Pasta Puttana to open a store this spring
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Jessica Volpe works hard for her pasta"][/caption]
Two and half years ago, TOC brought you the story of Jessica Volpe, an artisan obsessed with fresh, seasonal, organic pastas who willingly calls herself Pasta Puttana—the "pasta whore." At that time, Volpe had just entered the farmers' market scene and was getting her products into retail stores.
Now Pasta Puttana can be found at several places around town, including City Provisions and Green Grocer. And this spring, Volpe will add another retailer to that list: her own shop. Which, of course, will be called Pasta Puttana.
"I'm sticking with the whore," Volpe says. "She's not going anywhere."
Volpe has until now been working out of Kitchen Chicago. Moving out of KC and into her own kitchen has always been part of her plan (as it is for most of the people working in incubator kitchens). The retail part of the operation, however, was less expected. In fact, Volpe sounds slightly shocked that she's doing it.
"I'm really surprised how much I like conversing with my regulars," she says.
The kitchen and shop will be located at 1407 W Grand Ave, in the former Grand Stand Italian Ice space, and Volpe hopes to have it open to the public in March. It will be "warm but minimal" and "all pasta focused"—anything other than pasta that's sold in the store (olives, olive oil, etc) will purely be because Volpe believes it goes well with her pasta. (And that's assuming she'll actually carry other goods at all, which she may not do.)
Volpe will carry her current lineup—roasted garlic, red chile linguini, golden egg white wine, wild mushroom, etc.—in the store, but also use this opportunity to create some new pastas. She's about to release a lardo pasta studded with crispy bacon bits, and filled pastas are also in the works. But the space will not drastically change what Volpe is doing. Instead, she says, "my vision for the retail space is an extension of what I already do."