Marinara Runs Through My Veins
“I was introduced to the kitchen as a little girl working with my grandma. Grandma, who lived in a great home for entertaining, was very involved in many church and community women's groups that got together at luncheons in her front yard. There I would set up drinks, platters of food, all of the place settings, linen napkins and glasses. Nothing plastic there!
I became an expert at serving 30 church ladies in the most efficient way.
On Sundays, the whole family congregated for meatballs, pasta and wine at my great grandmothers house. The marinara was always cooked for hours. We kids all shared the duty of plucking peas from their pods in the back yard. They were sauteed with garlic, onions and delicious olive oil and ditalini pasta with a little pasta water. This soupy pasta was topped with Romano or fresh ricotta. Then it was mangia!
We were immigrants first. Our family brought the sausage making, produce business and citrus growing business from Italy by way of Ellis Island. After having grown up in the family that I did, I have learned to make my own way, adapt to all of the changes in the restaurant business as well as the changes in the world.
Several years ago, together with my mother, Gerry Moreno, we owned La Dolce Vita Trattoria, Deli, Gourmet Grocery and Catering Service. This Hollywood Beach (in Channel Islands Harbor) icon was an integral part of the beach community.”
Owner, Executive Chef, Cookbook Author, Cooking Instructor, Wine Curator, Bar Visionary and Creator, Michelle Kenney has had twenty-five years of experience in the restaurant and catering business. Clearly from the success of La Dolce Vita 1901 she still loves this work!
Michelle Dreamed It and I Built It
Marriage is an amazing relationship. And the marriage between a chef and a builder is full of possibilities.
I come from a long career of building in the residential and commercial world. And I love the challenge of building a great space. Michelle comes from a family deeply steeped in food, restaurants and service. Her ideas for continuing that career path just needed someone to help make it real. That was me.
When we first met, we spent hours talking about what we wanted — restaurant space, event space, indoor and outdoor space and a bar. We both love beauty and conceived a space that was gorgeous and felt like home, a truly beautiful home.
Eventually we found the McGrath House located at Heritage Square and we were captivated. Several years of leasing and finally buying the space allowed us to build within and without, according to the historical limits and our needs!
We painted, carpeted, organized and improved the space. We made sure the lighting, furnishings and all the decor felt rustic Tuscan inside and southern California patio dining outside. Our customers love it.
Then we set our conversations to reimagining the bar. We created the 1901 Speakeasy. The Speakeasy is an idea whose time has come.
Owner, Greg Kenney, created a great atmosphere, a truly beautiful bar and a space that screams No Password Needed!
Full Of History
Heritage Square is historical and modern at the same time. Today’s trends are returning to comfort and the classics. We are eating healthier, wanting to know from where our food is coming and looking for experiences that are real. Dining in the McGrath House at Heritage Square feels luxurious because it is bathed in beauty. The rooms are intimate and spacious, the architecture is remarkable, the service is expert and the food is completely delicious.
"Wow, this is really a cool place." "It is really unique." These are the things we hear when guests come to our restaurant and bar. We have inside dining, lovely patio spaces, party rooms and the whole Heritage Square Plaza to delight our guests. Our 1901 Speakeasy is way more than just a bar — it is a destination with history and intrigue. The classic cocktails that reign there allow our patrons to experience history while enjoying tasty libations.
We are so proud of our staff — from the servers to the cooks to the bartenders and everyone else in between. They are the backbone of our business.
Chefs and cooks keep things moving and shaking while tracking everything that gets served with just the right timing.
Buss staff and dishwashers make sure your dinner table is in tip top shape.
Our catering clients always tell us how incredible our staff is and point out how they demonstrate care and give impeccable service.
Even in a crowd of 100 people, the La Dolce Vita 1901 staff is able to make every guest feel like they are the only one.
We Believe That Food Is An Experience
Learn More of the Joy of Cooking
Explore new tastes and experience learning in a beautiful environment. Taught by a working chef. Easy to follow instruction for people who love delicious food. Join a group or create one of your own. Find classes here >>
A Catered Affair for Love or Business
La Dolce Vita 1901 will arrange every aspect of your event from set up to clean up and everything in between. We love large banquets, intimate parties, bar tending and serving your event. Our experienced and courteous staff will make you feel completely at ease. See the offerings >>
Classic Drinks, No Password Needed
Experience the classics and our history as you explore the craft cocktails that fueled Prohibition’s secret drinking — the 1901 Speakeasy. Intimate, friendly and serving crafted cocktails that feature house made liquors. Live weekend entertainment sets the mood. Visit the lounge >>