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Catullo’s Italian in Jacksonville plans a second restaurant in St. Johns County

Known for its fresh-from-scratch, innovative Italian cuisine from authentic family recipes, Catullo’s Italian Restaurant is expanding to Nocatee Town Center in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Founders Carl and Dave Catullo announced plans for the new restaurant Friday in a Facebook video saying the time was right for a second restaurant to join the popular original in Jacksonville.

“Nocatee, we’re coming. The lease is officially signed. We figured with our third anniversary coming up in February, you know, that it was about time to do it,” the brothers said in the video. 

They hope to open by late 2022 in the shopping center anchored by Publix at Nocatee and Crosswater parkways.

“We’re supposed to get the keys Sept.1 [2022]. So, we’re shooting for maybe about this time next year or maybe early 2023,” they said.

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The restaurant will be slightly bigger than their current site at 1650-2 S. San Pablo Road in the Village Shoppes of San Pablo shopping center near Atlantic Boulevard west of the Intracoastal Waterway in Jacksonville.

“We don’t want to change the vibe too much. We like what we do here. The feeling you get when you walk in, we’re just going to try to replicate that over there,” said the restaurateurs, who also thanked their customers and staff for making the restaurant successful.

Nocatee Town Center is part of a master-planned community being developed by The PARC Group. The new Catullo’s will be between Luxury Nail Spa and Palm Leaf Dental.

“Catullo’s may be the most authentic Italian experience in Northeast Florida,” said Rick Ray, chairman and CEO of The PARC Group, welcoming the restaurant.

The brothers launched Catullo’s as a food truck in 2016 featuring homemade Italian dishes rooted in their family recipes.

Lines out the door

In February 2019 they opened their brick-and-mortar restaurant at the Village Shoppes of San Pablo. Since then, customers routinely line up outside the door, down the sidewalk and into the parking lot waiting for a table.

Catullo’s has built a reputation in Northeast Florida for its interpretation of classic Italian pasta dishes including ravioli, tortellini, lasagna and pappardelle. It’s also known for seafood and fish dishes, as well as cooking with fresh seasonal ingredients.

Among its entrees, customer favorites include Gnocchi Catullo, which is described on the menu as “fluffy little potato pasta pillows, cooked in our fresh sage and Calabrian chili alfredo sauce.”

Also popular is Chicken Capricciosa, described as the “closest thing you’re gonna get to anything “Parm” here!”

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Another favorite has been the Pear Fiocchi. In Italian, fiocchi means “little purse.” Pear Fiocchi is made with egg pasta filled with fresh pear along with three kinds of Italian cheese then topped with a cream sauce including caramelized pear, Gorgonzola and goat cheese and fried Prosciutto di Carpegna. 

Specials recently included Veal Milanese served over roasted red pepper, herbs and Stracciatella risotto, topped with parmesan, then finished with a balsamic glaze, the restaurant Facebook page shows.

Nocatee, with more than 9,000 families, offers easy access to Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine. Homes range in price from the $400,000s to more than $3 million, according to The PARC Group.