San Diego's Decades-Old Nicolosi's Italian To Relocate In East County

May 29, 2022
San Diego's nearly 70 year-old red sauce Italian food destination Nicolosi's has announced it will relocate for the fourth time in its long history. 

Sicily-native Salvatore Nicolosi opened the original Nicolosi's as a bakery in 1952 in the Mission Hills District before moving it to 40th and El Cajon Boulevard in 1954. In 1991, ownership moved Nicolosi's to Adobe Falls and Waring Roads because the Interstate 15 construction project developed through their former restaurant. Under third generation ownership, the restaurant moved for a third time to its current location at 7005 Navajo Road near Cowles Mountain in San Carlos. In 2020, a "ghost kitchen" outpost of Nicolosi's opened within the new Barrio Food Hub in Barrio Logan but closed soon after. Ownership also opened an outpost dubbed Nicolosi's Fifth Avenue within the space occupied by De Medici Ristorante Italiano from 1995 until 2021, but that branch shuttered after less than a year in business.

"We are moving out of our Nicolosis on Navajo and considering making our new location in Santee (At the Food For Less Center)," reads a post on the Nicolosi's website. "We have searched all over the current area and have not found options.  We appreciate our customers and would like to know your thoughts. Please help us by taking a moment to complete this short survey.  Based upon this possible location (Food for Less Plaza in Santee), how many times a MONTH would you continue to visit us for following?"

Nicolosi's will be closing the Navajo Road location on August 1 and is currently planning on relocating to a 1,969 square-foot former Pizza Hut space on Cuyamaca Street in Santee. The restaurant is expected to maintain its menu of American-Italian dishes, pizza, salads, sandwiches and more.  

Nicolosi's is expected to open as this summer at 9420 Cuyamaca St, Suite 100, in San Diego's East County community of Santee. For more information, visit