Buona Forchetta expands its culinary footprint to San Marcos

Buona Forchetta's new San Marcos location will hold its grand opening on July 7.
(Pam Kragen / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Buona Forchetta, the popular South Park-born Italian restaurant company, has seven locations countywide


Buona Forchetta, the popular South Park-born Italian restaurant company with seven locations countywide, expands its North County footprint this week with the opening of a new location in the North City development near Cal State San Marcos.

The new Buona Forchetta restaurant at 250 North City Drive in San Marcos hosts its grand opening Wednesday in the 120-seat indoor/outdoor location formerly occupied by PrepKitchen, which closed in March 2020.

The new location is open for lunch and dinner service and will eventually add breakfast and brunch service when there’s enough demand. It will serve the same menu as the other locations of Buona Forchetta (which is Italian for “good fork”).

Company founder Matteo Cattaneo said the North City landlords made him a great offer to come in as a name-brand draw for what builders hope will become a popular dining district at North City, a 200-acre mixed-use development on the university’s northern border that will eventually include 3,400 residential units, 375,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, up to 1 million square feet of commercial office space and 20 acres of parks.

The interior of the new Buona Forchetta restaurant in San Marcos, which hosts its grand opening on July 7.
(Pam Kragen / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Cattaneo said he leased the San Marcos space at the dawn of the pandemic with the agreement that he could wait to open when economic conditions improved. Since restaurants were allowed to reopen with no restrictions on June 15, Cattaneo said business at all of his locations has been the best in the history of his 10-year-old company, despite the industry’s ongoing labor shortage. He credits the increase in business to pent-up demand and customer loyalty for the company’s grocery and family meal service during the pandemic, as well as its community philanthropic efforts at places like The Monarch School and McKinley Elementary in San Diego.

Cattaneo grew up in Bergamo, Italy, where his family tends olive orchards. In 2006, he moved to San Diego to study business law. But when he began working part-time in a friend’s Italian eatery, he fell in love with the restaurant business. In 2011, he opened his first Buona Forchetta just a few blocks from his then-home in South Park specializing in Neapolitan-style pizza. Since then, he has opened Buona Forchetta locations at Liberty Station, Coronado and Encinitas, a wine bar and nonprofit bakery, both in South Park; and Gelati & Peccati, a gelato and slice shop in North Park.

The San Marcos Buona Forchetta is open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Free parking is available in the garage lot on Campus Way just north of restaurant. Visit

Kragen writes about restaurants for The San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at