The Financial District’s new fast-casual pasta shop gets straight to the point by calling itself the Pastagram: These bowls of colorful pasta are meant to be posted as much as they’re meant to be eaten. The restaurant, located at 241 Pearl St., near John Street, comes from the creators of Sola Pasta Bar.
It’s a choose-your-own-adventure approach to pasta, with a fast-casual customizable menu that involves picking a pasta, a sauce, and extras. There are 12 options for pasta shapes, including cavatelli, gnocchi, tagliatelle, and rigatoni, and the sauces are all pretty simple, like pomodoro, alfredo, pesto, and vodka sauce. Add-ons include chicken, broccoli, tuna, and meatballs. For dessert, there’s tiramisu, cream puffs, and chocolate mousse. Prices for pasta bowls range from about $9.95 to $13.95 not including the add-ons.
But food isn’t entirely the point here. The Pastagram is really playing up the social media angle, promising “photogenic” details in all of its dishes as well as bright, teal decor in the space. “Every single detail is thought of as to be the most photogenic as possible, catering to a customer base that— today more than ever — seems to give aesthetics as much importance as food quality,” its press release declares. Meanwhile, the restaurant’s own Instagram doesn’t have any posts yet.
Trendy, fast-casual spots trying to cater to millennials love to work the Instagram hook; many places barely even post photos of the food they serve, instead using food as props for photoshoots. By Chloe runs a purely aesthetic Instagram, and, along with its ESquared siblings Dez and the Sosta, designs its spaces to be photo-ready with swings, neon lights, and bright colors. Antoni Poroski’s new diet-crazed fast-casual restaurant Village Den similarly has an Instagram that’s about the looks rather than the food it serves, and the space features hanging plants and a mural wall. Pastagram’s not doing anything out-of-the-ordinary — it just cuts right to the chase with its name.
Sola Pasta Bar, from acclaimed chef Massimo Sola, opened in Soho in 2017 and offers a similarly straightforward menu of simple pastas, though without the customizable setup and in a full-service setting. There were plans to open more locations throughout the city. Earlier this year, Sola launched a bunch of pasta food carts, but this will be the first additional brick-and-mortar for the chef.
The Pastagram is open and ready for its close-up Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.