LIVING IN THE CITY: Walk This Way With Stefan Calvaruso

Foodelicious guide/owner leads some of the hippest and coolest tours in San Diego

“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 23 in an ongoing series.

Name: Stefan Calvaruso (pictured above at Fault Line Park in East Village)

Location: Broadstone Makers Quarter in East Village; formerly lived at The Rey, Entrada, and 900 F Street

Personal deets: Hometown is New York City. I’ve lived in downtown San Diego for 10 years. I need to live in a city environment. Gotta be able to walk to supermarkets, restaurants, etc.

Work deets: Owner/operator of the Foodelicious Tour Company. It’s a brand-new food tour business focusing on East Village, Little Italy, Barrio Logan and North Park. My tours focus on San Diego neighborhoods named the “hippest” (North Park, by Forbes) and “coolest” (Barrio Logan, by Time Out). We’re expanding every day. The intention is to support local businesses.

Funny moment: I was leading a tour in the Gaslamp Quarter during a Halloween weekend. In the middle of a spiel to my group, a young lady dressed like Cinderella jumped up on me and asked if I would be her Prince Charming.

On a Foodelicious tour at Burgeon Beer Company in Little Italy.

Working from home: Most days I get up and lead a tour. On off days, I wake up around 8 a.m. and focus on the “fun” paperwork needed for Foodelicious. When I can’t sit in front of the computer anymore, I go to the gym or jump in the pool.

Why live downtown: Location, location, location. We have so much to do around us and the environment is constantly changing. I’ve met fantastic people downtown and the energy is amazing.

Worst part of downtown: Unfortunately, the homelessness problem. It could affect my life and business. I do tours throughout the downtown area. The homeless population is a terrible look for the city and has the possibility to create drama during tours. I also pay a lot of money in rent. It’s not fair to downtown residents to have to step over a homeless person when we walk out of our buildings.

Sovereign Modern Thai owner JuMi Pitiwartarlai at her bar with Stefan Calvaruso.

Dinner spot: Sovereign Modern Thai in East Village is the best Thai restaurant and one of the best overall restaurants in San Diego. I normally get the Thai Fried Chicken, Thai Sausage or the whole rockfish. They have amazing specials every day. The decor is simple and the staff and owners create an incredibly friendly environment. I come here regularly on my East Village Foodelicious tour and guests love it!

Lunch place(s): My favorite places vary depending on what I’m in the mood for. I love Mezé Greek Fusion because the food is fantastic and the staff makes you feel at home. And there’s nothing like grabbing a beer at Half Door Brewing Co. or Knotty Barrel. I’m all about places with good food, booze and a welcoming atmosphere.

Coffee shop(s): I take pride in my own coffee making skills, but some of the best local coffee is at Dark Horse Coffee Roasters in Golden Hill and Amplified Ale Works in East Village.

Go-to bar(s): Knotty Barrel and Half Door Brewing to sit back relax and grab a beer. If I’m looking for an interesting evening, I make a pit stop at Tivoli Bar & Grill.

Amplified Ale Works in East Village.

Food shopping: Ninety-nine percent of the time, I use Instacart and get the majority of my groceries from Sprouts.

Transportation breakdown: I do my best to never drive. About 95 percent of the time I walk or use my e-Bike.

Scooters: No problem with scooters–if they’re handled and regulated correctly. I wasn’t keen on walking on the sidewalk and tripping on a scooter. But they are great for people to use to go to areas of the city they’ve never seen before.

Places to avoid: The Gaslamp Quarter has become San Diego’s Bourbon Street. There’s so much more to the city! If you see me in the Gaslamp I’m probably checking out a new restaurant.

Chicano Park in Barrio Logan.

Favorite event: There’s never a dull moment in downtown San Diego on St. Patrick’s Day.

Comic-Con: I love seeing people dressed like Spiderman trying to climb walls.

Padres: Ten years ago, Petco Park often had more fans in it from the rival teams. But things are changing and the Padres fan base is growing.

Podcasts: I listen to Tourprenuer. Also, Joe Rogan and sports shows like Fantasy Football Now, and The Michael Kay Show.

Parting advice: If you want insider advice on downtown, ask a local. Especially on bars and restaurants. There are a lot of hidden gems in the city that are not widely broadcasted.


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


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