Closed for Business: PastaBar

Categories: Laudig
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Just a month short of its second anniversary, PastaBar closed for business last week.

Located next to the ASU Downtown campus, in the same building that houses The Turf Pub and Sens Sake, the restaurant was known for its rustic Italian food (including luscious handmade pastas) and casual urban vibe.

Former Sassi chef Wade Moises (who'd worked for Mario Batali's New York eateries Babbo and Lupa) and sous chef Nick Gentry founded PastaBar in 2009. Moises left the business last July to head to Adobe Restaurant, while Gentry continued on solo without changing the menu or concept.

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14 comments
Blinky
Blinky

Yay for Green Restaurant. #crossesfingers

Marna Mycroft
Marna Mycroft

PastaBar = let me eat a tiny bowl of overpriced pasta in a room with large prints of serial killers PastaBar = let me eat a tiny bowl of overpriced pasta in an empty room with large prints of serial killers and a hipster waiter that doesn't seem to give a sh*t that I'm even there. OH and don't even try to modify a single item on your entree of choice. We don't care how YOU want it because only the chef knows what's good. Awesome!

I'm so so so glad they failed. PastaBar was one of the worst places I'd ever had a meal in Phx. Good Riddance! This story has fufilled my schadenfreude for the day.

Yuri Artibise
Yuri Artibise

I seem to have the kiss of death for downtown restaurants I loved Palatte, Verde and now PastaBar, and they all closed. Alas, that means the the incredibly underwhelming Local Breeze and Pita Jungle will have a long reign downtown. (Although I never got 905 and it thankfully shut down so perhaps there is hope.)

I admit it wasn't for everybody (specialty food rarely is), but PastaBar one about the only place you could get authentic handmade pasta in town.

Personally I think the bigger problem is that there are simply too many restaurants and too few people downtown. Even on game nights when downtown's population swells, there are few crowded restaurants downtown.

Chris Lee
Chris Lee

Not super surprised here. Everything I heard about it made it sound like I would absolutely love it. Loved the approach, the ingredients sounded amazing & the concept sounded great. Though many I turn to for food recs seemed to love it, I just never got it. Didn't think the food was great. I don't really care about too much else (atmosphere, service, etc.) so that did it for me.

PhxDowntowner
PhxDowntowner

this makes me sick inside. Maybe if City Hall wasn't so unfriendly to small businesses this type of thing wouldn't happen to quality restaurants like PastaBar was.

CK
CK

Any reason posted as to why they shut down, specifically?

Schadenfriend
Schadenfriend

That's a shame, though I can't say it is shocking. It had a hidden location, really ambitious late hours, and prices slightly higher than one would expect for a bowl of pasta in a cafe atmosphere. Still, the food was delicious. Here's hoping the Pasta Bar crew keeps trying downtown...

Vicelord
Vicelord

oh yeah, I forgot about their unwillingness to change anything. I remember now I called them the pasta Nazis for a while.

Yuri Artibise
Yuri Artibise

You can blame City Hall for the closing of Verde (City permitting delays burned through much of their funds) and the delays in Pita Jungle and the CityScape restaurants but I dont really see how they were a factor PastaBar's closing.

Personally I think the writing was on the wall last summer when Wade moved on. It's hard to maintain a concept restaurant when the man behind the concept is no longer there.

Aru
Aru

I agree that the city is not friendly to small businesses much of the time, but PastaBar often served subpar food and was incredibly inconsistent in its overpriced small portions. When, or if, it was good, it was great.. but more often than not it was bland and disappointing. It shouldn't have survived even this long and it's a miracle that it did. I'm a fan of Moises as well, but this wasn't a good venture.

Also, as was mentioned, it was difficult to find and the atmosphere blew.

David Bickford
David Bickford

Sean, I understand your frustrations with the City regarding the dog park and related issues of how the City approaches Downtown. I share those frustrations. Nevertheless, I don't see how the City can be blamed for this failure. I liked the food at PastaBar, but it was a cold, austere place without much visibility. Besides, restaurants fail all the time -- even good ones. Activism for a stronger urban core is good, but don't let it become scapegoating of municipal government for every venture that doesn't work out there.

John
John

What exactly did city hall do to cause this business to close? I find it hard to believe that after being in business for two years, it was anyone's fault but the people running the shop. "City Hall" has a little more to do with keeping businesses from opening in the first place.

I'd rather think that this place closed because Nick Gentry couldn't seem to become a people person, the location was hidden completely from every streetfront, with no streetfront signage, and the food was vastly overpriced given the portion sizes and atmosphere.

I'm sorry, but it was doomed from the beginning.

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