Porano Pasta, From St. Louis' Gerard Craft, To Return at Last

We've been missing the fast-casual concept since it closed in 2018

click to enlarge An array of dishes from Porano Pasta.
Mabel Suen
Porano Pasta was a fast-casual restaurant in downtown St. Louis.
There's a danger in loving a specific restaurant. It's a tough industry, and even the most stalwart location can falter in times of crisis or staff shortages.

Even knowing that, my heart broke a little when Porano Pasta closed in 2018. See, Gerard Craft's downtown St. Louis fast-casual restaurant had become near and dear to me in the 2 1/2 years it existed.

Diners at Porano could choose bowls of pasta or salads from a menu, or they could craft their own Craft-worthy creation from plethora of carbs, vegetables, proteins and other toppings. It was perfect for a picky crew — everyone could get what they wanted, but everything was good quality and tasted of it. Taking my super-health conscious vegetarian brother was great, and it allowed me to make the bowl of my dreams (meatballs on a salad sounds gross but it's great, believe me). 

I'm far from the only St. Louisan who felt that way (even the RFT's Cheryl Baehr said Craft "nailed it" ) but still it wasn't enough. In July 2018, the RFT reported that Porano Pasta was closing and that Craft cited lost convention traffic as one of the major causes of the closure.

I mourned but got over it. Or, at least, I thought I got over it. My reaction yesterday upon seeing an auspicious Tweet from Craft announcing that Porano would return suggests otherwise.

"On my friend Josh Allen’s podcast @bakedinpodcast, I leaked the fact that we were going to reopen Porano," Craft wrote. "The news is true and we are excited to bring Porano back in 2024!"

That news sure took me out of my doom scrolling.

The new concept will open somewhere in Des Peres in March 2024, Sauce Magazine reports.

Craft ends his Tweet by asking if former customers remembered their go-to orders. If you don't, I have two words for you: meatball salad.

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Jessica Rogen

Jessica Rogen is managing editor for the Riverfront Times. Send her your food, arts, film, theater, music and other culture happenings.
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