Italian Restaurant Tavola Nostra Taking Over Former Maestoso Space Within The Hub In Hillcrest

January 8, 2020

Opening in the nearly 2,200 square-foot restaurant space that last housed Maestoso within The Hub in San Diego's Hillcrest is Tavola Nostra Pizzeria E Cucina, a full-service Italian-style restaurant and pizzeria rooted in family history.

Tavola Nostra, which means "our table" in Italian, is being opened by Jeff Oliveri - a first time restaurateur from a family of longtime restaurant owners who hopes to honor his familial heritage and tradition with his Italian dining concept.

"My father was born in Palermo, Sicily in 1914 and learned to cook from his mother and sisters," explained Tavola Nostra founder Jeff Oliveri on the inspiration behind his restaurant. "He joined the Italian Navy and served in WWII. He was captured and became a POW for the American Allies. So grateful for the humane treatment he received from American soldiers, he decided to come to the United States in 1949 to make a better life for himself. My Dad ended up in Los Angeles in the early ’50s where he opened his first restaurant and soon met my mother at his friend’s restaurant where she was cooking. My parents moved the family and we ended up opening/owning pizza, pasta, and deli eateries in the 1970s and ’80s here San Diego. I grew up and worked in every aspect of the business. My mom practically gave birth to me in the restaurant while making pizza dough. The smells and food of the business run through my veins."

Tavola Nostra pizzeria and cucina will offer an open interior with a central pizza bar and contemporary design, as well as a 30 seat patio with heat lamps and a fire pit. The full-service casual Italian restaurant will have a menu centered around round, NY-style pizza and Pinsa Romana - "hand-crafted, high-hydrated, slow-rise pizza dough producing a crisp, no animal fat, light-airy crust." The eatery will also serve a variety of salads, Piccolo Piatti (small plates), gourmet cheese and meat boards, seasonal pasta dishes, sandwiches during lunch, and an array of craft beers and Italian and domestic wines. Tavola Nostra will also offer a convenient online ordering system for pick-up and delivery.

"When my parents closed their restaurants, I was too young to take over and eventually ended up working in the corporate world for 25 years, all the while my dream was to open my own restaurant with the recipes of my family," continued Oliveri. "This past year, I finally made the decision to leave the corporate life and pursue my dream, my heritage and what I grew up knowing and loving. The name came from all the years after my father passed visiting my mom every week in her kitchen/table with my brothers eating Italian food - us boys making pizza and pasta with her, including having friends and extended family over to share our table."

Tavola Nostra Pizzeria E Cucina aims to open by this spring at 1040 University Avenue, Suite B101, in San Diego's Hillcrest.