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Organic Semolina pasta with marinated grilled chicken, beef meatballs, and fresh herbs.
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Hungry customers are helped by happy workers in paper hats.
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Risotto balls are served in a parchment paper bag with a side of pomodoro sauce.
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Organic farro topped with pumpkin seed and lime pesto.
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The casual, first-come, first-served dining area.
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Tomato sauce cans: utilitarian decoration.
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An interesting touch on the second floor
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Branded bag designed by local artist Adam Koon
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The sleek, unassuming exterior on the corner of Seventh and Washington in downtown St. Louis.
Set to open to the public next Tuesday, Gerard Craft’s Porano Pasta is destined to change the way we dine. It's unlike anything this town has ever seen. Here’s why:
Ease: We’ve all become accustomed to the menus where we pick this, then this, then top it with that, so it’s not the process that’s challenging but rather figuring out what kind of masterpiece you’re going to build. Porano's menu tagline says it best: “Deciding is hard. Ordering is easy.”
Selection: People want things the way they want them—especially when it comes to food. Porano allows the pickiest of people to easily choose whatever they desire…even if it’s a double helping of green olives on top of tofu and pasta topped with creamy anchovy dressing. There's absolutely something (and more) for everyone.
Portion Size: For $7.95 or $8.95, depending on your protein or vegetable, your meal is served neatly in a compostable bowl that’s appropriately filled for lunchtime noshing. It’s a healthy portion for the price, yet it’d be difficult to overeat here. Only if you show restraint will you have leftovers.
Atmosphere: It’s welcoming and bright, big and shiny. It’s far from stark, with illustrations from floor to ceiling, industrial lamps, wooden tables, and color palettes fit for a children’s room. It's nowhere near pretentious, with bar-height window seating, communal tables, two-tops, and a lounge upstairs with TVs and a foosball table. It has the right amount of coziness, but not so much so that you’ll linger after your meal.
Branding: Local marketing agency Atomicdust is responsible for the fluid, cohesive design. It’s well-manicured but playful, polished but not high-brow, thoughtful but seemingly organic. It all fits: the table tents, the to-go bags, engaging website, the posters by local artists...
Location: While downtown's in-and-out eating options have improved over the past couple years (e.g., Sauce on the Side, Yiro Gyro, Snarf’s), Porano's location prominently faces a busy corner of downtown, in a prime setting to attract curious tourists who’ll be sure that it must be a national chain.
Quality: The gourmet food—Brussels sprouts roasted to perfection, packaged brownies topped with sea salt caramel, crispy-on-the-outside and gooey-on-the-inside risotto balls—might be fast, but it's inherently Gerard Craft, meaning it shines in its simplicity but also its depth of flavor. These are elements of his oeuvre that we’ve grown to recognize and expect in St. Louis cuisine.
Mon - Fri: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sat - Sun: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.