Outside the Law
Childhood, Revisited Wade Moller’s fondest memories of his childhood in Seattle were his family’s weekly visits to an Italian restaurant. So when he grew up, he opened one of his own. Five minutes before the annual block party was scheduled to begin, the skies looked ominous. The chefs at Cantinetta had spent the day prepping the platters of antipasti, tomatoes and pasta; the residents of Seattle’s upscale Wallingford neighborhood had started streaming in, anticipating the free food. Kids in Hello Kitty pajamas mingled with women in high heels. The drizzle turned into a steady rain, but that didn’t faze Wade Moller BS’96, JD’00, Cantinetta’s co-owner. He strode in, accepting handshakes and shoulder clasps, clearly in his element. Moller is an attorney for Weyerhaeuser by day, but in his off time he runs the restaurant. It’s a change from conference calls and corporate boardrooms, but he loves it.
42 | Willamette Lawyer
“You don’t see a lot of unhappy people in the restaurant world,” Moller said. “They’re not going to retire at 52 and have a fancy house on the water, but they sure get the most out of every day.” Moller met his business partner, Trevor Greenwood, in high school when both worked as maintenance men at the Mercer Island Beach Club. They bonded over broken lawn mowers, then kept in touch as each pursued different careers. Moller, a philosophy major at Willamette, got a law degree and worked at Washington Mutual before landing at Weyerhaeuser. Greenwood worked management jobs at the iconic Seattle restaurants Queen City Grill and Via Tribunali. Wouldn’t it be cool to open a restaurant someday? they’d ask each other.