The year was 1946, and Ambrose Pasquini had just
arrived in New York. Fresh from fighting in the underground
resistance in Italy against the Germans, he had left his ravaged
homeland to seek opportunities in the burgeoning United States.
Mr. Pasquini moved to Los Angeles in 1951 as a top tool and dye
maker for Mitchell Camera House, yet he could never escape the feeling
that something times was missing. Growing up in Europe he would enjoy
an espresso in the mornings and often during the day, but now in America
he missed this rich coffee of his native Milan.
So he imported an espresso machine and opened a café called
Moka D'Oro in Los Angeles on the now famous Vermont Avenue.
It was the first espresso café in Southern California.
The café only had few customers at first, and Mr. Pasquini often felt alone in his passion
for the small cups of strong coffee.
Eventually other restaurant owners began asking him about this "new contraption
that makes coffee". So he began importing machines, changing their European
wiring to American standards and selling them to the local restaurants in his area.
As time passed and business prospered, Mr. Pasquini started to modify the machines
even more, adding improvements such as pressure and temperature controls that left
less room for user error. His main concerned being performance and durability for
the restaurant owners.
Although the Los Angeles public now loves their coffee, at first the community
seemed reticent for the new product that Mr. Pasquini had such affection for.
Not one to shirk from a challenge, he whittled away at the resistance to the new
devices by introducing espresso to consumers and restauranteurs alike through his
successful Los Angeles s like the Sunset strip's Via Veneto and Pasquini's,
which was open for 25 years in the alley of the old Bullock's department store
downtown Los Angeles.