The Buona Forchetta Team & Joanne Sherif (Formerly of Cardamom Cafe) are Giving Back to the Community with Their New Lunch & Breakfast Spot
Matteo Cattaneo is on a roll. Together with master pizzaiolo and five-time World Pizza Champion Marcello Avitabile, the Buona Forchetta family of restaurants has made an indelible mark on the San Diego food scene.
His latest project—an eponymous breakfast and lunch outfit with a charitable mission—is his most personal project to date.
Cattaneno says he was attracted to the building on the corner of Juniper and Fern in South Park because of its history as Rebecca’s Coffeehouse, a neighborhood institution for over 20 years. Now reinforced and refreshed, the exterior boasts a cheerful mural and removing the old plaster ceiling revealed age-old wood beams that gleam with a fresh coat of paint.
Inside, guests can peek past a display of retail pasta into the pastry kitchen, where bakers prepare a host of tempting items that fill the display case.
Croissants made with Caputo flour and French butter command the top shelf, with tender muffins, crumbly scones, and cardamom-scented coffee cake below.
Closer to the window, there’s whole wheat baguette and flour-dusted loaves of freshly baked ciabatta—plus several varieties of focaccia and pizza alla pala (a thick crusted Roman-style variation) available by the slice.
It’s a haven for carb lovers, but gluten-free and vegan diners aren’t left out. General manager Joanne Sherif, who recently closed the beloved Cardamom Cafe, says including gluten-free and vegan options was important to ensure there’s something everyone can enjoy.
After 11 years operating her restaurant in North Park, the veteran baker is embracing a new opportunity to up her game.
The all-day menu is full of delicious options.
There’s indulgent Tiramisu brioche French toast, dressed-up frittatas, and several benedicts (including a vegan option)—plus welcome surprises like berry and burrata salad, breakfast pizza with asparagus and porcini mushrooms, and gluten-free sweet cream ricotta corn cakes served with berry maple syrup and a generous dollop of maple mascarpone.
Sherif says she was inspired by the corn cakes at La Cocina de Doña Esthela in Valle de Guadalupe and spent months perfecting the recipe.
Some of her favorite menu items include the vegan and gluten-free spicy mole chilaquiles and the stracciata toast, a sweet and savory option topped with fresh cheese best known as burrata’s creamy center, crispy prosciutto, and honey.
So far, proceeds from Matteo have helped fund a new audio system for the theater at McKinley Elementary School. Management is hoping to expand their efforts beyond the immediate community to provide help where it is needed most, including providing support for after school enrichment programs provided by Caesar Chavez Service Clubs.
Sherif, a mother of five, says it is “hugely rewarding and extremely meaningful” to be able to provide children with what they need. You can help support Matteo’s charitable mission by stopping in for breakfast or lunch.
3015 Juniper Street, South Park