A Pasta of Our Own: Lexington Pasta Bowls Us Over With Quality, Service, Stewardship

Lexington Pasta owners at work

Lexington Pasta owners at work

Lexington Pasta makes a great addition to our community and our tables. Pasta is one of those foods that draws eaters of all ages toward it, and those eaters tend to be grinning.

Lexington Pasta's ways of benefiting our community start with "The Guys" -- owners and co-founders Lesme Romero and Ricardo Gonzales. The Guys believed Lexington deserves its own locally made pasta and had the smarts, experience, and sheer nerve to launch a start up.

Mark Sievers covered the startup for Business Lexington in December, 2009, but I missed that. So I had a grand surprise when I went to the opening day of the 2010 Lexington Farmers Market and found The Guys with customers swarming around them, and yes, grinning in the direction of the small, multi-colored pasta packages.

Having These Guys around is like adding a new kind of music to the local foods lineup. Jazz, maybe. Saxophone jazz. When they saw me with my tiny camera at the Market, one of them pointed out, "We're good looking guys!" Yes, and their chef's whites and bright smiles add an urbane note to the weekend Lexington Farmers Markets, while their appealing, visible North Limestone storefront boosts the promising North of Main food scene.

Lexington Pasta has a great origin story, too, complete with serendipity and entrepreneurial derring-do. The Guys' culinary and business skills have already landed them distinguished restaurant clientele, so I'm looking forward to their settling in for a permanent Bluegrass stay.

Next, the pasta quality, of course. Everyone who has tried any of the types and flavors nearly levitates with the pleasure of the taste and texture. I have watched sizable bowls of just-cooked Lexington Pasta disappear from Cornbread Supper tables into happy mouths before the noodles have even stopped wiggling. (Disclosure: Since I have a gluten sensitivity, I'm reporting on others' palates here. Happily, The Guys are working on gluten free pasta, so I will soon get to try Lexington Pasta for myself.)

Lexington loves Lexington Pasta's varieties. Don't these sound good: Spanish Saffron, Fresh Egg, Portobello, Roasted Red Pepper? There are many more. With flavors built directly into the pasta, most are ready after cooking 1 - 2 minutes in salted boiling water. Drizzle on the olive oil; sprinkle on the Parmesan; eat. This is fast food as it was meant to be.

Lexington Pasta champions locally sourced ingredients. The Guys use organic local eggs for their egg pastas and local produce for many of the pasta types. In fact, using "the freshest ingredients the region has to offer" constitutes the first commitment in Lexington Pasta's mission.

I appreciate the two additional portions of the company's mission as well. I am a quite recent beneficiary of Lexington Pasta's second commitment, which is to offer superior service to customers and equally superb environment for associates and suppliers. As I worked on this post, Lesme responded to some questions I raised, using his cellphone -- not unusual -- but while also serving customers (and, I'm sure, smiling) at the Supersized Central Bank Thursday Night Live event in downtown Lex. That's supersized service and responsiveness.

The third part of Lexington Pasta's mission bears quoting directly:

"To revere our social responsibility by using local produce and environmentally friendly products, minimizing waste of any kind."

We are lucky to have Ricardo and Lesme applying their considerable skills in our region. We are especially lucky that they seem determined to lead by setting a corporate example of service and sustainability.

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The world is coming to visit central Kentucky this year for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. To help our visitors know more about Kentucky's food and food ways, Savoring Kentucky is rolling out 116 Savory Kentucky Bites, one for each of the 100 days before WEG begins, and 16 for the days during WEG, September 25 - October 10. Today's Savory Bite is number 73.