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Pasta For Days

Il Pastaio Has Been Carbing up Boulder for 23 Years

Article by Allyson Reedy

Photography by Poppy & Co. by Kelsey Huffer

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Things that debuted in the year 2000: The original X-Men movie. George W. Bush’s presidency. The Marshall Mathers LP. And Il Pastaio, the strip mall Italian restaurant serving one of the most reliably great meals in town.

Giuseppe and Marta Oreamuno run the tiny restaurant with the help of their children, Mariano and Ahagata. Giuseppe does the cooking, with help from Ahagata, using recipes and techniques learned from his Pisa, Italy-based family. Marta, who’s Costa Rican, takes care of the business of owning a restaurant, occasionally cooking up Latin specials from her own homeland. Mariano mans the dining room, running plates of mushroom-stuffed ravioli, pollo parmigiana and linguini in pesto sauce the short distance from the kitchen to the high-top tables.

The most impressive part of Il Pastaio—well, besides the 50 pounds of fresh pasta they roll and cut each day—is that they haven’t just survived twenty-three years in the restaurant industry, but that they do it while closed on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s like if the X-Men movie execs said “Nah, we’re not going to do any weekend showings,” or Eminem sold 8-tracks only. (We’ll leave George W. out of our analogy, but we’re sure he’d love Il Pastaio’s spaghetti and meatballs.)

So yeah, if you want your carby fill of fusilli, rigatoni and pappardelle, you’d better get there Monday through Friday, and you’d better get there early. Tables fill up most nights, because seemingly everyone in Boulder and beyond has that favorite Il Pastaio dish they crave when nights are cold, the day was long or that they just need to eat on a Wednesday night with their favorite capellini companion.

Mine is the fettuccine in aurora sauce—long, noodly ribbons, pink and glistening with the soft, velvety tang of the tomato cream sauce. For other people I know it’s the fiery, chile-flecked arrabbiata sauce over Italian sausage-stuffed ravioli, and the crisp, pounded chicken parm (which comes with its own side of pasta and sauce, so you don’t have to feel any carb envy).

If you can’t snag a table, Il Pastaio has great to-go offerings, where you can buy quarts of sauce and pounds of the pasta to take home. Heck, even if you can snag a table, you’ll probably want to take more home for tomorrow.

Pasta’s roots are thousands of years old, which is sometimes how distant the year 2000 feels. Other times it feels like it was just a few seasons back. But Il Pastaio makes life’s blur and eternity more delicious, and we’re so happy it popped up in that strip mall 23 years ago.  

3075 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-447-9572;