Like mama used to make, with modern flair - this is the vision brothers Dario and Pietro Gallo have created for their new restaurant, Civico 1845 (pronounced CHEE-vee-ko), bringing flavors of Cosenza, Italy to the former Zia's Bistro location in San Diego’s Little Italy. Situated in the heart of Little Italy at 1845 India Street, the eatery is slated to open in the spring of 2015. With a focus on lighter fare and modernized versions of Italian classics, Civico 1845 will also offer selections not commonly found in Italian cuisine - vegan and gluten-free dishes.
Born and raised in Cosenza, Italy (located in the southern region of Calabria), the Gallos moved to San Diego in 2013 with the goal of opening an authentic, yet contemporary Italian restaurant that features fresh flavors and a health-conscious menu. The Gallos plan to stand out with their dedication to locally grown, fresh ingredients and proper technique. The amount of Italian blood running through Civico 1845 also ups the ante on authenticity. In addition to the Gallos, the head chef and front of the house manager are also native Italians.
The Gallos have hired Flavio Piromallo, who has more than a decade’s worth of experience in San Diego, as front of the house manager and to assist with overall operations. Originally from Naples, Italy, Piromallo is known in the local restaurant industry for his tenures at two Little Italy establishments - Buon Appetito and SognoDi Vino.
The 1,500-square foot space, most recently home to Zia’s, is under renovation. Interior designer Agostino Sannino will re-imagine the space to be light, bright and sustainable at every turn. Reclaimed materials will be used throughout the design, while natural, living elements will also be incorporated. Sannino will take inspiration from Italian midcentury artist Lucio Fontana to create an art installation featuring vintage Italian kitchen items to cover the back wall.
“From the food to the design, we want Civico 1845 to feel like our home in Italy,” explained Owner Dario Gallo, who will serve as the general manager. “The bar will be like walking into a friend’s kitchen, while the dining area will resemble the coziness of your family’s living room.”
Head chef Alfonso Pisacane comes from a long line of Italian chefs. His family has owned and operated Le Tre Sorelle, a traditional Italian restaurant located in the beach community of Positano, Italy, for over three generations. Pisacane spent the last 10 years making a name for himself in the North County San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles dining communities.
Scratch-made pastas, breads and desserts are just the start of the authentic Italian menu that focuses on locally grown and seasonal ingredients.
“The key to good Italian cuisine is fresh ingredients and proper technique to bring out the natural flavors of those ingredients. Our mother used to cook tomatoes for three hours to get the taste just right. That is the standard we desire to live up to,” said Owner Pietro Gallo, who will act as kitchen manager.
A portion of the menu will also be inspired by Pietro’s own veganism and passion for healthy eating. Civico 1845 will offer a number of 100 percent vegan dishes, as well as several gluten-free options – a rarity among Italian restaurants.
Civico 1845’s seasonal menu will also include a variety of meats including wild game and seafood, in addition to its classically inspired pasta dishes. Guests will also enjoy an extensive Italian wine list, as well as selections from California and across the globe. Italian and craft beers will also be available.
For more information about Civico 1845 and updates on its grand opening, visit civico1845.com.