With six Pastini Pastaria restaurants serving up Italian fare from scratch in the Portland area (and eight statewide), co-owner Susan Bashel still remains very fond of the first Pastini, located in the Irvington neighborhood at 1426 NE Broadway.
"Our Broadway Pastini continues to be one of our most successful restaurants, and the one closest to our hearts," Susan Bashel says. "It has a lot of charm, and is certainly in the tradition of a tiny neighborhood trattoria."
Opened in 2001 with husband and chef Craig Bashel as well as partners Kara and George Hale, Pastini celebrated its 11th anniversary of the original Broadway eatery this past October. The high ceilings of Broadway trattoria welcome you in to survey the black-and-white photographs of Italia antica—from the fruit vendors and street cafes of Rome to an entire family perched upon a Vespa—or the framed postcards of the Duomo in Florence and drawings of various pasta shapes.
And looking forward, Pastini's owners are convinced that those ten years of success and growth were built on community and family as much as sustainability and supporting local businesses like farmers, bakers and coffee roasters.
"We use local ingredients whenever we can, and we love the idea of supporting other local businesses and helping to reduce our footprint by using products that originate nearby," Susan Bashel says. "These include local produce in season from Calcagno Farms in Aurora and Cal Farms in Oregon City, both certified by the Food Alliance. We use Yamhill County Mushrooms exclusively; beef from Fulton Provisions (Oregon Country Beef); sausages made by Zenner's Sausage Company from Carlton Farms pork; our bread comes from the wonderful Pearl Bakery; and our coffees from the awesome Portland Roasting Coffee."
1426 NE Broadway
Freshness and affordability go hand in hand at Pastini. As the partners planned the Broadway restaurant in 2001, Susan Bashel says, "We loved the idea of a casual Italian pasta place that was affordable, but where we would make all the dishes from scratch. So, all our pastas, sauces, dressings, pestos, soups, and desserts are made in the restaurants. We use fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil, fresh vegetables and meats, and use local products whenever we can."
In an effort to be green beyond sourcing local ingredients, Pastini works to reduce waste by choosing take-out containers that are compostable (including cold food boxes, utensils, drink cups, and plates).
"We also use a hot food container made from 40 percent less plastic," Susan Bashel says. "We have instituted composting at two locations and plan to compost at all locations as soon as our trash haulers or landlords can provide the appropriate facilities. Composting in restaurants can reduce trash volume by as much as 75 percent."
It's been the Broadway community (followed by Northwest, Division and so on) that have enabled Pastini's expansion over the last decade, which now includes a staff of about 280 Oregonians.
"Pastini took off right away, with lines out the door and a wait every night, and folks getting Pastini to go," Susan Bashel says of the Broadway location. "We’ve never looked back from that time."
To say thank you, Pastini has always "had a particular interest in supporting our neighborhood schools," Susan Bashel says. "[We] have been a major sponsor of the Irvington School Spaghetti Dinner, by providing pasta and sauce, since we opened on Broadway. For the last two years, we have had a program called Pasta-thon, where we partner with local schools, and sometimes nonprofits, to raise money for them with two day events."
Plus, Pastini is sensitive to a family's budget and stays "away from serving more expensive products" while maintaining a variety of choices including vegetarian options and "some fancier dishes like an asparagus salad with arugula and seafood cannelloni, but we’re still keeping the menu to under $13," Susan Bashel insists.
With ongoing promotions like Ten for $7.50 Lunch Specials, Pastini continues to fuel Broadway and Oregon families with fresh, local Italian cuisine. Buon appetito!