developed the project, said the neighborhood’s Italian immigrant roots play a big part in creating the atmosphere.
“When you come into the food hall, we have a big photo collage of historic images from a couple of different organizations,” he said. “We wanted to tell that story and pay homage to those families with this project.” Grain & Grit will operate the Little Italy Food Hall Bar with 18 beers on tap, a selection of wines from Italy and elsewhere and a craft cocktail program. There also will be an imported Italian vendor cart serving beer and wine in the patio.
The 4,685-square-foot interior with 40 seats (and 100 outside) will include these tenants:
- Ambrogio 15, a gourmet pizzeria employing a traditional pizza oven from Italy
- Mein St. Asian Kitchen, a mashup of chow mein and Main Street, with offerings of dumplings, chicken wings and boba teas
- Not Not Tacos by Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien, a TV chef and author, featuring offbeat tacos filled with meatloaf, pastrami and other unexpected ingredients
- Roast Meat & Sandwich Shop with “superfood salads” and special sandwiches, whole-roast chickens and meatballs.
- Single Fin Kitchen, its seafood menu inspired by Japanese donburi rice bowls.
- Wicked Maine Lobster, serving Maine lobster rolls, macaroni and cheese, clam bake, shrimp baskets and chowder.
The food hall will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Grain & Grit’s project consultants included CLTVT on construction; Gensler on architecture; and San Diego Restaurant Supply on contracting. It is part of H.G. Fenton’s 125-unit apartment project between Columbia and India streets.
Several of the offerings are new businesses, including Zien’s taco shop, which he said was envisioned as something beyond traditional Mexican fare. He also has taken on the duty of the project’s “ambassador” to the community and media and who will help lead outdoor cooking demonstrations in the piazza.
“We already have yoga and knitting classes on the piazza,” he said. “When it comes to our part, it’ll be teaching people about food.”
Roger Showley is a San Diego freelance writer. He can be reached at (619) 787-5714; and firstname.lastname@example.org