LIVING IN THE CITY: Marco. Polo. Business. Permits.

He’s a modern-day explorer–of the new urbanism that can be found in Little Italy and all over downtown San Diego
Marco Polo Cortes. (Courtesy photo)

“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 42 in an ongoing series.

Name: Marco Polo Cortés

Residence: Merrimac in Little Italy

Personal deets: Born in Chula Vista and been in San Diego for 53 years. Lived downtown for 17 years.

Pets: Roxy is an 8-year-old Chiweenie. She gets so excited and does a 360-spin every time I’m about to put her on a leash to go out.

Roxy at Pappalecco. (Courtesy photo)

Work deets: Four years ago, after leaving the political world, I started my own hospitality consultant business. I’m president of Marco Polo Permits Inc., which helps companies navigate the unglamorous world of the permitting process.

Working from home: My building is a loft. Perfect for the live-work lifestyle. I wake up and respond to emails, walk Roxy, grab a coffee and work on my laptop and meet with clients throughout the day.

Why move downtown: To be part of the excitement and opportunity that new urbanism brings. There are new developments, residences and residents, businesses and always new ideas and concepts. 

Streaming/watchingSpecial Ops: Lioness, Spy Ops, Oppenheimer

Transportation breakdown: Walking 85%, Uber 15%.

☀️Click here & vote now in The Sun’s Downtown Dining Readers’ Poll. Win an SD Bay cruise!☀️

He's an explorer--of
Pappalecco. (Facebook)

Go-to coffee shop: Pappalecco Cafe for an espresso. The service is great and I feel like I’m transported to Tuscany.

Lunch fave: The service is also great and it’s a very family-oriented environment at Davanti Enoteca. I love the Escarol salad with salmon–and I also get to order off the menu. 

Dinner spot: Vinarius Wine Bar & Restaurant. Service, ambiance, everything is great. 

Best Bar(s): The new Bar One and the very old/historic Waterfront.

Favorite memories: Street Scene in the 1990s. The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. Watching Italy win the 2006 FIFA World Cup and then watching “The Blues” win the Euro Cup in 2021.

The San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival. (Courtesy photo)

Padres: Yes! Loved going to the first Opening Day of Petco Park in 2004. And beating the Dodgers in the 2022 playoffs.

Homelessness: It affects my senses and compassion. There has to be a comprehensive solution.

Mayor Todd Gloria: Keep doing what you’re doing. People want immediate gratification. Real change is hard.

District 3 City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn: He and his staff are very accessible and great with follow up.

Parking advice: It is what it is!

Parting advice: Always plan ahead.


This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top