Numerous big-name chefs have launched fast-casual concepts in recent years — and now a Food Network icon is seemingly following in their footsteps: TV chef and Vegas restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis is planning a fast-casual pasta chain.
Eater NY reports De Laurentiis will host a pasta pop-up dinner in NYC later this month to test out the idea. “Pasta is our number one seller across the board all the time,” she told Eater NY, speaking of her eponymous restaurant at the Cromwell hotel in Las Vegas. “I’ve always wanted to do a fast-casual pasta concept, and so in the vein of trying things, I thought it’d be fun since I’m in New York anyway [for NYC Food & Wine] to do a little pasta pop-up.”
Slated for October 15 at Food & Wine’s Chef Clubs Counter, the menu for the pop-up dinner, which could hint at the fast-casual concept’s eventual menu, includes rigatoni with pork ragout, fusilli with lemon and pea alfredo, an arugula salad with pancetta and parmesan, and gelato.
Giada will no doubt face plenty of competition in the fast-casual pasta sector: NYC chef Mark Ladner (formerly of Mario Batali’s Del Posto) is launching his long-awaited Pasta Flyer concept this month and has said he wants it to be the McDonald’s of pasta.