This week’s version of The Regional Flavor characteristics Paul and Dorothy Fidrych, co-proprietors of Paul’s Pasta in Groton, Connecticut. They achieved a person a different in faculty pursuing their culinary levels just before performing at a area cafe. Acknowledging the tricky get the job done they were being putting in, they decided on beginning up their have organization in its place.
Inspiration arrived from a smaller pasta shop with a pasta-making machine in the window. They both equally had a motivation to do the identical, and wound up with a perfect location in the coronary heart of Groton. With much more than 30 many years of enterprise, Paul’s Pasta has come to be a mainstay of the location.
Blaine: How’d you both of those wind up opening Paul’s Pasta?
Dorothy: We obtained married in 1984. We ended up both of those in the restaurant company and worked really tricky. We made a decision if we were gonna work that difficult, we may possibly as properly be executing it for ourselves. We seemed close to for a concept that wasn’t being performed in the spot and we arrived across pasta-building.
Paul: We understood at some position we needed to open up our own enterprise. Not necessarily a restaurant, but a small business. Dorothy’s father had his individual enterprise and we wished the very same factor. I was often a self-pushed kind of person. There was that pasta shop in Deep River and it experienced that pasta device in the window. We believed we could do some thing like that and it would be more calm than a whole-on restaurant enterprise.
When we ended up 1st searching for a area, we had been doing work on our business options. We put in three months hunting while fine-tuning what we needed to do. We seemed from Westerly to Norwich to New London. We were being poking all around and uncovered this location with a sign out entrance that claimed “For Lease.”
The folks who left held all the tables and chairs in the cafe. I talked with my wife, and we really liked it. It had that awesome huge window in the front wherever we could set the pasta machine so folks going for walks by or driving by could see it. Not much too considerably has transformed above the yrs.
It’s a neat small area with a deck that overlooks New London and the Thames river. We get a stunning sunset, much too, weather permitting. You can see the clouds transform hues and come to feel the wind blow. It’s wonderful.
Blaine: Running a pasta store, was that what you both of those acquired at school or rooted in either of your families’ histories?
Dorothy: Neither of us have one particular drop of Italian blood in us. We uncovered at college and on the fly. We had been in Deep River and we saw this really cool pasta store with a huge machine in the front window. We claimed “Hey which is quite neat, we can do that.” So we did!
Paul: It mainly came from our individual curiosity. My grandmother was a really good cook with her Portuguese track record, but generally it was our personal fascination. We the two went into faculty wanting to know what to do and observed a ton of high-need positions for cooks.
Blaine: When did Paul’s Pasta open up? What was small business like then compared to now? Any surprises?
Dorothy: We opened in 1988. It would seem like there’s a ton much more eating places than there applied to be. There’s a lot much more chain dining places, much too. Back again then, we wanted a restaurant that had a whole lot of foot targeted visitors. We required some thing that experienced a significant front window in which we could put the pasta device.
When we very first opened, there ended up no tables. It was just a minimal pasta shop and gourmand shop. As the years went on, persons wished to eat below. We dropped the gourmet meals and place tables in in its place. We figured out on the fly and responded to what shoppers had been seeking for.
Paul: Well, the most important shock is how numerous taxes and mandates the government has you go by way of. But no, there’s a lot of things that have transpired through the many years that have served improve our company. Things we’ve adapted to as effectively, like the Atkins Diet regime. When customers needed to shun meat and bread and pasta, anything carbohydrate-similar, we came up with a small menu of non-pasta objects.
9/11 was a awful time in our nation’s heritage. With that, the Economic downturn, the housing burst, the Dot.com burst, a single of the points that held up our acceptance was our perception of price. We’re locally-owned, we market pasta and foods at good price ranges, and the neighborhood community understands us well. The community, in individual, has been unbelievable. We’re located in a neat little location in Groton with a great deal of enterprise all over us.
Blaine: What’s the procedure for making your pasta?
Dorothy: The dough is all basically the very same. It’s a blend of durum flour, semolina flour, eggs and drinking water. It’s mixed in the hopper and rolled out. We roll it out into sheets and lower it with the pasta machine. We use all our pasta on the menu for shoppers looking to order meals.
You can both get a freshly-cooked food or uncooked pasta and sauce we make from scratch so you can prepare dinner it when you want to. Fresh pasta is hard, however, if you want to maintain it. It’s made with eggs, so it desires to be frozen so it won’t stick collectively. It’s different than a box of pasta you continue to keep in your pantry.
Blaine: What’s the difference in flavor involving contemporary and boxed pasta?
Dorothy: It’s softer. It’s a little little bit softer and cooks a good deal more quickly. Usually in 2-3 minutes compared to 12-plus minutes with dried pasta. With our retail enterprise, you can get every thing you need to make a meal at home, even meatballs and garlic bread. We’ve got everything our customers require.
Blaine: How did COVID have an impact on business for Paul’s Pasta?
Dorothy: Nicely, fortunately for us, we have a powerful takeout base. As shortly as everything shut down, we were fortunate plenty of to have that currently in area. We did curbside takeout. A good deal of people weren’t set up to do that, so we felt fortunate. We’re still performing that currently.
The catering side of our small business, nevertheless, was afflicted a whole lot. People couldn’t gather in groups. We would sell trays of pastas. Men and women buy as a lot as they will need and come in to decide on it up. We had to lay off some waitstaff as effectively but we retained a couple personnel on. Individuals nonetheless wished to try to eat and they ended up anxious, so the curbside takeout worked really well for us. Men and women pull up and we bring the food out to them.
Blaine: Appear May possibly 19, outdoors of mask use, businesses can operate as regular. Is Paul’s Pasta set for that day?
Dorothy: We’re not rather all set, nonetheless. There’s a absence of staff members seeking to function appropriate now. We’re still hiring and training and transitioning back to dine-in.
Blaine: Seeking at the menu, what are your best-sellers?
Dorothy: Our complete top rated-seller is our Breaded Rooster Alfredo. We market additional of that than something else. We have a properly-well balanced menu, also. We have traditional spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, linguini and clam sauce, a couple vegetarian dishes. We make new ravioli in-house. It’s a nicely balanced menu. Most items are cooked to buy. We go by food items so fast. We even have gluten free of charge pasta created out-of-property for people that get it.
Paul: I’m proud of any dish on the menu, that’s the neat matter about it. However one merchandise that stands out is our Hen Diablo. It’s a hen breast marinated in mustard and lemon with crushed purple pepper. That’s a wonderful dish, a tiny diverse than the other merchandise on our menu. I think the range of our menu speaks for itself. We have a large amount of unique options for a smaller area. Our turnover permits us to do that.
Blaine: How a great deal food do you go by way of?
Dorothy: I can’t even remedy that question. We probably go through about 200 pounds of pasta on active days. What’s been nice is, even with COVID, our retail business enterprise has been choosing up a lot considering that more buyers are cooking from property.
Blaine: Is there everything you want to say to the patrons who have supported Paul’s Pasta via COVID?
Paul: All our prospects are magnificent. The support we got during this whole period of time, from the pretty beginning, was unbelievable. They probably felt the exact same way to us as we do to them. I can’t wait to see them within and on the deck once again. There’s a large amount of support we obtained from a lot of unique directions, from federal to the neighborhood amount. At each and every turn, someone was attempting to help us in which we wanted it.
We definitely turned our cafe a various path for the whole year and now we have to turn it again, bring again dine-in. I’m truly grateful to our customers and to all the wellbeing staff, too. Most of us are vaccinated in this article and that’s going in the proper course as very well. We just want a bit extra time to rehire the staff we dropped.
Dorothy: We have so a lot of common customers with 33 decades in enterprise. They’ve been coming in for curbside takeout and we miss out on looking at their faces coming in to the restaurant. We’re just inquiring our patrons to be affected person. We’ll have our dine-in open soon. We just ask to be patient although we get everything established up. It’s not a swap that will change on appear May possibly 19. There’s a system to get all set soon after being shut for dine-in for more than a year.
Paul: We just inquire them to be affected individual. As soon as we reopen for dine-in, there’s gonna be some bumps in the road and glitches. Just arrive on down, get pleasure from the menu.