Sardella’s Brian Moxey will take over as executive chef at Pastaria when its dining room reopens Wednesday
When the COVID-19 pandemic sent a shockwave through the St. Louis dining community in March, Pastaria was one of the first restaurants to decide to close. Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10, the restaurant will reopen its dining room with limited seating (25% capacity, according to the county’s current reopening guidelines) and increased social distancing and sanitation measures. But those won’t be the only changes happening at Gerard Craft’s Clayton restaurant.
Brian Moxey is now the executive chef at Pastaria. Moxey, who was part of Pastaria’s opening team, spent the past two years in charge at Craft’s neighboring restaurant Sardella. Jai Kendall, Pastaria’s previous executive chef, is no longer with the company.
Will there be changes to Pastaria in its next phase? “Yes,” Moxey said.“But while still maintaining the awesome identity that Pastaria has and the level of comfort that it provides for so many people.” He added that he intends to bring over some of the handcrafted pastas from Sardella and will refocus on responsible sourcing and supporting smaller local farms.
“A good way to put it is that it’s going to feel and look and taste like Pastaria, but with a couple menu touches from Sardella as well,” he said. “We’re excited to welcome people back in and have that sense of community again.”
Moxey said the future of Sardella is up in the air. “I don’t think that Sardella as it was known is going to be a thing moving forward, but [Gerard] and I are in some pretty exciting talks about what that could look like and how to utilize that space responsibly.”
Craft pointed out that Sardella and also Taste are going to be temporarily repurposed as overflow dining rooms for Pastaria and Brasserie, their respective neighboring restaurants. When asked about whether the restaurants would reopen when the social distancing orders end, he said, “I think the thing that we’re going to have to weigh is how far away that even is. Right now it’s kind of a wait-and-see.”
Other changes Moxey mentioned for the restaurant were related to heightened safety protocols in response to COVID-19, like no-contact pay options, paperless menus and social distancing plans. “We’re figuring out how to offer what we feel is hospitality and also still offer safety as well. That’s a big thing, from how the food’s presented to wine service,” he said. “We really just want to focus on comfort and people being happy to be back in the dining room with us, because we are so excited to be back in.”
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