Mike Easton sure knows how to keep things interesting. Just days after he let slip that he's planning a noodle retail shop, the James Beard award-nominated chef has shuttered Pizzeria Gabbiano, his renowned second venture. "Closed for reimagination," the restaurateur scrawled on a note stuck to the front door Monday, "xoxo Mike."
While Easton told Eater he and some fans loved the Roman-style flatbread pies at Gabbiano, he doesn't think everyone quite understood the concept. "The long and short of it is, we had a pizza we were making that was labor-intensive with expensive ingredients because we were making everything from scratch and buying everything as local as possible, and when you get into what people expect from a quick slice of pizza at lunch, it wasn't a sustainable, viable business," Easton explained.
Now the silver lining: Easton confirmed that his retail operation, called Il Corvo Pasta Studio, will replace Pizzeria Gabbiano, hopefully by the end of May. It's an offshoot of his wildly popular, weekday lunch-only pasta restaurant Il Corvo, and he said it's actually been in the works longer than the pizzeria.
Regulars at Il Corvo may have purchased dry pasta during some test runs, but until now Easton hasn't had the infrastructure to keep up with demand. With an Italian pasta-drying cabinet he ordered for the new venture, though, he'll be able to roughly quadruple production, from 25 bags every other day to about 100 bags in a day. Expect a ravioli machine, too.
Easton said he wants the new business to be an experience, "a pasta studio with every aspect being made, from a big extruding machine extruding short shapes for dried bags, to a nice sheeter doing big ribbons of pasta we can cut into pappardelle or tagliatelle." Can you picture the lines of entranced tourists watching that process? Easton also wants to package some of the restaurant's signature sauces.
"Essentially the idea is to create a place where everything you need to go home and make a nice pasta dinner is right there," he said.