Little Italy - Neighborhood Spotlight

  • Matt 'Axe' Axelson
  • 01/7/21

What's up guys, today we're in little Italy, the 48 square block neighborhood and culinary capital of San Diego. Home to a little over 3,500 residents, with an average home price of $600,000. So how did little Italy get its name? Well in 1906, after the earthquake in San Francisco, tons of Italian families came down to San Diego and inhabited this neighborhood, where there were restaurants, bakeries and even grocery stores like Mona Lisa catered for their culture. So from the turn of the 20th century, up until about 1960, Little Italy was predominantly made up of fishermen, dock builders and boat builders, which helped us earn the title of the Tuna Capital of the World. So just over my shoulder is the Waterfront bar on Kettner Boulevard, which is definitely a neighborhood staple, and back in the 1930s, it actually used to be on the waterfront itself, and now it's about four blocks West. 

In 1972, the I-5 freeway behind me was developed and it displaced thousands of families in this community. Little Italy actually used to stretch all the way to Balboa Park, which is now Banker's Hill. So these days, Little Italy is a booming condo and townhome market. It's really young it's like a millennial sort of demographic being that it's very much a happy hour community. Just behind me you'll see the Little Italy landmark sign. When do you think that was originally lit up the first time? I'll wait. I'll wait. I'll wait. Still waiting. October, 2000. So we're outside of Filippis Pizza Grotto, which is easily one of the most sought after pizzas in San Diego. If you love deep dish, this is your spot, this is the storefront right here in front of us, and then Momma Filippi used to live just behind the storefront and the house is still there, which is pretty cool. 

My favorite restaurant in Little Italy and one of my favorite restaurants in all of San Diego, Barbusa. Sicilian cuisine with a modern flair, all kinds of wine and drinks. The food here is outrageous. It's owned by the Busalacchi family who are staples in this community. And if you come here, ask for PJ, and tell him Axe sent you! 

So just behind me is the Piazza Della Famiglia, which is home to over 16,000 square feet of residential, retail, and restaurant space. It's also home to the Little Italy Food Hall, as well as one of my favorite restaurants Grazed by Sam. The community here is young, fun, and tight knit. The farmer's markets on Saturdays are incredible, and no matter where you live here, you're only a couple of minutes from the water. 

So Little Italy is easily one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Diego, I live actually just about a mile and a half away. So if you don't want to be in the hustle, bustle, and craziness of the Gaslamp district, but you want to be within an Uber or within a Bird or a Lime or whatever, this is your place, especially if you're younger. Condos, townhomes, all the happy hours, like Nolita hall down the street, all that sort of stuff, it's an awesome community for a younger person. I absolutely love Little Italy, it's fantastic community. Obviously the culinary capital of San Diego and like we learned, the tuna capital of the world! The only downside to me is that you're in the direct flight path for the San Diego Airport but outside of that, pretty much can't beat it. So if you haven't seen your neighborhood or your community featured yet, let me know! All of my socials are @RealEstateWithAxe or feel free to text or call me.



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