Chef Gerard Craft Bringing Fast-Casual Porano Pasta & Gelato Downtown

By Katlyn Moncada
In Food

Quality, affordable food on the run can be hard to come by. Chef Gerard Craft will be attempting to fill in the gap by adding a fifth restaurant to the Niche Restaurant Group with a new fast-casual spot Downtown called Porano Pasta & Gelato.

Photo courtesy of Pastaria

Photo courtesy of Pastaria

Joining the Mercantile Exchange building this summer in the spot that formerly housed Takaya New Asian, Craft’s newest restaurant will allow guests to access freshly made pastas in a convenient and timely manner. The five-time James Beard award nominee for best chef in the Midwest will be taking inspiration from dishes at his Clayton Italian kitchen, Pastaria, in a style he referred to as the “Chipotle format” to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Diners will be able to build their own entree by choosing a base from items like organic and gluten-free pasta, farro, focaccia or lettuce. Next, guests will pick a protein ranging from beef brisket to pork meatballs and tofu before topping it off with a favorite sauce or dressing. And, of course, Pastaria’s famous gelatos will be available in single-serve cups and cookie sandwiches for convenient, on-the-go treats.

Pastaria’s executive chef, Michael Petres, will be taking on the new kitchen at Porano, and sous chef Ashley Simon is expected to become the chef de cuisine at Pastaria. Craft was also mentioned in a report by the Wall Street Journal that shed light on chefs around the nation who are trying to reinvent the face of fast food culture.

634 Washington Ave., Downtown

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