If you’ve seen this guy wandering around town, it’s not an optical illusion. Chef Maro (Mariano) Molteni is back in town AND looking for a new restaurant space to hang his chef’s hat.

Last year in May, local favorite Maro Wood Grill suddenly changed ownership and Chef Owner Maro upped and moved his family back to Argentina. Weeks later, his Chef in Residence, Debra Sims, exited the restaurant and, then, exited our town in August with plans to pan for new culinary gold in Yreka, California.

Fans of Maro Wood Grill blinked back big, rolly tears as the loss struck home: No more Gnocchi Nights. No more wood-fired, incredible steaks. No more hamburger-to-die-for. No more award-wining desserts.

So Done With Sabbatical

And then, it all changed last weekend when Chef Maro texted me a note. He’s back!

“Argentina was just a sabbatical,” he says. “My brother is a celebrity chef there, and we had a great time reconnecting, but even he had to close his restaurant recently – the economy is just so terrible there,” he explained.

So, he and family are back in town with kids settled in school, a new home in Arch Beach Heights and Maro now combing the coastal countryside for “The Next Place.”

Where Will Maro Hang His Chef’s Hat?

On Wednesday, while we downed lovely lunch fare at Anna Driggs’ Central, we talked through his many restaurant space options.
Costa Mesa? (I say no.)
Lido? (I say no).
Corona del Mar? (I say no).”Crystal Cove? (I say no).
I begin to whine loudly. Why not here, in Laguna, with all your adoring friends, I ask?

It’s the cost of rent here. “It doesn’t pencil out anymore,” he says morosely. “I want a larger place this time … and larger restaurant space definitely does not pencil out in Laguna. That, combined with the parking requirements for restaurants … I can’t get back in,” he finishes.

Show the Chef Some Laguna Love
Surely, some landlord within our city limits has a better idea, but we’ve got to work fast: Maro is a man with a mission. Contact me with ideas for Chef Maro at Diane@ArmitageRealEstateGroup.com