Del Posto’s Mark Ladner Wants to Bring Quick-Service Pasta to Boston

His East-meets-West pasta shop is slated for a series of pop-ups, then a brick and mortar.

mark ladner

Artwork courtesy of Pasta Flyer

On June 10, James Beard nominated chef, Mark Ladner, started a Kickstarter campaign to bring his vision of gluten-free, quick-service pasta shops to college towns around the country. Ladner’s Pasta Flyer concept combines Italian home-cooked pasta with the type of rapid-fire service you see in Japanese ramen shops.

Although Ladner’s long-term plan is to open brick and mortar restaurants specializing in the Pasta Flyer line of healthy, affordable pasta dishes, he’s first starting with a series of seven satellite pop-ups in New York City, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area, Providence, and Boston. At the pop-ups, customers will be able to choose from a number of al dente pastas, sauces, sides, and proteins—all from an automated kiosk. Hypothetically, you could sit down to a piping bowl of star-shaped pasta in hen broth with bacon steak and crispy onions or wheel pasta in meat sauce with a poached egg and chopped herbs. Think Boloco’s burrito service except with pasta combinations conceived by one of the country’s best chefs.  While pasta and sauces will be prepared at “Mothership,” or a central commissary kitchen outside the cities, fresh vegetables and produce will be prepared on site.

The Pasta Flyer concept, including the initial pop-ups, hinges on its 30-day, $85,000 Kickstarter campaign. In the Tokidoki-inspired animated video on the page, Ladner says the sum will go toward research and development, equipment, staffing, and eventual pop-up tour. But Ladner seems to be well on his way to making his gluten-free crusade a reality. Less than a week since announcing his project, over 100 backers have pledged $27,000 toward the Pasta Flyer goal.

Assuming Ladner reaches his Kickstarter target, Pasta Flyer will be a Boston hometown reunion for Ladner, who grew up in Cambridge. After graduating from Johnson & Wales, Ladner also worked at Todd English’s first restaurant, Olives, in Charlestown.