Pasta Flyer — the pasta fast food spot by one of the city’s most decorated chefs of Italian cuisine — will close later this month after just over one year of service.
Ex-Del Posto chef Mark Ladner, who hawked plates of fusilli, fettuccine, and spaghetti for under $9 each this restaurant, will search for a new location instead of renewing the lease, set to expire in early 2019.
“The space was an uphill battle for us but it provided a place for us to evolve,” a spokesperson for the Greenwich Village restaurant says. Ladner and his partner Nastassia Lopez had renovated the space twice, closing up shop just two days before the opening to revamp when their first layout didn’t work.
Pasta Flyer received no shortage of praise following its opening last November. Eater NY’s Robert Sietsema called it a “prodigious deal,” even if the pastas were more “satisfying” than “awe-inspiring.”
Or here’s what Pete Wells had to say in his positive one-star review this January:
If you tasted the fusilli with pesto, say, or the fettuccine Alfredo, and didn’t know Mr. Ladner’s history, you probably wouldn’t guess that it had been made by one of the city’s greatest pasta cooks. But you’d be able to tell in a second that it was made by somebody who cared about food.
The Times critic, however, wrote that the ex-Chipotle space, just south of 14th Street on Sixth Avenue, had an “an odd, expectant air, as if it’s ready for a crowd that hasn’t shown up.” Indeed, when I returned to sample the (excellent) chicken parm sandwich in October, I encountered a sparsely populated room.
Ladner was the chef at fine-dining restaurant Del Posto from its opening in 2005 until early 2017, leading it to Michelin stars and a slew of other accolades. Under his leadership, it became a crown jewel of the restaurant empire of now-disgraced chef Mario Batali.
He left the upscale restaurant world for Pasta Flyer. Unlike other fine-dining chefs who pivoted to mass market fare, Ladner did not want to call Pasta Flyer the fancified term “fast-casual” — instead insisting that he wanted it to be accessible fast food in the way that McDonald’s is fast food.
The sub-$9 price level made Pasta Flyer a more affordable alternative to the city’s prevailing class of ambitious counter-service spots, salad chains, and poke shops. Llamita, the chic Peruvian spot by the Llama Inn team, asks $15 for squid sandwiches, while Tender Greens, whose lines suggests it does not lack customers, charges $13 for its “happy vegan” bowl.
“It is our belief that everyone deserves access to inexpensive, high-quality food, and we plan to continue this mission with our next iteration of Pasta Flyer,” according to a statement from the restaurant.
There is no specific timeline on when Pasta Flyer might reopen, though the restaurant told Eater NY that finding a new space is a “priority” and that it’s preparing to “grow the brand.”
The closing date is December 28. Pasta Flyer will offer specials before then, including a holiday truffle pasta.