The Pasta Barra brand is the realization of a two-decade long dream that turned into a business, in part thanks to the pandemic.
Manny Nichas started the pasta meal kit business and private chef’s table a year ago, He did this on a shoestring budget and, a year and much sweat later, is starting to slowly harvest the wages of his effort. The first Pasta Barra restaurant is scheduled to open before the year is over, too.
“I have always wanted to create a specialist pasta and food brand that returns to the traditional rich and delicious flavour and values of real Italian food,” said Nichas.
Pasta Barra meal kits are sold online. And differently to other meal-in-a-box providers, cooking time is relatively short as most of the dishes are partially or fully prepared, on order and fresh. Said Nichas: “When you order a kit, you don’t want the added hassle of opening a million little sachets and still cooking the dish from scratch. It should be restaurant quality food, freshly created, and easily prepped at home.”
The Chef’s Table is Nichas’ piece de resistance. Set in Pasta Barra’s industrial kitchen, it seats a limited number of guests and boasts a rare wines-list, personalised preparation and service by Nichas. It’s a huge success story and tables are booked weeks in advance.
He said: “It forms the foundation of what the Pasta Barra restaurant will be about, too. It’s a narrative of more than just a meal, but an experience. After all, it’s the ingredients, the preparation, the love and the experience that combine to make a meal memorable. And this holds true at home as much as it does when going out.”
Nichas is a restaurant industry legend and under his leadership a well-known seafood franchise became a billion Rand business. He followed up the success at another, fledgling restaurant brand where he overhauled everything from brand through to systems, doubling its size before Covid slowed growth down.
But it was also the pandemic that led him to pursue his own dream. He said: “What the years of Covid taught me was simply that life’s too short to waste, and that reaching for your dreams today is better than hanging around and waiting for tomorrow.”