OCEANSIDE — It is an ode to the history of the city with an Italian twist.
The historic Oceanside Blade-Tribune News building at 401 Seagaze Drive has found a new purpose — as an Italian restaurant. John Carlo Ferraiuolo and Mario Cassineri have joined forces as the two renovate the inside and will open its doors early next year as Blade 1936.
The name is a tribute to the opening of the building in 1936, the final project of architect Irving Gill, who also designed Oceanside City Hall.
Ferraiuolo and Cassineri have partnered with Donia Ackad Yuhong, who owns the building, and Joseph Martinez, to take customers into the past of Oceanside, while they enjoy a modern, authentic Italian menu.
The restaurant is expected to open in early 2019.
“The concept is modern Italian and wood-fired pizza,” said Ferraiuolo, who specializes in wood-fired pies. “You got Mario’s style of cooking, where it is a fine-dining feel and quality, but in a very casual setting.”
Ferraiuolo, originally from Long Island, New York, and Cassineri have both spent time as chefs in Italy, and want to bring the style and flavor to their next project. Cassineri formerly owned Bice, a more high-end Italian restaurant in downtown San Diego before closing its doors and looking toward something new.
The building will act as a draw for diners as sprinkled throughout the restaurant will be old newspaper articles from the 1900s. Ferraiuolo, who also manage Café Calabria in North Park, said they secured prints from the city’s museum.
The newspaper was located in the building for nearly 30 years until moving to a location on Coast Highway. The next occupants operated a furniture store for three decades, but it has been out of service for several years until now.
The building’s historic classification has been a challenge for the restoration. The original floors will be kept, along with rod irons and other white marble throughout the inside.
In addition, work also revolves around reinforcing the roof, as Cassineri said the goal is to open rooftop patio by the summer. A street-level patio is part of the plan, Ferraiuolo said.
“We want to be part of the community as much as we can,” Cassineri said. “The building is historical, giving some importance to the history of the building. There is a lot of respect for the building and what it was before.”
But the menu is what the two men are really excited about. Wood-fired pizzas and traditional Italian dishes will be showcased, as too, will be the price.
Both said it was important to focus on keeping the selections affordable. They said a meal for one person, including a drink, will run about $25 to $30.
Just as important, Ferraiuolo said, is the quality of the ingredients. He said they will mainly import the pasta, sauces and cheese from Italy. As for the meat, he said the fish, beef and chicken will mostly be bought locally.
The pasta, meanwhile, will be made fresh, in-house daily, Ferraiuolo said. In addition, the pizzas will be a Neapolitan style.
And of course, dessert is on the menu as the two are also bringing in a pastry chef with the likes of cannolis and other mouth-watering options available from the in-house selections.
“There is a lot of history behind the building,” Ferraiuolo said. “We’re focusing on the newspaper part of it. Everything we do with it, revolves around the newspaper theme.”
For more updates, follow Blade 1936 on Facebook and Instagram.