A local Italian restaurant wants to give its customers the chance to whip up its pasta dishes at home.
Restaurant Olivia, which opened in January 2020 at 290 S. Downing St. in Wash Park, is preparing to expand into the adjacent 1,000-square-foot space at 284 S. Downing St., previously home to an Aveda hair salon.
Co-owner and beverage director Austin Carson told BusinessDen that the restaurant wants to expand its dining space and is also planning to use a third of the space to open a pasta shop during the day.
“We were in Italy last year and saw a lot of pasta shops, which is sort of where the idea came from,” Carson said. “We also needed a space to increase pasta production, but at night we will add additional seating for the restaurant.”
The pasta shop, which is tentatively named P.S. Olivia, will sell handmade filled and extruded pastas, sauces, pasta tools, the restaurant’s proprietary blend of flour and bottles of wine. Carson and his co-owners, Heather Morrison and executive chef Ty Leon, plan to open it in the fall.
Restaurant Olivia, which has around 25 seats now in its 1,388-square-foot space, will double its seating capacity with the new expansion.
“We were originally looking for another space before our landlord presented us with this opportunity,” Carson said. “We’re really fortunate that demand is exceeding supply right now, and we needed to increase pasta production. So, to have it in the same building made more sense than coordinating between two different restaurant entities.”
Carson and his co-owners bought Café Marmotte, the French bistro that previously operated out at 290 S. Downing St. in 2019. They ran that for four months before opening Restaurant Olivia.
They also opened Bistro Georgette in 2018 in LoHi’s Avanti F&B food hall. They’re closing in October after a short-term lease. But Carson said the group hopes to open a new brick-and-mortar concept outside of Restaurant Olivia and Bistro Georgette in the near future.
“Ty, Heather and I talk all the time about what we want our restaurant group to look like,” Carson said. “We want to continue to grow. I don’t know that we’ll ever be huge, but we want to grow to a point that we want to leverage buying opportunities based on volume and make sure our talented employees have the opportunities to move up. We’re not driving away from our restaurants in Maseratis, like some people assume of restaurateurs, so a little more revenue wouldn’t hurt.”