Photo: Hello Pasta
The Wall Street Journal reports that two international fast-food pasta chains are poised to enter the U.S. market. Are they Italian, you wonder? No, French.
Continued after the jump. With 10 American branches in the planning stages, Hello Pasta is the brainchild of Laurent and Frederick Lesort, veterans of the New York City restaurant scene, where their twin Frederick's restaurants -- one downtown and one uptown -- closed late last year. Their idea is to provide patrons on the run with a chance to pair sauces and pastas, priced from $6.95 to $12. The first Hello Pasta is slated to open on Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side this June. Other branches will be situated in Long Island and New Jersey, and the chain also hopes to locate in airports and other transportation terminals. Oddly enough, cheap domestic mix-and-match pasta chains were common in Manhattan a decade ago, especially on the Upper East Side, but most are now gone.
The other prospective fast-food chain is Nooi, which already boasts 50 locations in France. It takes a more international approach to pasta, offering sauces with Mexican and Indian flavors in addition to more predictable varieties, poured around a dozen types of pasta. According to founding partner Gregory Baratte, "Our goal is to be the Starbucks or Pinkberry of pasta." They plan on opening in July, in exactly the same part of Manhattan as Hello Pasta.
If the concept flies, maybe you can look for French pasta in your city soon.