PP recipes

PP employees


Photo: Bill Owens 1980

During 1980, one newly-wed, but jaded architect, having had the opportunity to work in Rome and Venice, admiring the beautiful alimentari there, fell in love with a vacant space in the Charles Street Garage, on Beacon Hill, and decided to fulfill one of those design professional dreams--to go into the food business.

This photo from 1980 presents the unlikely cast of supportive characters on opening day. From left to right: sister, Carla; the jaded architect; the culinarily-gifted Dawne Wisner; John Brady, age 11, surely now the father of Tom Brady; Maria Ruggieri, the token Italian, and a fantastic pizza maker; Jay Arcand, the ever-affable business associate; and Brenda Wilkinson, spouse of the jaded architect.

Pasta Pronto of Beacon Hill set a daring standard in 1980 Boston, by being the first Italian food store outside the North End; and yet three suppliers, all still in business 40 years later, were essential to the success of Pasta Pronto: the Salumeria Italiana, Parziale Bakery and Sulmona Meat Market.

Pasta Pronto accomplished another surprising feat: over a million servings prepared without a kitchen.

Photo: Richard Bosch 1980

What prompted this 2020 resurrection of Pasta Pronto? We've noticed all too many restaurants and food businesses also using this rather poetic, but grammatically incorrect, business name, a tradename which, alas, we did not secure back then. But, none of these businesses capture the spirit of the original Pasta Pronto: Restaurant? Pasta shop? Grocery store? Espresso bar? Neighborhood hangout? All of the above and none of the above--Alice's Restaurant meets The Groucho Marx Show.

Freshly-made pasta was the theme and inspiration, after reading Portrait of Pasta by Anna del Conte, but it grew quickly into a full-menu operation, with dozens of unsusal pasta sauces, prepared meals, imported Italian specialties, and some of the best pastries in Boston, to this day.

Richard had accumulated authentic recipes from a "secret source." Dawne had expanded her culinary gift at The Modern Gourmet cooking school, with Madeleine Kamman. From that combination, Pasta Pronto was written up dozens of times and won several "Best of Boston" awards. One of its devoted customers, food writer Corby Kummer, was even inspired to research further and write the cover article of the July 1986, The Atlantic, devoted entirely to...you guessed it...pasta.

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