Buona Forchetta Backed Non-Profit Bakery To Open In Early 2020 With Kitchen Helmed By Former Chef-Owner Of Cardamom Cafe

November 20, 2019

We announced last year that the team behind Buona Forchetta had signed a lease for the former Rebecca's in South Park with plans to transform the space into a 100% for-charity breakfast restaurant and Italian bakery to benefit local public schools. We now know that the concept is called Matteo, and the all day restaurant, market and bakery will be led by the baker and previously owner of San Diego's now-defunct Cardamom Cafe.

Buona Forchetta founder Matteo Cattaneo wants to give back to the neighborhood where he first launched his wildly successful pizzeria in 2013. Last year, Cattaneo announced his plans to open a non-profit Italian-inspired bakery and breakfast concept in the 2,800 square-foot former Rebecca’s Coffee space. Called Matteo, the all day restaurant, marketplace and bakery will be managed on a day to day basis by Joanne Sherif, who sold her Cardamom Cafe in North Park this past summer after 11 years in business (it is becoming a fresh pasta shop and restaurant from a one-time Barilla World Pasta Champion).

Matteo restaurant and bakery aims to be up and running by early 2020. Expect a morning fueled menu similar to what was once offered at Cardamom Cafe but with an Italian influence, as well as a marketplace with pastries, coffee, grab-and-go sandwiches and more. At night, the eatery will host aperitivo (Italian happy hour) as well as a menu of tapas and Italian wine. Each month, profits raised at the restaurant will be donated direct to the chosen school, among them McKinley 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.

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. The flagship Buona Forchetta unveiled 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 Neapolitan-style pies. In the five years since opening doors, Buona Forchetta has captured the hearts of San Diegans from across the region, and Matteo has capitalized on his success with the launch of a additional locations in Liberty Station, Encinitas and another expected to open in Coronado next year. He also opened an Italian bottega and wine bar next door to the original South Park location and has an outpost within San Diego's Petco Park since the 2018 season. Matteo is also in the process of backing a Texas-style BBQ eatery called Carbón in South Park and a Roman pizza and gelato shop in North Park named Gelati & Peccati. An all around philanthropic individual, Cattaneo is also a huge supporter of San Diego's annual SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off, which donates all proceeds to McKinley Elementary School.

Track the progress of Matteo Bakery by following the concept on Instagram