Two young world travelers with entrepreneurial spirit — and know-how — spun the globe and chose your very own Broadway, Capitol Hill Seattle, USA as the perfect launchpad for what they feel is the perfect new concept — the Chipotle of fresh pasta — to join the ranks of food and drink start-up superstars. You should feel good.
“We analyzed different cities,” chef and engineer Filippo Fiori tells CHS. “Nothing really matched Seattle in terms of opportunity.”
And nothing in Seattle matched Capitol Hill for the demographic mix of adventuresome eaters Dueminuti Healthy Pasta hopes to attract when it opens its first restaurant and Broadway flagship in the space left empty by the exit of Samurai Noodle, another casualty of the late summer restaurant die-off.
Fiori is teaming with longtime friend Davide Macchi to build the food and drink start-up. They met as boys in Tuscany and stayed in touch through global travels and adventures in higher education. Fiori tells us he holds a PHD in nuclear science. Macchi was finishing his MBA at MIT this summer. The plan for Dueminuti — two minutes, the time it takes to cook their special pastas — was hatched over lunch in Sydney. A big time masters of business administration-level search later, the partners settled on Seattle as the city to start their quest. The pioneering labor efforts over things like the $15 minimum wage and secure scheduling fit into Dueminuti’s business model, Fiori says. They’re hiring, by the way, with hopes to build a team of around seven once the business fully rolls out after a hoped-for October opening.
When it opens early this fall, Dueminuti will be a fast casual Italian restaurant that is part noodle manufacturing lab. “Like a food manufacturing center,” Fiori said, “very clean, very polished. We will make our pasta and bread in the dining room. There is nothing to hide.”
Nothing to hide but the secret pasta recipe.
Inspired to sort out why friends and loved ones couldn’t enjoy noodles because of gluten intolerance, Fiori said he and Macchi set out to develop a recipe that produce a nutritionally balanced pasta with fewer carbs, more protein, and around 40% less gluten. The result, Fiori says, is a gluten sensitive advancement on the ancient art of the noodle… and a closely guarded secret.
Armed with that recipe and a concept they’re sure will be a hit, Fiori and Macchi enter a street and neighborhood that has not been kind to the “limited-service” restaurant segment and where chain concepts that have done well elsewhere have faded. The restaurant Dueminuti is replacing, Samurai Noodle, is another recent example as the Seattle-area chain couldn’t hold in a space that not that long ago was independent book store Bailey Coy. Samurai did provide a good story or two along the way, though. Meanwhile, an actual Chipotle on Broadway has done just fine.
Fiori says Dueminuti’s start on Broadway isn’t necessarily a make or break situation for the business but it will be close. The duo are pouring most of their available capital into the start.
The strength of Seattle and one of its strongest neighborhoods, they hope, will be on their side. “Seattle is a city that is growing,” Fiori said. “It is interesting, it is growing.”
“We’re a vision company. We do believe that this has to be the prototype and we do want to grow in the Seattle area.”
Dueminuti is located at 412 Broadway E and is planned to open early this fall. You can learn more at dueminutipasta.com.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- Look who you missed at General Porpoise:
- Congratulations to a couple of Capitol Hill food and drink love birds. Neumos/Capitol Hill Block Party/Lost Lake/Ernest Loves Agnes/etc. owner Jason Lajeunesse announced his marriage this month. Meanwhile, Manu’s Bodegita owner Manu Alfau is also celebrating a late summer honeymoon.
- Included in this report on the “The slow and sad death of Seattle’s iconic teriyaki scene” is an anecdote from Broadway that is, well, mostly full of beans:
In 2015, Yasuko Conner closed her namesake teriyaki shop on Broadway after more than twenty years. Long a haven of affordable food alongside the now rapidly gentrifying tracks of the new streetcar, a combination of declining business and rising property taxes — the assessed value of the building increased 129% that year — sounded the death knell for the tiny Yasuko’s. The bare walls (blank except for the haphazardly posted and amended menu) hid the vibrancy of the flavors served. The floors, tables, and chairs were all colorless save for mysterious stains, remnants left behind by the customers, homeless, working-class, and affluent alike, plus a good smattering of Seattle’s high school students, coming together in a place serving simple food at eminently reasonable prices. Teriyaki was the ultimate everyman meal.
But here’s where the narrative goes off the tracks. Conner also owned her building and, in 2011, sold it to developers for a whopping $3,339,000, according to county records. That’s a lot of teriyaki…
- Frank’s Smoked BBQ is the latest to take over the longtime E Cherry space that had been home to the much-loved Barbecue Pit.
- Want to support black-owned restaurants around Capitol Hill? Here’s a map.
- Happy 10 years to Liberty. Meanwhile, Witness turns 3.
- BTW, Witness owner Gregg Holcomb will try to defend his Best Bartender title for the third year in a row at the 2016 GSBA Cocktail Contest.
- Heritage Distilling is opening a Pike/Pine tasting room in the old Meat and Bread space.
- 18th Ave’s Tougo is making the claim that it was the first to bring “the multi roaster platform” to Seattle. You going to argue?
@MB_Arch when will they get it right that Tougo Coffee started the multi roaster platform in 2008? Inaccuracies but oh well. It's cool
— Tougo Coffee (@TougoCoffee) August 24, 2016