LIVING IN THE CITY: La Dolce Vida for Steven Galasso

Caffe Italia owner/operator Steven Galasso is a fixture of daily life in downtown San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood
Caffe Italia owner Steven Galasso and wife, Klea. (All photos by Sal Giametta)

“Living In the City” is the San Diego Sun’s feature Q&A with downtown San Diego residents. It’s a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here. This is number 27 in an ongoing series.

Name: Steven J. Galasso 

Location: ARIA condo building in Cortez Hill.

Personal deets: Born in Falmouth (MA) and lived in San Diego for 46 years. My wife, Klea, and I moved from a 3,000-square-foot house in Otay Ranch two months ago. We lived on Cortez Hill before having children and moving away, and always wanted to return to the great views of downtown. 

Pets: Ruby is our 15-year-old Goldendoodle. Loves all people. Not so much other dogs. 

Currently binging: Poker Face on Peacock.

Caffe Italia exterior.

Work deets: I’m the owner/operator of Caffe Italia in Little Italy. Family owned and operated since 1992.

Why live downtown: Proximity to great shopping, Petco Park and lots of great dining. 

Worst aspect of downtown: People living in tents on the sidewalks is a challenge when walking throughout the downtown area. It seems to grow larger on a daily basis. 

Transportation breakdown: 80% driving (because I need my truck for business). 20% walking. 

Caffe Italia interior.

Go-to Coffee Shop: No brainer, Caffe Italia in Little Italy! It’s been serving the finest Italian espresso in Little Italy for 30 years. 

Lunch spot: Any other place in Little Italy. 

Dinner fave: Again, any restaurant in Little Italy. My wife and I usually go for small plates to share. 

Best bar: Bar One in Little Italy has a great vibe. 

Bar One in Little Italy.

Scariest moment: Once I was punched in the face and had my jaw broken when I escorted a disturbed person out of my business. 

Safety factor: Downtown could be ranked anywhere from 1-10 depending where you are at the time. A lot of people with mental health issues live on the streets. I avoid the old library and Post Office. And east of Tenth Avenue in East Village. 

Homelessness: It’s an inconvenience and we try to not let it affect our overall lifestyle. It’s a big stain on the city’s brand and image. 

Parking advice: Be persistent looking for street parking. Utilize the County Administration Parking Garage in Little Italy after 5 p.m., or Little Italy Valet service. 

Our Lady of the Rosary Church.

Best downtown memory: Getting married at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy. 

Padres games: Yes. Always great to run into Caffe Italia customers and old friends at Petco Park. 

Scooters: They do serve a purpose. But they’re dangerous. Was glad the city finally put some controls on the scooter businesses. It was out of control for over a year. 

Parting advice: Get the politicians to treat the city like a business. Require all levels of elected officials to have a background in at least running a small business. Not sure if any present City Council members have ever had to meet a payroll. Spending other people’s money is easy!  SDSun

Want to tell your downtown San Diego “Living In The City” story? Email

To read the entire Living In The City series, go to: Profiles.


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