Casa Barilla & The ‘Fast Pasta’ Trend

The Wall Street Journal: “It’s spaghetti and meatballs like grandma used to make, served in the culinary equivalent of a New York minute. Made-to-order pasta dishes such as fettuccine Alfredo and rigatoni Bolognese are being churned out at the speed of burrito-slinging at Chipotle. Italian food is having its fast-casual moment.”

“Chef Mark Ladner, formerly of Michelin-starred Del Posto, set out to open the McDonald’s of noodles, only healthier, with Pasta Flyer in Greenwich Village. The space, a former Chipotle, has been transformed into a terrestrial-inspired dining room with a hanging UFO and a black-and-white mural of Rome. Mr. Ladner leads the assembly line stirring up sauces for pasta combos such as fusilli with pesto; whole-grain rigatoni in a meat ragout; creamy fettuccine Alfredo; and gluten-free penne. Each are is priced at $7 to $8.”

“An early adopter of the grab-and-go noodle trend was boxed-pasta brand Barilla. Casa Barilla restaurant opened in Midtown in 2013, serving pasta, pizza and salads in a snap. The chain recently expanded to Southern California and to Dubai. Prices range from $7.95 to $12.95.” Restaurant consultant Clark Wolf comments: “This is about better ingredients and better foods in the right portions that happen to be delicious. It was bound to happen. It just had to wait until fear of carbs died down and until Americans learned that there’s more to making pasta than just industrial wheat.”

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