Mario Donato - Ristorante Italiano
Nonno came from Italy to San Diego back in 1949. He opened our family's first Italian restaurant in 1954 on the corner of 2nd and Peach in El Cajon, California. Nonno is no longer with us, but his partners are still selling pizzas today.
Mario's Dad, Domenic, continued in the Italian restaurant business in Clairemont.
~That's how it all began~
I made my first pizza in the late 60's at my Dad's restaurant in Clairemont and was learning how to grind cheese at his second location in Bonita by age 6.
Soon all of our relatives began to branch off and start their own restaurants with the same great recipes from Nonno. Uncle Joe and Uncle Vince have Mamma Rosa's, Uncle Ottavio has Ottavio's, Uncle Charlie has Donato's, my Uncle Santo had Valentini's, and my Brother Lenny has Mangia Bene.
During this time, I worked from one restaurant to another, gathering recipes, and taking advice form everyone. Dad called me in Utah, when I was working with Uncle Ottavio, and said, "Well, it's your turn." and here I am.
Mario, my name, my turn. The same great food that you have enjoyed in the East County for over 46 years.
Well, here I am six years later. So much has happened and changed. Many new friends have been made and lots of memorabilia has been put up.
Another restaurant has opened. Sure, Dad said "No more, I'm done." But it was my brother Lenny's turn, who now runs Mangia Bene in El Cajon.
I have made some additions to our menu, I'm sure you will enjoy. Until next time....