MATTEO CATTANEO | Co-Owner, Officine Buona Forchetta
Seeking adventure and a fresh perspective, restaurateur Matteo Cattaneo left the olive groves of his family’s Italian vineyard and booked a one-way ticket west to San Diego, ostensibly to study law. A part-time job at a friend’s restaurant blossomed into a love affair with hospitality, and coupled with a newfound adoration with his neighborhood of South Park, began laying the foundations to bring authentic Italian cuisine and a culture of eating to San Diego.
Fast-forward four years, and Matteo’s Buona Forchetta has successful redefined Italian food in San Diego. Transforming an empty building into a welcoming neighborhood pizzeria, Buona Forchetta has become one of the most beloved restaurants in town, with multi-hour waits and lines circling the block nearly every day of the week. With the help of Master Pizzaiolo and five-time World Pizza Champion Marcello Avitabile, Buona Forchetta’s pizza program has catapulted the restaurant to the front pages of The New York Times, Sunset Magazine, AFAR Magazine, and Food & Wine Magazine, to name a few.
Looking to expand on his proven recipe for success, Matteo teamed up with BiCE partner and Executive Chef Mario Cassineri, a longtime customer and friend. Scouting locations across the city, the duo set their sights on Liberty Station, where their 5,000-square foot indoor/outdoor restaurant could cater to neighbors and families alike. Nearly two years in the making, Officine Buona Forchetta, designed in the style of an Italian warehouse, has expanded upon the original concept, with new, chef-driven entrees and pasta dishes alongside a more robust selection of Neapolitan pies. A “fun dining” ethos permeates through the space, with a rear patio and playground catering exclusively toward young children and families dining out. Since opening, Officine has caught the eye of national outlets, including Zagat which rated the restaurant one of the hottest new openings in the country.
Multiple locations and spin-offs are planned throughout San Diego and North County, with an Encinitas outpost slated for late fall 2017.
San Diego Magazine: Officine Buona Forchetta Has Opened in Liberty Station, March 31 2017 - http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/April-2017/Officine-Buona-Forchetta-Has-Opened-in-Liberty-Station/
Eater San Diego: Buona Forchetta Shows Off New Spot in Liberty Station, January 30 2017 - http://sandiego.eater.com/2017/1/30/14441014/buona-forchetta-bice-italian-restaurant-pizza-liberty-station#3
San Diego Union Tribune: Buona Forchetta Opens… Finally, March 18 2017 -
CBS 8: Pizza secrets at Officine Buona Forchetta, April 20 2017 - http://www.cbs8.com/clip/13264042/pizza-secrets-at-officine-buona-forchetta
Zagat.com, NATIONAL: The Hottest Restaurants in 15 American Cities, April 11 2017 - https://www.zagat.com/b/the-hottest-restaurants-in-15-american-cities
Marcello: Master Pizzaiolo
Italian native and Master Pizzaiolo Marcello Avitabile helms the gold tiled ovens at the newly opened Officine Buona Forchetta. A spin-off of the beloved South Park eatery, Marcello's signature Neapolitan pizzas have catapulted the neighborhood restaurant to the front pages of The New York Times, the Where to Eat Pizza book, and Sunset Magazine, among others.
Growing up in the seaside city of Naples, Marcello garnered three World Pizza Championships by the time he was recruited as a consulting pizzaiolo for the launch of Buona Forchetta, and after six months spreading his Neapolitan pizza gospel, signed up to live and work full time in San Diego.
Now a five-time World Pizza Champion, including two championships for gluten free crust, Marcello has turned his attention to the highly anticipated opening of Officine Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station, where his top-secret family recipe has spawned legions of hungry fans and dough heads the world over. Characterized by a thin, charred and blistered crust, Marcello has unveiled new vegan and vegetarian-friendly Neapolitan pies, along with a 'pizza al metro,’ a completely customizable pie that tops out at nearly two feet long.
Mario Cassineri | Co-owner & Chef, Officine Buona Forchetta
With roots in the culinary epicenter of northern Italy, Chef Mario Cassineri has been a
driving force in bringing authentic, upscale Italian fare to San Diego. As a teenager in
Milan, he cut his chops in his grandmother’s kitchen, absorbing all he could from the
traditional home cook whose family recipes stretched back generations. After
graduating from culinary school, Mario spent time in several renowned restaurants
across the region, including a position at the famous Splendid Hotel on Lake Maggiore
in Baveno, Italy. Mario honed his skills by learning the nuances of fine dining under
three of the most celebrated chefs in Italy - Claudio Sadler, Maurizio Bosotti, and
Gaultiero Marchesi (often referred to as the master of Italian cuisine), and launched with
them a highly successful restaurant and hotel consulting firm.
In 2008, Mario joined the BiCE Restaurant Group as Executive Corporate Chef, and
quickly went on to launch multiple locations, both globally and in the United States.
Settling in San Diego in 2009, Mario has been the guiding force at BiCE, where his
cultural flare and deep Italian traditions continue to wow guest’s night-after- night. His
innovative take on modern Italian cuisine caught the attention of the James Beard
Foundation, and he was invited to cook at the legendary James Beard House in New
York City in November 2013.
As a regular at neighborhood eatery Buona Forchetta, Mario developed a friendship
with owner and fellow transplant Matteo Cattaneo. The duo formed a partnership to
launch Officine Buona Forchetta, which opened in Liberty Station in March 2017.
Blending his distinctive Italian palate with the namesake’s celebrated Neapolitan pizzas,
Officine aims to provide authentic and upscale dishes at an affordable price point.
Focusing on fresh pasta and classic entrees, Mario’s chef-driven plates keep it simple,
and tasty, cultivating a “fun dining” ethos that transports family and neighbors alike to
the Italian countryside, if only for a night.