Whatever you do, don’t call Nana’s a fusion restaurant. Otherwise you’ll have to answer to owners (and couple) Jonathan Anzaldi and George Torres, who opened the new takeout-only spot three weeks ago in Redondo Beach. Yes, the place is a a tribute to their grandmothers from across the globe, but that doesn’t make the Mexican-Italian food ‘fusion.’ It’s more than that.
“This idea came to us when we were sitting on our couch and ordering delivery all the time,” says George Torres of the new Nana’s, which fuses his family’s roots from Guadalajara, Mexico with Anzaldi’s Sicilian heritage. The plan, at first, was to raise capital, scout locations, and open in March 2020 — that is, until the world changed. “We opted to build [Nanas] as a takeout for now, and go from there,” says Torres. “That’s how we decided to end up in a commercial kitchen. We hope to have a [future] brick-and-mortar space to bring together the vibrancy of both cultures” sometime in the future, but for now the takeout is working just fine.
“John loves to cook and learned everything from his grandmother,” says Torres, who notes the similarities not only between Italian and Mexican cultures, but the universality of grandmothers across the globe. “My parents had a restaurant in Mexico. We wanted to combine both of our passions.”
The restaurant menu is filled with familiar dishes, done the Nana’s way, including traditional caesar salads, quesadillas, and chicken parmesan. Anzaldi — who formerly worked with prominent NYC chef Michael Chernow — also likes to branch out into new territory, marinating shrimp in Calabrian chili paste before grilling and tossing into a tortilla with deconstructed elote and slaw, or adding a jalapeño pesto option to the pasta menu.
As for a wider opening, Torres says the plan is to land a restaurant space in Laguna Beach some day, in part to bring back a queer presence that’s largely disappeared from the Orange County beachside city. For now, with the backing of some Kickstarter funds, Nana’s is comfortable continuing on in Redondo Beach, serving everyone across the South Bay. Hours are Friday and Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.