Buona Forchetta Announces Non-Profit Restaurant To Benefit Local Schools

February 27, 2018

The Buona Forchetta team has signed a lease for the former Rebecca's in South Park and will transform the space into a breakfast restaurant and Italian bakery to benefit local public schools.

Buona Forchetta founder Matteo Cattaneo wants to give back to the neighborhood where he first launched his wildly successful pizzeria in 2013, announcing plans to open a non-profit Italian-inspired bakery and breakfast concept in 2,800 square-foot former Rebecca’s Coffee space that promises to donate 100% of profits to public schools. The space, currently undergoing renovations, plans to be up and running by summer. A staple in San Diego's South Park community since 1993, Rebecca's Coffee House closed at the end of 2017 after a battle with the landlord forced them to vacate the property.

Cattaneo first fell in love with South Park as a recent transplant from Italy, when he and his wife purchased a home in the neighborhood and invested in a small corner lot with the intention of opening an intimate trattoria like those found in his hometown - a place that emphasized simple, fresh ingredients, a welcoming family-friendly ethos, and an approachable space that invited patrons to linger and connect, unhurried. Buona Forchetta opened in spring of 2013 to near-instant acclaim, with lines quick to form for a chance to taste one of Master Pizzaiolo’s Marcello Avitabile’s burnished Neapolitan-style pies. In the five years since opening doors, Buona Forchetta has captured the hearts of San Diegians from across the region, and Matteo has capitalized on his success with the launch of a second location in Liberty Station and is currently working on building additional Buona Forchetta concepts in Encinitas and Coronado, along with an Italian bottega and wine bar set to open next door to the original South Park location. Buona Forchetta will also open a location within San Diego's Petco Park for the 2018 Padres MLB season. 

"Life is about opportunity, and it’s important to me and the whole Buona Forchetta family to give our kids an opportunity to discover for themselves a passion that can fuel their creativity," said Matteo. "South Park has given Buona Forchetta the best home we could have ever asked for, and this is our chance to give back to the community and city that has given so much to us."

As Matteo has continued expanded his Buona Forchetta concept, his emphasis on giving back never wavered, and he began laying the groundwork to launch a non-profit concept that specifically benefits his beloved South Park community and public schools. Spotting a "For Rent" sign on the building at the corner of Juniper and Fern Street, which at the time housed iconic/staple local coffee shop Rebecca’s, Matteo reached out to the landlord and current tenant, hoping to work out a deal to keep the space as a community gathering place. While the deal ultimately fell-through, Matteo’s desire to perverse the space for the community won out, and his vision to operate a non-profit restaurant began.

While the name and menu details of the space have yet to be announced, Matteo’s non-profit concept will benefit the public schools in the San Diego Unified School District. Each month, profits raised at the restaurant will be donated direct to the chosen school, among them McKinnley Elementary, Albert Einstein Charter Academy, and Golden Hill Elementary School, to name a few. These much-needed funds will go to support arts programing, supplies, and extra-circulars missing from under-served communities. Aside from monetary contributions, Matteo plans to create a dedicated space inside the restaurant where kids can learn not only cooking techniques, but a variety of programming as dictated by the schools.