After a six-month renovation, the Busalacchi family has opened Nonna in the heart of Little Italy. The new 5,000-square-foot restaurant spans the combined spaces last occupied by Trattoria Fantastica, which opened in 1995 and was the Busalacchi’s first flagship in the neighborhood, and the adjacent Café Zucherro.
In an update spurred by their successful transformation of Po Pazzo into the now-bustling Barbusa, Nonna is a tribute to family matriarch Christina Busalacchi, mother to veteran chef and restaurateur Joe Busalacchi and his brother Frank, both foundational members of India Street’s Italian food scene. Frank’s son Vince will oversee the restaurant, redesigned Eugenio Velazquez (El Cubo Tijuana, Hotel Boutique in the Valle de Guadalupe) with an open kitchen, a new beer and wine bar and a large back patio. A section of the space, which opens at 8 a.m. daily, is still dedicated to coffee service and Café Zucherro’s famous cannoli and other Italian pastries.
Barbusa executive chef Nino Zizzo created the menu of Italian comfort food, which includes traditional Sicilian dishes ranging from arancini, or fried rice balls, to pasta with sardines, fennel, pine nuts and currants, plus other antipasti, pasta, pizza, entrees and more. Nonna is currently open nightly at 5 p.m.; lunch service will be launching soon.