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Whisknladle Hospitality Group to open new coastal Italian concept in La Jolla

By Troy Johnson

La Jolla’s stoked. Restaurateur Arturo Kassel and chef Ryan Johnston undoubtedly run one of the city’s top restaurant groups. First they launched Whisknladle, their somewhat high-end showroom (in a modern, suits-and-t-shirts sort of way) that garnered national headlines for Johnston’s seasonal scratch cooking. They then launched the gourmet-casual offshoot Prepkitchen, with three locations in La Jolla, Del Mar and Little Italy. Now they’re hatching a third concept: Catania, set to open on the corner of Girard Avenue and Wall Street in La Jolla in early 2015. Named after the eastern coastal city in Sicily, it makes sense Catania’s concept is coastal Italian food heavy on roasted items with wood-burning ovens, grills and rotisserie. No word if the menu will take directly from Catania traditions. If so, we could be looking at made-scratch pasta alla norma (tomato, eggplant, basil and tons of ricotta), crespelles (ricotta fritters), arancinis (fried rice balls) and plenty of whole fish like branzino. But that’s all conjecture—no specific menu items just yet. Whisknladle does a bang-up job, so whatever it is, it should be good.


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