Business Spotlight: Apertivo
Published Thursday, 16-Sep-2010 in issue 1186
2322 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego CA 92104
Apertivo Italian Tapas & Wine Bar is a rare commodity in San Diego. An Italian bistro with not only a great menu but a great wine list too. But that alone doesn’t set it apart from the thousands of other Italian restaurants scattered about San Diego. What does set it apart is their amazingly robust menu and their ridiculously low prices.
Apertivo is located in the heart of North Park. Opened in 2004, the original Apertivo began as a traditional Italian eatery specializing in Tapas, or smaller plates. They also began creating a reputation in the community by offering over 40 different wines by the glass at affordable prices.
With a diverse menu, all handmade from the freshest and best ingredients, Apertivo and its staff take quality and service to a whole new level. Chef and owner Ken Cassinelli states, “All [menu items] are handmade from fresh, high quality ingredients. If we don’t make it we don’t serve it. No preservatives no partially hydrogenated fats and no processed or preprepared food. Three quarters of our menu is vegetarian and half can be vegan.”
Cassinelli’s menu excites and touches every end of the spectrum with variety and powerful flavors. From varying salads that include Garden, Antipasto and Caprese to their full dinner menu with items like Osso Bucco D’Agnelli (lamb shank braised in red wine), Turkey Tetrazzini and Baked Lasagna. Shockingly enough, this quaint and popular restaurant offers almost all their menu items at single digit prices, from their Eggplant Rollotini to their Pasta Carbonara.
Chef and owner Ken Cassinelli and wife Janie Losli are practically giving their food away. But it is with strong culinary talent and business expertise, that they are able to create a revolving door effect on their popular bistro. Working in bars and restaurants for the majority of their careers, they have served in different businesses in 4 cities across 4 states. They’ve been married for over 25 years and have lived in North Park for 15. Ken’s passion for food, he says, came from “Nona Serventi” and the Ravioli created by her family is still on the menu.
Apertivo is also available for outside catering and party platters, for those who wish to take this great Italian experience and share it with others.
Janie and Ken opened Apertivo as one of the first sit down dinner houses in North Park, boasting that they were “open before La Boheme turned over one shovel of dirt and before the Birche Theatre put one coat of paint on.” Living and working in North Park, they are a couple and a business savvy team that take care of their family and customers.
Offering great food and wine in a comfortable atmosphere at bargain prices, Apertivo Italian Tapas & Wine Bar is well-worth a visit for that quick bite or night out with that special someone.

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