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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Pastissimo: Fresh Italian pasta spot to open right off UWL campus

Pastissimo owners Manuel Marono and Rosalinda Saldana. Photo by Elias Baruch

On the corner of La Crosse St and Lang Dr, not even a five-minute walk from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus, sits La Crosse’s newest Italian restaurant – Pastissimo. The building formerly occupied by Cool Beans Coffee Shop was a highly regarded cafe by UWL students. Manuel Marono and Rosalinda Saldana, owners of Pastissimo, hope to establish a similar connection with UWL and the surrounding community.  

“We were looking for some place near to the college,” said Marono. “This is food for young people, for the college age, for energy, for healthy [people].” 

Pastissimo, pronounced pah-stee-SEE-moh, will offer in-house freshly made pasta, which you can customize with six different sauces. “We will be making everything from scratch right here in the kitchen,” said Saldana.

‘Stella’ Pasta Machine. Photo taken by Isabel Piarulli.

The pasta machine, which Pastissimo calls ‘Stella’, will make six different types of pasta that customers can choose from. Stella sits in a visible spot in the restaurant, where those who stop in can watch their pasta dish being made.

“It’s going to be fast, but at the same time healthy and homemade,” said Saldana. “We are calling it healthy fast food.” 

Because the pasta is fresh, Saldana explained it takes just about nine seconds to be cooked. This quick process is what Saldana thinks will appeal to Pastissimo’s primary clientele: college students. “We know students have busy schedules,” she said.  

Along with the variety of pasta and sauces, meals will be customizable with different types of protein like chicken and shrimp. It is expected that customers will spend between $7 for a small pasta bowl and $9 for a large. Toppings like sun-dried tomatoes, olives, bacon and cheese will come with a small additional cost.

Manuel Marono and Rosalinda Saldana. Photo taken by Isabel Piarulli.

Husband and wife, Marono and Saldana are not new to the La Crosse restaurant scene. They were previous business partners with Mario Villasenor, owner and founder of Senior Villas. Villasenor invited them to be business partners in the Mexican restaurant and bar where they gained a wealth of experience. 

The two restaurants will have minimal overlap as far as their menu options. “One sauce will have a Mexican touch, it will have the poblano pepper – it’s really common in Mexico,” said Saldana.  

The idea for Pastissimo came from Saldana’s son, Sergio Lopez Saldana, while he was traveling in Italy. While he currently resides in Mexico, Saldana also has ownership of Pastissimo and helps with marketing alongside Elias Baruch. 

“It’s a modern and young kind of vibe,” said Baruch on the atmosphere of Pastissimo. Baruch also runs the restaurant’s social media pages; Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. 

The restaurant sits on a small lot with minimal parking, but the drive-through window adds another layer of convenience for customers. Food from Pastissimo will be available on Uber Eats and EatStreet as well as Pastissimo’s own website. When ordering from the website or calling in, the drive-through window will be the easiest way for customers to pick up their food.  

“We need to learn a lot of things because it is a new product, a new process, a new everything,” said Marono. As co-owner, Marono works as the general manager to make sure operations run smoothly and oversees the staff. As of now the Pastissimo team is fully staffed, but in the coming months they may seek more part-time cashiers. 

Saldana heads quality control of the food and has been experimenting with recipes well before the idea of Pastissimo came about. Deserts such as tiramisu and rice pudding can be found on the menu, products of Saldana’s work with the help from European chefs.  

Pastissimo is set to open on Monday,Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. “We are really hoping to see everyone here, from everywhere,” said Saldana.  

Opening hours: Mon – Thurs: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri and Sat: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun: Closed  

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About the Contributor
Isabel Piarulli
Isabel Piarulli, Executive Editor
Year at UWL: Junior PGPs: She/Her/Hers Hometown: Menasha, WI Major: Psychology and Political Science Minor: Communication Studies Other Campus Involvement: Student Association CASSH Senator, University Centers Admin Assistant, Psychology Club, Pre-Law Society member Future Plans after Graduation: Attend law school Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Visiting Pearl Street Books
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  • L

    Lisa MalmoMar 5, 2024 at 5:37 am

    Cant wait to try it!

  • B

    BeckFeb 27, 2024 at 6:47 am

    I keep looking for places that are brave enough to offer gluten friendly options. We also would love to have a favorite restaurant.

  • B

    Boly CamachoFeb 22, 2024 at 8:29 pm

    Congratulations! Looking forward to try the hottest sauce with shrimp.