Antonio Ramos III was allowance to body a afford in his brother’s backyard during the alpha of the COVID-19 pandemic, aback he had a vision.
“This could be my pasta room, my little pasta laboratorio,” Ramos said. “So we congenital it out. … And by August, I was like, ‘Let’s aloof alpha accomplishing dinners.'”
So he did that, too, hosting clandestine dinners in his parents’ Santa Maria backyard for ancestors and accompany with his fresh, handmade pasta. After a little while, Ramos begin a bartering kitchen to use at Camp Arroyo Grande, authoritative dinners on weekend nights for alfresco diners who begin their way to the 30-acre ability abutting to The Village.
Around October or November, Ramos started to set his architect on aperture a restaurant, but as the COVID-19 communicable resurged in California, alfresco dining bankrupt again. However, he’s befitting his dream animate through Chef Antonio’s Italian Kitchen (Instagram, Facebook), which delivers alpha pasta dinners to doorsteps from San Luis Obispo to Santa Maria on Wednesdays with the abeyant for a weekend night in the abreast future.
Dinners appear with a salad—on Feb. 10, it was a kale Caesar bloom with baldheaded parmigiano-reggiano and garlic croutons—dessert—almost consistently amber budino with broiled walnuts (from Arroyo Grande) and Maldon Sea Salt, and some rustic garlic bread. The pasta appropriate changes weekly, and the options are endless.
Spaghetti alla chitarra with littleneck clams, smoked butter, chili flakes, lemon, and garlic.
Pappardelle with pork ragu or augment and kale.
Ravioli with smoked hen and prosciutto or alpha auto ricotta.
Tonnarelli cacio e pepe with attenuate hand-cut noodles, Parmigiano, pecorino, and alpha absurd atramentous pepper.
“When I anticipate of food, I anticipate of pasta,” Ramos said. “I aloof adulation affable pasta. It’s aloof what I know. I aloof actualize dishes, and it’s aloof what I do.”
Since the alpha of the pandemic, Ramos and his wife, Elise Raviv, accept had absolutely a journey. After he absent his restaurant job in New York City, and Raviv took a affected aperture from her job as a nanny, they larboard the city—pit-stopping in Maine afore advancing to the Central Coast.
From December 2019 to February 2020, Ramos said, it was as if anybody in New York Burghal was already sick. They knew that COVID-19 was coming.
“Restaurants were already closing afore it was appear in New York, because everybody already knew,” Ramos said. “We got out appropriate afore it concluded up happening. … I was aloof thinking, let’s aloof get out of the big city.”
So they headed to Raviv’s parents in Maine, area they backward for a little while until things got a little cramped. As the communicable saw no signs of absolution up, Ramos said they absitively to move aback to area he grew up. Ramos accelerating from Ernest Righetti High School and formed at Shaw’s Steakhouse & Tavern in Santa Maria afore affective to San Francisco and afresh New York.
In 2014, he started alive at Abrade Water in San Francisco. Executive Chef Thomas McNaughton had afresh appear Abrade Water Pasta, a book Ramos declared as the “definitive comestible pasta cookbook.” Although McNaughton was touring the country for his book at the time, Ramos started acquirements the ins and outs of the pasta business from the Mexican ancestors that was at the centermost of the restaurant.
“I aloof ashore about and got into it. I aloof admired the organization. … I abstruse accomplished beastly annihilation because they would do a accomplished pig,” he said. “Just accomplishing aggregate the absolute way, you know, aggregate from scratch. … And they were aloof so acceptable at accomplishing a massive bulk of being every day.”
It was the ability that aloft him in the kitchen, he said. And he ashore with the pasta business from that day forward. Ramos said about every restaurant he formed at over the aftermost seven years was Italian, including Misi and Charlie Bird in New York City.
Now, Raviv and Ramos are in San Luis Obispo block two dreams: starting a ancestors and aperture a restaurant. Raviv and Ramos got affiliated on the Central Coast in 2020, and she’s pregnant. Although the plan wasn’t necessarily to accessible a restaurant so quickly, authoritative aliment was a cull that Ramos couldn’t shake. He absent the assiduity of affable in flush restaurants and he absent authoritative aliment for others.
As doors started to accessible for him on the Central Coast, he chose to airing through them, from confined dinners in his parents’ backyard to accepting the befalling to baker in Camp Arroyo Grande’s bartering kitchen.
He said he approached the new challenges of aperture a aliment business aloof like he had aggregate abroad in his life.
“Like, OK, I don’t apperceive annihilation about business; I’m aloof activity to get it done. Aloof like cooking. There’s a recipe, aloof do it,” he said.
So they got a accouterment permit, a California seller’s permit, a apocryphal business name, and a business coffer account. They started to accommodated bounded producers who could accommodate alpha eggs, produce, and meat. They searched for the absolute flour. And, Ramos said, he affectionate of aloof let things appear as they happened.
So while the restaurant industry on the Central Coast had to abutting dining afresh for a brace of months, Ramos said it came at the absolute time, acceptance them to amend what they capital and move advanced with a plan to accomplish the dream happen.
They begin a bartering kitchen in San Luis Obispo that’s abutting to home, and for now, Chef Antonio’s Italian Kitchen is a delivery-only service. They column the meal for the anniversary on the website, and bodies can preorder. Ramos and Raviv do it all: basic the food, baker it, and bear the dinners.
The brace will be demography a 40-day breach already the babyish arrives at the end of March, but Ramos said his pasta dreams are aloof beginning. He’s attractive for the appropriate space, a baby sushi-style bar with a few adverse seats and a brace of tables.
“I’m acquisitive for a miracle, that addition will aloof say, you apperceive what, I apperceive the absolute amplitude that you could assignment at,” he said. “I aloof capital to baker for people, you know, so about I can accomplish that happen.” Δ
Editor Camillia Lanham is cat-and-mouse for a pasta delivery. Send aliment addendum to [email protected]
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