Family Business: Barbusa
LITTLE ITALY (KUSI) – The Busalacchi family is proud to announce the opening of Barbusa, a modern Sicilian culinary concept occupying the space of the family’s former Italian steakhouse, Po Pazzo, in the heart of the bustling gastronomic hub of Little Italy. The opening marks the start of a new era for the Busalacchi brand, headed by the family’s patriarch Joe, often revered as a pioneer in San Diego’s Little Italy district. A Sicilian immigrant who moved to San Diego as a young boy, Joe took a leap of faith in Little Italy’s then-desolate India Street in 1994 when he opened Trattoria Fantastica. Now, more than 20 years and several successful restaurants later, he’s handing the reins of this culinary venture to his two sons, Joey and PJ, who are introducing a youthful, fresh perspective on the family’s Sicilian heritage.
Conceptualized by Chef Joe Busalacchi and Executive Chef Nino Zizzo, (Po Pazzo, Trattoria Fantastica) and managed by the two Busalacchi sons, Barbusa aims to enhance the current Little Italy dining landscape, heavy in Northern Italian food-centric concepts, by introducing lighter, traditional Sicilian cuisine with a contemporary twist. Rendering homage to the farm to table movement rooted traditionally in Italian gastronomy, Barbusa will be sourcing both produce and seafood from local farms and purveyors while slicing all cured meats and Italian specialty cheeses in front of guests. The restaurant will also boast an in-house pasta program, utilizing centuries-old recipes handed down generation to generation, visible from an eye-catching visible display facing all vantage points in the main dining room.
The Busalacchi family is proud to announce the opening of its newest culinary venture Nonna, serving Italian comfort food in the space that formerly housed the restaurant group’s beloved flagship concepts Trattoria Fantastica and Café Zucchero in the epicenter of Little Italy’s India Street. The two spaces, formerly divided by a wall, have now been combined into one under the umbrella of the affectionately named Nonna, a familial nod to every Italian family’s respected matriarch and especially to the Busalacchi’s own grandmother, Christina.
Maintaining the property’s heritage, the Italian café offshoot of Zucchero still occupies a portion of the newly revamped 5,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor space serving all-day coffee and traditional pastries, deeply rooted in Italian technique. Fresh off the heels of the well-received resurrection of the Po Pazzo space into Barbusa in 2016, the Busalacchi family decided to breathe new life into the Trattoria Fantastica space that first opened doors in 1995 in a then-desolate Little Italy. At the time, the restaurants were headed by the family’s patriarch Joe, often regarded as a pioneer in San Diego’s Little Italy district, and his brother Frank, both Sicilian immigrants who moved to San Diego as young men. Now, more than 20 years and several successful restaurants later, Joe and Frank are passing the reins to Frank’s son, Vince Busalacchi who, along with his older brother Peter, plan to introduce a familial perspective on their Sicilian heritage.
Conceptualized by Chef Joe and his nephew, Executive Chef Nino Zizzo, (Po Pazzo, Barbusa) and managed by Vince, Nonna aims to enhance the current Little Italy dining landscape by reintroducing locals and visitors alike to traditional Sicilian cuisine with an emphasis on the classics. Rendering homage to the fundamental emphasis on supporting neighborhood growers that’s deeply rooted in Italian gastronomy, Nonna sources both produce and seafood from local farms and purveyors