By Christopher Gomez
Our vibrant community of Little Italy stands strong with the entire globe amid these challenging times. Our quiet streets are a beautiful demonstration of our solidarity and the love our community shares for one another and each other’s safety. Our rich history and resiliency since Italian tuna fisherman established Little Italy in the 1920s has stood the test of time. From the early days as the “Tuna Capital of the World,” seeing more than 6,000 Italian families flourish in the neighborhood to its decline and the destruction of 35% of Little Italy due to the construction of Interstate-5 freeway, we have always united together. With the support of the Little Italy Association (LIA) over the past 20 years and our local businesses, the community has thrived and it will thrive again.
We are all excited to see life come back to our charming European-style public piazzas, Italian-inspired fountains, award-winning restaurants, locally run businesses and shops, wineries and art galleries. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by COVID-19. We hope you will continue to safely support local businesses. There are several ways you can continue to support our Little Italy businesses: buy gift certificates for future use, order take-out, follow and share their updates on social media, shop over the phone or online, keep paying for your subscriptions, and if you need an idea, reach out to them directly.
Restaurants have been at the center of Little Italy, from traditional Italian restaurants to flavors from around the world. We are grateful for those who helped build our community like the Buon Appetito and Sogno Di Vino family, Busalacchi family with Nonna, Barbusa and Zucchero Café, Caffe Italia, Brunetto family with Mona Lisa and DePhilippis family, just to name a few. They have paved the way for many new venues like Little Italy Food Hall, Café Gratitude, The Crack Shack, Nolita Hall, The Yasai and Zinqué. While under the Stay at Home order, these small businesses as well as local retailers and services have been staples in serving many with take-out, delivery, grocery and online shopping options. We have even designated several 10-minute parking locations to safely pick-up orders or pre-purchased items. For a full list of open businesses, visit littleitalysd.com/other-sites/covid-19/covid-19-little-italy-is-open.
In accordance with current safety measures, we have decided to postpone major events like GrandFondo San Diego, Mission Fed ArtWalk and Washington Elementary VanGo! Mission Fed ArtWalk which supports over 350 local, national and international artists annually has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7. New dates for the other events are still under consideration. Little Italy Mercato and Little Italy Wednesday Market are also currently closed. We are working closely with the City to bring back our farmers’ markets to strictly provide farm fresh produce and essential groceries to those in need with a one-touch shopping policy. Please monitor our website for the latest updates at littleitalysd.com/events/mercato.
For those facing hardships and in need of relief, please visit our website to access available federal, state and city resources at LittleItalySDUpdates.com.
To stay connected with Little Italy and the latest updates, please visit us on littleitalysd.com or follow us on Instagram @LittleItalySD, Twitter @LittleItalySD and @LittleItalySD.
— Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager since 2000. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.