Cafe Califas opens in Barrio Logan with pizza and paella

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A renovated house-turned-restaurant on Logan Avenue will begin welcoming diners this weekend. Cafe Califas owner and chef, Mario Maruca, carried out much of the restoration work himself, transforming the 4,500 square foot property into a space intended to be a casual and friendly meeting place for the Barrio community. Logan.

With most of its outdoor seating on a wide front patio and a spacious back deck, the 90-seat restaurant’s kitchen is also mostly outdoors. Maruca, which previously operated local Italian food truck Caliano by Spinelli, will use an enviable collection of equipment including a wood-fired pizza oven, smoker, Santa Maria grill and fire pit which will be used to cook huge paella pans; the chef will offer a Moroccan-style vegan/vegetarian paella with optional protein.

Featuring a variety of Neapolitan pizzas as well as pizza fritta, a nostalgic childhood treat of fried pizza dough sprinkled with sugar, Maruca’s menu will also include grilled skirt steak with onions and chilies, brisket of braised and roasted pork and “cowboy beans” aka pinto bean stew served with grilled steak and toast, plus seasonal specials.

Maruca grew up between Bonita and his hometown of Nocera Inferiore in the Campania region of southern Italy and his father still runs the family’s import business, which will supply top quality olive oil. and other Italian products that will be served on the menu and for sale at the restaurant. Inside, a deli crate will store salads, roasted vegetables, and other prepared foods like take-out pizzas.

Sporting a satellite bar on the terrace, Cafe Califas will serve beer and wine, specializing in Baja-inspired sangria made with fresh juices. Maruca says he plans to host pizza and paella nights and guest chef collaborations with friends and neighbors in Barrio Logan, as well as renting the outdoor space for private events.

Café Califas, 2219 Logan Ave, Barrio Logan. Open from noon, Tuesday to Sunday.

2219 Logan Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113

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