Back in the day, Saugatuck was a real Italian neighborhood. That meant real Italian stores — and real Italian food.
The neighborhood has changed — several times. But down by the train station, a new store with old-world roots promises to link the Saugatucks of yesterday and today.
Grana Pastificio nestles in a corner of Winfield Street Italian Deli (which earlier this year took over the Cocoa Michelle/Bonjo site).
The name means “small grain pasta factory.” The tiny shop fills a niche left when Villarina’s closed last fall. But it’s much more than a chain store in a shopping mall.
Grana Pastificio fronts the train station. Commuters are its main customers — and, of course, the railroad was built by Italians.
Owners Eni Jimenez and Thomas Tenaglia are brothers. In 1935, their great-grandfather opened a macaroni shop in Stamford. Their grandmother worked there. Starting at age 10, they received a doctorate in pasta from her.
Eni studied to be a physician’s assistant. Thomas went to HVAC school. But they’d always had restaurant jobs, and a year ago they started researching the retail market for pasta.
When they met the Winfield Deli owner, they struck gold.
“We love old world traditions,” Eni says. That’s not idle talk. The brothers hand roll, hand cut and hand knead everything. They do their own cheeses, and mill their own grains. The only machinery is a refrigerator.
In the morning, commuters pick up order sheets. They check their choices — hand cut pappardelle, spaghetti alla Chitarra, fettucine, tagliatelle, garganelli, lasagna sheets. bucatini, rigatoni, lumache, gemelli, macaroni, shells and much more — and can opt for whole wheat, squid ink, red pepper or teff.
There’s also ravioli, cappelletti, tortellini, agnolotti and mezzeluna, stuffed with ricotta, beef, port, shrooms, ruffle Ricotta or burrata — plus cavatelli and gnocchi. Sauces include bolognese, tomato and pesto.
Customers select their pick-up time that evening. (All Eni and Thomas really need is an hour or two.)
The brothers pair their pasta with wines at nearby Saugatuck Grain and Grape. They also recommend cheeses.
Coming soon: imported olive oil, and weekly pasta-making classes.
The idea is for commuters to make fresh pasta at home — easily and quickly. Because it’s so fresh (with no preservatives), the pasta takes just 5 minutes to boil in salted water.
The brothers deliver excess food to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.
“We’re bringing back old-world traditions — and old-style types of pasta,” Eni says. “We take pride in what we do.”
Longtime Saugatuck residents will take pride in Grana Pastificio.
The many Westport newcomers, too.
(For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-557-3855.)