M.O. Pasta brings authentic hand-made pasta to the village

5 Apr

I. Love. Pasta.

There’s no two ways about it. If I had my druthers, I’d eat some kind of pasta every day for lunch AND dinner. So when I walked by the former Savage Chef shop on Main Street the other day and noticed a sign in the window announcing that something called M.O. Pasta was “coming soon,” it stopped me in my tracks.

I had a chance to find out more on Wednesday when I met owner and professional chef Mike Oldfield.

M.O. Pasta has moved into half of the former Savage Chef meal prep and delivery service at 5 East Main St. It’s not a sit-down restaurant; that’s not in the cards (at least not yet). Instead, it’s a dedicated pasta shop, specializing in authentic Italian, handcrafted fresh pastas (including mushroom bucatini, lumache, mafaldine, creste di gallo) and small batch sauces, sold individually or as pasta kits and take-and-bake kits. They all feature fresh ingredients, local produce, and lots of attention to detail.

The shop willl also sell several dry pasta varieties (black pepper fusilli, spicy radiatore, spinach campanelle, mezze mafalde), five different sauces and fresh focaccia and sesame Italian loaf breads.

Mike Oldfield’s passion as a professional chef and journey to pasta shop owner had many stops and turns along the way. But his initial inspiration came from an unusual place, the Penfield Wegmans. He worked there as a dishwasher in high school, and during slow times, the store’s chef would allow him to help with some simple cooking jobs.

“The chef would bring me out and teach me how to cut croutons, chop carrots, simple things,” Mike said. “He kind of took me under his wing. For me it just clicked. It was easy, it was fun, I felt comfortable, it was interesting to me, and I think that was the exact moment it just went off.”

That experience led Mike to pursue a degree at the Culinary Institute of America. As part of his studies, he traveled to Italy on a food and wine tour. “That’s when I started to fall in love with Italian cooking, really loving the culture, the lifestyle and the food itself,” he said.

After graduation, Mike worked seasonal positions on Cape Cod, coming back to Penfield during the off-season to work at the Village Bakery in Fairport, and Black & Blue and JoJo Bistro in Pittsford.

Before long, however, he discovered he needed more of a challenge, and found an opportunity in Chicago. For nine years he worked his way up the chef ladder from cook to executive sous chef in Michelin Star and five-star Chicago restaurants. Then the pandemic hit and everything closed down. With no job to support himself, he moved back home to Penfield to wait out the pandemic.

After a few months, he got bored again and started making pasta, preparing two-serving pasta “kits” for family and friends complete with fresh pasta, and all the garnishes and sauce. They became so popular, “next thing I knew I had a line out of my house, people picking up pasta kits.”

As the pandemic started to wind down, the restaurants came calling. But the salaries were low, everyone was short-staffed, and “I didn’t really want to go back to that stressful life if I didn’t have to,” Mike said. Instead, he decided to lean into his new, surprisingly popular pasta-making business, and in July 2021 moved into a space in the Hungerford Building on East Main St. in the city.

The business continued to grow. Mike became a regular at the Fairport Farmers Market and sold out of his pastas, condiments, oils and sauces every week. Red Bird Market and Lori’s Natural Foods started stocking his products. But his office space in the Hungerford was kind of crimping his growth.

“I was in the city, my clients are all in the suburbs,” he explained. “It was kind of a pain for them to come downtown.” His space was also way down at the end of a hallway, so it was hard to find, and he had to share it with other businesses. So when someone told him the Savage Chef storefront was becoming available, he jumped on the opportunity.

It took a few months, but with help from an army of friends and family members, the entire shop got scrubbed, repainted, repaneled and drywalled, new equipment got moved in and new shelving installed. Everything is in place for the Grand Opening Celebration on Friday, April 7, when Milke will begin to provide Webster with something not found anywhere else in Rochester: fresh, hand-made pasta.

For anyone who hasn’t cooked up a batch of fresh pasta before, it’s a game-changer. “Once they have it,” Mike noted, “they’re hooked.”

Mike’s only just opened his new place, but he’s already got some great plans for the future, including offering public and private pasta classes and adding products like homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. He’s also looking forward to participating in Village of Webster events.

“I think M.O. Pasta is going to be a great neighborhood spot,” Mike said.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Check out M.O. Pasta for yourself during the Grand Opening Celebration on Friday April 7. The doors will be open from noon to 7 p.m., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit the M.O. Pasta website, Facebook page, or connect with Mike on Instagram.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Instagram.

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(posted 4/5/2023)

2 Responses to “M.O. Pasta brings authentic hand-made pasta to the village”

  1. Linda Kremer April 6, 2023 at 1:47 pm #

    Welcome to Webster! Can’t wait to try everything!

  2. Geralyn A Sears April 6, 2023 at 10:17 pm #

    Wonderful story! So happy you are in Webster. Best wishes Mike!!!
    Geri Sears, Webster

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