This Week's Dish: Gerard Craft's Porano Pasta Opens This Week

 In Food

The wait for Downtown’s highly anticipated Porano Pasta has finally come to an end. Starting tomorrow, Jan. 26—with limited hours—you can enjoy the fifth restaurant from James Beard Award-Winning chef-owner Gerard Craft. The first fast food concept for the chef comes to the Mercantile Exchange District with a build-your-own style menu of Italian offerings, which is inspired by the culture of a small town in Umbria that also shares the restaurant’s name.

Porano Pasta photo by Greg Rannells

Porano Pasta photo by Greg Rannells

Upon entering, guests can line up for a customizable gourmet meal prepared from a base of organic semolina pasta, gluten-free pasta, organic farro, Italian rice or romaine and kale lettuce mix. Protein options include slow-roasted pork, beef meatballs, marinated grilled chicken, seasonal vegetables and spicy tofu. From there, pick from house sauce offerings like Pomodoro, red pepper, Alfredo e Pepe, pumpkin seed and lime pesto and more. A variety of toppings from crispy garlic to fresh herbs and Grana Padano cheese are available to complete the dish. Expect to save room for pastry chef Anne Croy’s acclaimed gelato from Niche Food Group’s casual Italian restaurant Pastaria. 634 Washington Ave., Downtown

Fans of Rock Hill’s Hacienda can look forward to getting a taste of its popular Mexican eats in a new concept restaurant in Clayton this spring called Wet Burrito. Opening in a former Quiznos sandwich shop space, the new restaurant will feature the tastes and traditions from the 45-year-old Mexican dining spot in a new fast casual environment. The owners have teamed up with SPACE Architecture + Design to build the space and are hoping to cater to the busy Clayton business lunch crowds by being able to serve each customer from start to finish in less than three minutes. 7810 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton

If you’ve been a guest at Sump Coffee in South City, you know the last thing you do is pay. No matter what quality crafted cup of coffee you decide on, owner Scott Carey makes your visit about the experience and presentation—not how they are getting paid. Using Square since Sump first opened in 2011, Carey said the coffee shop has “kept rolling with whatever Square has been coming up with.” The newest device recently installed for guests’ convenience includes a chip reader and a no-contact solution that works with all forms of payment and technology, such as Apple Pay through the iPhone or Apple Watch.

“In terms of how we try to create the experience, we want it to be about the coffee, not necessarily about collecting payment,” Carey says. “This system has allowed us to have a very light footprint in terms of that presentation of what we have to do obviously to be in business.” 3700 S. Jefferson Ave., Marine Villa

After 23 years in business, Harry’s Restaurant and Bar will be closing for business this Saturday, Jan. 30. 2144 Market St., Downtown

Feb. 1: In celebration of the anniversaries of LoRusso’s Cucina and Operation Food Search, LoRusso’s will be hosting Pasta Bowl 2016. Diners will enjoy a family-style meal of three different pastas from recipes submitted by restaurant customers. Guests of the evening will be able to vote on their favorite recipe, with the winning recipe featured on LoRusso’s menu. Each time the pasta is ordered throughout the year, LoRusso’s will donate $2 to Operation Food Search. The dinner is $65 per person, plus gratuity, and includes wine, appetizers, salad and dessert. Reservations may be made by calling 314-647-6222 or by e-mailing 3121 Watson Road, The Hill

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