Bonobo Pizza has been closed since the start of last summer. In the intervening months owners Dominique Gonzalez and Justin Grey have been quietly working on plans to open a new restaurant in its place called Cantina Calafia (instagram).
A complete renovation is underway and when completed (see floorplan below) it will result in a 49-seat restaurant with booths along the Pine Street side, a side and back bar and a raised seating area near the front of the storefront all under a vaulted ceiling.
Gonzalez grew up in San Diego with family on both sides of the border—her father was from Guadalajara and her mother lived in Santa Barbara and was the daughter of Mexican immigrants—and crossed the border often. The restaurant and menu will be a reflection of her personal culinary and cultural roots. The menus is still under development but will include dishes like ceviches, aguachiles, smoked fish, and tacos, sopes, etc produced with house-made corn masa. Chef Natalie DiBenedetto (aka Figgy from Figgy’s Takeout) has joined the team as a chef consultant to assist Gonzalez and Grey in bringing the menu to life.
Gonzalez and Grey have owned Bonobo since 2018 and it’s been a longstanding ambition of theirs to convert the pizzeria to restaurant serving Alta and Baja California Mexican cuisine. They hope to open Catina Calafia as early as May.
Here’s a look at the new floor plan:
Since Bonobo closed, artist Lauren Berg from Botanic Magic (website, instagram) has been decorating the building with her trademark style window murals (see above). The latest design includes the message “The more you look the more you see magic in nature”.