By ANNE KONCKI
Every Wednesday evening, 26-year-old Zach Gerding goes to The Pasta Factory with his friends. What began as a gathering at various bars and restaurants downtown became a tradition at The Pasta Factory two years ago.
But Wednesday, March 2, was their last get-together at this location of The Pasta Factory before it prepares to move out west. It has been downtown for 24 years.
Gerding said he doesn’t like the move. “It’s gonna be hard times for a while…til we find a new spot,” he said humorously.
The restaurant is moving to West Broadway in the Fairview Marketplace, across from Hy-Vee. It is closing officially on Sunday, March 6, and plans to reopen in the last week of March or first week of April, restaurant owner Jenny Dubinski said.
The Pasta Factory’s new location is trying to capture its current feel — brick walls that gave the restaurant character are already up at the West Broadway location, Dubinski said. The booths, stained glass, fans, bar, wine rack and glass partitions will make the journey west as well.
Although The Pasta Factory’s move stemmed from the expiration of its lease, Dubinski said she sees benefits in its new location. She said the new spot on West Broadway will reintroduce the restaurant to a newer area of Columbia.
“We’re hoping to really draw in families, come into a place that’s really casual, relaxed, affordable … people looking to have a good time,” she said.
Although this will be the third location for The Pasta Factory, the restaurant will remain on Broadway as it has since 1976. It resided for 10 years at the northwest corner of the intersection of West Broadway and Stadium, then moved to its downtown location, where it has been since 1986. Dubinski said she likes that the restaurant will stay on Broadway.
Despite the excitement that comes with the move, Dubinski said, “We’ll miss downtown, we’ll miss this building. It’s a neat building.”
Residents of Columbia who live near The Pasta Factory’s new location on West Broadway look forward to its arrival.
“When we heard we were really excited about it,” said Christina Frymire, resident of Rothwell Heights.
Frymire has seven children and said they don’t go out to eat very often, but added that “it’s just nice to have another option” when they do go out.
Dan Adams, also a resident of Rothwell Heights, said he doesn’t like the hustle of traffic downtown and that he will probably go to The Pasta Factory more often now that it will be closer to where he lives.