World Pasta Champion To Open Cori Pastificio In San Diego's North Park

October 22, 2019

A one-time World Pasta Champion has taken over the North Park space that last housed Cardamom Cafe and will open Cori Pastificio - a Sicilian-style Italian restaurant with a menu centered around fresh made pasta and Italian comfort foods.

We reported earlier this summer that former Solare Executive Accursio Lota was in the process of taking over North Park's Cardamom Cafe. Originally from Sicily, Chef Accursio first entered the epicurean spotlight when at age 18 he was chosen to represent his school at a national culinary competition. He then went on to work with famed Chef Sergio Mei at the Four Seasons in Milan. Accursio moved to California when he was 22 to work at the Biltmore Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, where at one point he catered a fundraiser for then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama at Oprah Winfrey's home. The first restaurant Accursio cooked at in San Diego was at The Marine Room in La Jolla. In 2012, Accursio and his wife started an underground fine dining restaurant club called Limone, where they designed pop-up events with themes related to the seasons. In November 2012, Accursio became the Executive Chef at Solare in Liberty Station, where he has received numerous awards and accolades during his tenure, including winning the 6th edition of the Barilla Pasta World Championship in 2017 and receiving the prestigious Three Gamberi acknowledgement from Gambero Rosso - Italy’s top food & wine rating group that is frequently compared to the Michelin Star system.

"As an Italian immigrant, I wanted to recreate the feeling of my homeland, Sicily, here in my adopted home, San Diego," explained Chef Accursio. "And for me that feeling is found in the old trattorias of my country. Warm, open, joyful, they are welcoming to all who enter. That feeling comes from the authentic food they serve, made by hand and using raw materials. While my family now resides in California, my heart is in two places: Italy and North Park. That is why I decided to open Cori Pastificio here. To recreate the feeling of home, with a balance of classic and contemporary Italian food that is made from the heart–for my North Park community and San Diego at large."

Cori Pastificio will offer a seasonally driven menu with a focus on artisanal pastas made to order with authentic ingredients, including ancient grains and wheat berries imported from Sicily. The eatery will offer a selection of 6 sharable appetizers, 2 salads, 6 Sicilian-inspired vegan dishes, 8 freshly made pastas, and 2 desserts of the day. A selection of local and Italian beer will be available, along with a wine list that features small, innovative Italian wineries. Sample dishes include raviolini made from cocoa pasta stuffed with beef oxtail and parsnip root, traditional lasagna made with Bolognese sauce and bechamel, and Sicilian escargot roasted with tomato, mint, and garlic confit.

"Cori is Sicilian dialect for 'heart'," continued Chef Lota. "It was chosen to reflect the love and soul we are putting into the food and hospitality that awaits our neighbors and local families we very much look forward to serving. My wife and I are excited to welcome you to our new and exciting endeavor."

The style of Cori Pastificio will be that of a classic and comfortable Italian trattoria circa the 70’s, like the places Accursio's family dined in during his childhood and to which his earliest food memories are tied. Cori’s kitchen and pasta preparation area will be open so guests can interact with the chefs making their food. A small retail area will be present, where handmade and imported items, including fresh, small-batch pastas and accompanying sauces, will be available for purchase.

Cori Pastificio aims to open by late November at 2977 Upas Street in North Park.