A local Italian restaurant wants to give its customers the opportunity to make their own pasta dishes at home.
Restaurant Olivia, which opened in January 2020 at 290 S. in Wash Park. Downing St., is preparing to expand into an adjacent 1,000-square-foot space at 284 S. Downing St., formerly home to an Aveda hair salon.
Co-owner and beverage director Austin Carson told BusinessDay that the restaurant is looking to expand its dining space and also plans to use a third of the space to open a pasta shop during the day.
“We were in Italy last year and saw a lot of pasta shops, which is kind of where the idea came from,” Carson said. “We also needed a place to increase pasta production, but at night we would add extra seating for the restaurant.”
The pasta shop, tentatively named PS Olivia, will sell a proprietary blend of hand-filled and extruded pasta, sauces, pasta equipment, restaurant flours and bottles of wine. Carson and his co-owners, Heather Morrison, and executive chef Ty Lyons, plan to open it in the fall.
Restaurant Olivia, which now seats about 25 in its 1,388-square-foot space, will double its seating capacity with the new expansion.
“We were basically looking for another place before our landlord presented us with this opportunity,” Carson said. “We are really lucky that demand exceeds supply right now, and we need to increase pasta production. So, having it in the same building makes more sense than coordinating between two different restaurant entities. “
Carson and his co-owners bought Café Marmotte, the French bistro that previously operated at 290 S. Downing St., in 2019. He ran it for four months before opening the restaurant Olivia.
He also opened Bistro Georgette in 2018 at Lohi’s Avanti F&B Food Hall. They are closing in October after a short-term lease. But Carson said the group hopes to open a new brick-and-mortar concept out of Restaurant Olivia and Bistro Georgette in the near future.
“Tie, Heather and I talk all the time about what we want our restaurant group to look like,” Carson said. “We want to continue to grow. I don’t know if we’ll ever be huge, but we want to grow to the point that we want to take advantage of buying opportunities based on volume and make sure our talented employees have access to them going forward.” There are opportunities to grow. We’re not moving away from our restaurants in Maseratis, like some people assume restaurants, so a little more revenue won’t hurt.
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This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.