New Italian Restaurant opens in Orange County
In a recent expansion of their culinary endeavors, the group behind El Cholo has opened Il Gatto, a new Italian restaurant located at 800 E Whittier Blvd. Translated as ‘the cat’ in Italian, this venture marks a return to a familiar theme for owner Brendon Salisbury, whose father, Ron Salisbury, established The Cat & the Custard Cup in 1979. Though sadly shuttered during the pandemic, the restaurant held a special place in the family’s heart, leading them to envision a rebirth as an Italian eatery in April 2024.
To realize this vision, the Salisburys partnered with Antonio Orlando, a seasoned culinary professional who collaborated with them as opening chef for Louie’s By The Bay in Newport Beach (2018-2019). This partnership harnesses Orlando’s extensive Italian cuisine expertise and the Salisburys’ deep-rooted culinary traditions.
The eatery celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with help from the City of La Habra, complete with a giant pair of novelty scissors. Dishes at the eatery include a number of Italian classics including traditional pasta, soups, steak, and an array of wine selections.
The Salisbury family has a rich history of restaurants in the area. Brandon’s great-grandfather started El Cholo 101 years ago. This was followed by his father who started the El Cholo in La Habra in 1962 and opened The Cat in 1979.