Former Del Posto chef Mark Ladner is just weeks away from opening his solo, fast-casual restaurant, Pasta Flyer — and when it does, people will be able to try the pasta whisperer’s food for under $10. The new Greenwich Village restaurant at 510 6th Ave. near West 13th Street, is the first outpost of a concept that the fine-dining chef hopes to grow as a chain. An exact opening date hasn’t been announced but the team is planning for it to debut within a month.
So far, the format for the restaurant sounds similar to the Chipotle, the have-it-your-way style that many fast casual chains use. It starts with customers choosing one of three kinds of fusilli, rigatoni, and penne pasta: one made with durum wheat semolina, a whole-grain pasta Kamut-Khorasan wheat, and a gluten-free version.
They will be able to further customize the pasta while in a queue, set up so that they can point to items for staff to add. Several traditional Italian sauces will be available, and the pasta will be cooked to order in boiling salt water, sauced, and tossed in a pan in front of the diner. The goal is for people to get their pasta within three minutes.
Pasta Flyer will also offer antipasti sides, salad with tri-colored lettuce, braised lentils, carrots, and garlic knots made of fried pastry dough dressed in garlic parsley butter. More specialty items will be offered in the future. And Robert Bohr and Grant Reynolds of King Street Sommeliers will be creating a beverage program.
Ladner first played with the idea of Pasta Flyer in 2014, when he launched it as a gluten-free pop-up. But when the new restaurant opens, it will have options that contain gluten. According to a statement, the wheat in the pasta is grow organically in Puglia and then milled, extruded, and dried on the same day the pasta is made: a method intended to give “it a toothsome bite and the greatest nutritional retention.”
The chef is one of many big-name people in the industry to go the fast-casual route. Ladner is known for turning Del Posto into one of the most widely acclaimed Italian restaurants in the country and left a couple months ago specifically to focus on Pasta Flyer. Despite all the chef-driven chain restaurants, there has yet to be a high-profile one to try its hand at pasta.
Back when he first talked about the idea, Ladner said that he’s always wanted to serve more people. “I've always been really interested in affordable food, and in healthful choices in regards to food,” Ladner has said, “and I like the challenge of trying to provide more options to more people.”