Kevin L. Hoover
JACOBY’S STOREHOUSE – Where once, bow-tied ice cream specialists dispensed cones and sundaes, and more recently accepted Christmas wishes, an artisinal Italian food shop is in the making.
One of two prominent storefronts in Jacoby’s Storehouse, vacant since the departure of Bon Boniere in September, is being reshaped into something deliciously different.
“We are definitely breaking the ice cream DNA,” said Bill Chino, co owner of Jacoby’s Storehouse.
PastaLuego will take take-and-bake to a whole new level, with a richly-stocked Italian market with an on-site pasta-making facility. Basically, you’ll be able to get almost all the makings for a fresh, deluxe Italian dinner. “We make it fresh, you cook it later” is the store’s slogan.
“We were looking for a business that would be a perfect fit for the building,” Chino said. “It started as a meat and cheese shop.”
Then, newly-hired PastaLuego manager Jake Drake made the transformational suggestion that the shop include pasta manufacture.
“The inspiration for PastaLuego came from an extended stay in Rapallo on the northwest coast of Italy,” said Drake, a longtime Humboldter and “Italian at heart.” “And Bill of course!”
“We’ve all been in the old Italian markets,” Drake said. “We’re going to take that concept and bring it forward, update it and give it a new look.”
The front of the store will offer an abbondanza of hearty Italian meal-makings – cheeses, meats, breads, sauces (fresh and jarred), olive oils, polenta, even gelato. “Traditional products with a new flair,” Chino said.
Or maybe you’d rather have a freshly made Italian sandwich, or pick up some Italian cookware. “We’ll be able to sell you your own pasta machine,” Chino said. Even gift baskets will be available.
The back, or south portion of the store is where a variety of fresh pastas will be made – linguini, fettuccine and capellini and even stuffed pastas like ravioli, agnolotti and tortellini. “All the ‘-inis,’” Chino said.
This being Arcata, they’ll be organic and made with fresh, local ingredients and seasonings. Staff will be able to recommend proper pairings of pastas, sauces and cheeses.
What it can’t make, PastaLuego will import and offer in dried form. “There are probably 150 pastas,” Chino said. “We can’t make them all.” These exotic varieties include squid ink and tricolor pastas.
Several machines will roll out and cut the pasta, which will dry on racks with the whole operation visible to Storehouse lobby lingerers.
The spectacle is part of the shop’s marketing. “It will add foot traffic to enhance business for all the other retail tenants,” Chino said.
Synergystically enough, PastaLuego will produce the pasta used in the Abruzzi restaurant downstairs.
The shop’s decor will present a “relatively formal” look, with Italian art and photos. The staff may wear white chef jackets, though no bow ties are planned.
“There’ll be Italian music and a very well-educated staff,” Drake said. “We want you to feel like you had an Italian experience.”
Drake said the store is committed to operating as waste-free as possible, with reusable materials. “We want everything as green as we can get it,” she said.
PastaLuego is set for opening this spring.