A Restaurant Family Grows New and Vibrant in Old Town

Old Town is becoming an unrivaled food destination and one restaurant group, run by one of the founders of the Little Italy food scene and his son, who worked for restaurant mogul and reality show star Lisa Vanderpump, plus their close friend, whose family hails from Mexico and whose broken many glass ceilings over the decades, brings their own brand of refinement and authenticity to our beloved neighborhood.

Sal Busalacchi of Trattoria Don Pietro, 2415 San Diego Ave., on the corner of San Diego Ave. and Arista St., opened a series of Italian restaurants, including the Sports Arena’s first pizza place, featuring homespun Sicilian recipes, in the early ‘80s, serving the then San Diego Clippers. He and son Pietro and friend Gustavo Rios just rolled out a spring menu at the delicious corner haunt. Ever been to Europe? If you have, you know Trattoria Don Pietro is the real deal: a Modern Europe vibe set to playlist upon playlist that has guests jamming in their seats. 

The new Spring Fling cocktails feature a list of fresh, vanguard sips that beg for clear skies and, at the very least, put guests in that brighter mood. Call-outs on the food side: Penne Salmone: Wild-caught salmon, cream, fresh Pomodoro sauce, vodka. Incredibly delicious and pairs well with a Tramonto: Sicilian wine, Morello purée, lemon juice, blood orange juice, Cointreau, rhubarb, bitters and simple syrup. Also on offer: owner Pietro’s personal favorite: Orecchiette: Housemade sausage, tomato, olives, capers, garlic, red chili flakes and EVOO, awakening the senses with a beautifully crafted A’Matcha Mia, featuring matcha, gin, apricot liqueur, lemon and ginger tea, Aqua Fava, lemon juice and honey.

The gorgeous restaurant also boasts a rare and masterful wine list, pairing exquisite with the toothsome fare of the Busalacchi’s home town. 

Soon, the group will open El Sueño, real Mexican fare set in the jungle, in the former La Piñata space. Lavish, high-vibe dining, drinking and entertainment.  Whereas Trattoria Don Pietro is an ode to Nonna (Grandma), who birthed generations of restaurateurs raised in her Sicilian kitchen and Nonna (Grandpa Don Pietro), El Sueno is a tribute to partner Rio’s likewise strong and revelatory mother. 

This group is helping grow the Old Town dining scene, with family at the core, and wholeheartedly welcoming guests as an extended part of that.

Visit them online at trattoriadonpietro.com, on Instagram at @donpietrosd and on Facebook at @trattoriadonpietro. The restaurant is open seven days per week for lunch and dinner.


  • Sun: 11:30am – 10:30pm
  • Mon–Thu: 11:30am – 10:30pm
  • Fri-Sat: 11:30am – 11:30pm

Phone – (619) 255-7205

Address – 2415 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

Website – www.trattoriadonpietro.com