A La Carte has finally bitten the dust. The gourmet takeout restaurant and catering company that we lovingly created in 1986 from a fortune teller's apartment and sold seven years ago, passing through two subsequent owners, is now undergoing a complete transformation in the competent and experienced hands of the Molteni family. We watched with mixed emotions and curiosity because of our special attachment to this space and wanted to talk to them about their plans. Our concerns melted away when we met the engaging and enthusiastic Moltenis.
They intend to open Maro Wood Grill at 1915 S. Coast Hwy. in Laguna Beach, and it's all about family. Mariano is the chef, while his wife, Patricia, a professional design marketer and a graduate of Parson's, has done the designing and will work in the restaurant. Mariano's sister Fiorella, who has worked in many restaurants and owned her own in Chester, England, has been recruited to manage the front of the house. Their mother, Lilliana, has moved here from Buenos Aires to help them. She is an architect and drew up the plans. In addition, Mariano and Fiorella's brother, Martin, is a world-famous chef who has his own restaurant in Buenos Aires, the family's hometown. He is helping to create the menu and acting as a consultant.