16/04/2008 - 22:00

A fresh take on take-away

16/04/2008 - 22:00


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The words ‘healthy’ and ‘fast-food’ aren’t often used together, but a new breed of entrepreneur is hoping to change that by combining nutrition with made-to-go servings for a hungry market.

A fresh take on take-away

The words ‘healthy’ and ‘fast-food’ aren’t often used together, but a new breed of entrepreneur is hoping to change that by combining nutrition with made-to-go servings for a hungry market.

The launch of the PastaCup store in Melville this month is the newest addition to this niche.

PastaCup is a takeaway pasta store where everything is made on site, from the pasta dough to the sauces.

The business is owned and operated by Siri Solumsmoen, from Norway, and Perth local Stuart Bernstein, with Lenny’s Kitchen director Peter Lenny a silent partner.

“Stuart always dreamed of being the pasta guy and producing it for the masses; he’s always wondered why there wasn’t a pasta chain,” Ms Solumsmoen told Gusto.

“He came up with something where you can mix up the quality of the product with fast food when people were ready to appreciate it...they are more health conscious, think differently and have less time on their hands; it’s a bit of a cliché these days but it’s true.

“Every day we stock up all the pastas we make here with our pasta machine from Italy; there’s nothing that’s not made here on premises.”

Ms Solumsmoen and Mr Bernstein developed and tested their concept during the past two years in their North Perth deli-cum-restaurant, Italy Home Made, which has a cafe attached to it called Poppies.

“Poppies has been carrying the development of PastaCup. From Poppies we opened up Italy Home Made and that became PastaCup,” Ms Solumsmoen says.

The Italy Home Made store was recently rebranded to PastaCup, a couple of weeks after the launch of the Melville store.

Ms Solumsmoen says while PastaCup Melville is the company’s flagship store, the couple hopes to open more in the future under a franchise model.

She says the North Perth store has gained its reputation mainly through word of mouth, with people coming in to have a coffee first and then trying the pastas. The Melville store which, is located on Canning Highway next to a video shop and another takeaway shop, has benefited from a large flow of clientele since day one.

“The customers came falling through the doors because they were already here,” Mrs Solumsmoen says.

Developing the brand, however, has proved the business’s major hurdle .

“Defining who we were and what we wanted to tell to the customers was the hardest part,” she says.

The PastaCup brand, which was developed by The Globe Design + Advertising, has a fun feel to it, from the imagery on the store’s walls down to the description of the different pastas on the menu.

“When you have a cafe and you have a dining restaurant and you do a lot of takeaway...it was bewildering. They [The Globe] put a face on us, and we realised that it was ok to do only takeaway.”

The Melville shop currently sells 200 serves a day, according to Ms Solumsmoen.

“They are mainly young 20s to mid-30s, in the single-no-kids kind of segment, or double income no kids, time-deprived professionals and also a lot of students; there’s also a sub-market of families because you can buy a family tray,” she says.

Customers can choose from about 20 different pastas  and sauces, which are all made fresh before their eyes.

“The difference is how the pasta holds the sauce rather than the actual flavour,” Ms Solumsmoen says.

‘‘It’s very interesting because my favourite is Fusilli and I always have the Halloween sauce, which is a cream-based with chicken and pumpkin...and I just can’t get past it.

‘‘I could try spaghetti but it’s just not the same.”

Customers can choose to combine other ingredients with the pastas, such as schnitzels and parmigiana, garlic cream prawns, lasagne or freshly made salads.

Prices start from $7.95 and the store is open every day from 11am to 9.30pm.


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