Osteria Moto brings fresh, local ingredients

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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If you are looking for a dining experience with a warm casual energy, look no further – Osteria Moto recently opened in December in the El Dorado Hills Town Center.

After having success in the Italian restaurant business in Los Angeles, Owner Stephen Sakulsky ventured up to El Dorado Hills when a friend had been bugging him to check it out for nearly six years. Finally, the timing was right for him and his young family. He said he enjoyed the clean air, no traffic, good schools and normal people.

“It clicked and made perfect sense to move my young family up here and do what we have done in Los Angeles, up here,” Sakulsky said. “We are an Italian-California restaurant, like Calitalian. We look at it as grass-roots county Italian food. We utilize our gift of a backyard in Northern California and stay true to our values of using local and quality ingredients.”

Sakulsky said at Osteria Moto, you will not find a Cisco truck out back. Everything comes from local farms including Apple Hill, Placerville, Chico, Amador, Rancho Cordova and more.

Osteria Moto has a deep meaning with Sakulsky. Osteria is an informal Italian eating establishment, which is based on regulars and family. Moto is for motorcycle, which Sakulsky has been riding for decades.

“We ride then, race them and wreck them. We love the culture of motorcycles and what they represent,” he said. “It’s the camaraderie of being on bikes together with friends and sharing that experience. We want that same experience to be shared around our tables.”

In Osteria Moto, the restaurant is fill with natural light and an open concept.

“The previous restaurant was dark and didn’t have a flow of energy, so we gutted the space and made it open, bringing in as much natural light as possible. We used unheralded materials to give it a warmth and texture,” Sakulsky said. “When you sit in here, you feel a warm energy and a positive feeling which I feel is a part of our culture and value. It’s not just about the food, but the service, the design and everything to be a part of a bigger package experience of hospitality.”

Sakulsky said the restaurant was designed by Brendan Ravenhill, using alder wood and limestone. Alder is typically used in cabinet and furniture framing, and it is usually never put on the outside, but Sakulsky said it keeps its form for a long time. Alder and limestone are said to age better with time and use.

“Hopefully like our restaurant is Los Angeles, as time goes on, 10 years down, it will look better as it gets some use to it,” he said.

At Osteria Moto, everything is made fresh daily, in-house.

“All of our pastas are made in-house in our pasta room. Our bread is baked daily in our dough room,” Sakulsky said. “Some popular items include our farm lettuces, which are picked the day of; our pork meatballs; Brussels sprouts, of course; and all of our pastas – pappardelle Bolognese, bucatini carbonara and cacao pepe.

Something unique at Osteria Moto is the wine list.

“Just like the kitchen, the wine dictates certain values of local and representing people who work hard. We have a dedication to wine makers that aren’t manipulating anything in the wine – not adding things, not over-using oak, no chemicals or sulfates,” Sakulsky said. “Our wine list comes from the entire west coast of America from Baja to Washington and all of Italy. We have off-the-beaten-path varietals and true varietals, not so many blends. A wine list like this doesn’t exist in the region. We’re sort of pushing the envelope.”

When asked what his favorite thing about his restaurant was, Sakulsky said seeing his vision come to light.

“I also love seeing people walk out happy. The other night, someone said it was the best meal they had since they can remember. That’s our job and it feels good to hear things like that,” he said. “I love the energy of a full restaurant – it’s the dining experience I came here to do.”

One thing Sakulsky wanted to note is how proud of his staff he is.

“I’m really proud of my staff. They’re coming into something completely new from our food to level of hospitality and service,” he said. “They have done an amazing job, and I’m very proud.”

Coming soon at Osteria Moto is a café with grab-and-go items, as well as lunch and brunch.