Tenure: Starting All Italia Imports in 1993, his wholesale company grew into the beloved restaurant in 2000, all thanks to word of mouth. “I started the business out of my apartment, selling prosciutto and gelato, and it slowly grew,” said Moiso. “I feel so lucky, seeing the constant appreciation; it’s an amazing feeling.”
Resume: Growing up in the small village of Cocconato, Italy, in the Piedmont region, he started working in restaurants at age 12. With a desire to learn languages, he worked in England, Germany, and, finally, the U.S., working at Disney World’s Italian Pavilion at Epcot before moving to Santa Barbara in 1992.
Dish he digs: Truffle, truffle, and truffle. With fond memories of his favorite fungi, Moiso recommends the porcini mushroom ravioli with black truffle sauce, or egg tagliatelle with butter and fresh-shaved truffle. Truffles being a regional classic, the dishes are seasonal, using black or white truffles. “I go crazy for truffles. I can talk for hours about truffles,” he said. “There is magic around them.”
The scoop: Named after the street where Moiso was born, Via Maestra 42 is full of childhood memoirs, from his dad’s woodworker tools to his first Vespa license plate. In addition to family photos, Renato hand selects specialty imports from his region, from Barolo wine to an array of truffle oils — even the famous Piedmont hazelnut, Tonda Gentile delle Langhe, for their chocolate hazelnut panna cotta.
“I try to keep everything authentically Italian, from the silverware and dishes to the wait staff and music streamed live from Torino,” said Moiso. “I want a feeling of comfort here, like my home. I want to give my customers that much.”
3343 State Street, Santa Barbara, (805) 569-6522, viamaestra42.com