Food News

Fresh, Seasonal Italian on the West Side

Pastaio, the passion project of a Johnson & Wales grad, serves up homemade pasta and bold New England flavors

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Adam Baffoni grew up on Baffoni’s Poultry Farm in Johnston. From an early age he was immersed in local agriculture, and he carried those values with him throughout his life and onto the menu of his own restaurant, Pastaio.

The West Side eatery will, of course, feature eggs and chicken from Baffoni’s Poultry Farm. The eggs will be used in Adam’s fresh pasta that he’s been obsessed with making over the last few years (“pastaio” means pasta maker in Italian). The chicken will star in his Chicken Milanese entree.

The Johnson & Wales graduate sharpened his culinary skills at a handful of seasonally driven restaurants around town, including The Salted Slate, Broadway Bistro and the now-closed Bodega Malasana. He did a stint as the head chef at Cafe Vino in Johnston; then his father bought a building on the West Side of Providence that would be the future home of Pastaio. It’s taken almost two years, but Adam’s vision, the culmination of all of his influences and passions, has come to life. Pastaio’s seasonal menu features fresh pasta and New England flavors that allow Adam to be constantly creative in the kitchen.

A surprisingly popular item already is his Roasted Baby Carrots tossed in a honey vinaigrette. It’s served with Greek yogurt, dill and almonds. “You wouldn’t expect these on the plate together,” says Adam. “But it comes out amazing.” Then there’s the fresh pasta: gnocchi with tomato sauce and herb oil; pappardelle with pancetta, spring onion pesto and breadcrumbs; and cavatelli with eggplant ragu and Parmesan. “I grew up in a big Italian family,” he says. “It was really natural for me to gravitate towards Italian-inspired flavors.”

Adam’s overall goal is to put something together that the community will love. “We’re trying to bring the best of upscale dining,” he says. “We want amazing food and an amazing wine list in a really casual environment. We want to be a neighborhood staple.”

Pastaio
9 Parade Street