in partnership
Photo Coutesy: G.H Pasta Co.

New fast-casual pasta spot from Brian Clevenger is an absolute hit

On the border of Belltown and South Lake Union there are dozens of lunch spots, but if you're looking for fresh, handmade food, following the crowds to G.H Pasta Co.

"It's not super expensive but the food is really great. I work just down the street too, so it's pretty convenient," one diner told me.

"It's nice that you can actually see them making the food right in front of you. It makes your mouth water," added another.

Chef and owner Brian Clevenger is the man behind a slew of celebrated Seattle restaurants like Vendemmia, Le Messe and Raccolto. He's bringing that same commitment to quality to his first fast-casual establishment.

"Our food is so simple that if it's not prepped everyday with proper technique and methodology, including the pasta, it's just not very good," said Clevenger. "We don't put a lot of garlic or spice in there that take away from the flavor of the pasta. We put stuff with it to really bring the flavor of the pasta forward, and the start of that is fresh. It has to be done every day."

That's right, all the pasta, along with just about everything else at the restaurant is made fresh, in-house. GH Pasta Co. is open from 11 am - 4 pm, catering to the lunch crowd, and they go through A LOT of pasta.

"We do one full amount in the morning and then [make another full batch] around 1:30 p.m. You can see we go through a lot," explained Clevenger as he showed me sheet pans loaded with fussili, bucatini, gemelli and spaghetti.

Clevenger estimates during a recent lunch rush the restaurant turned out 120-130 orders of pasta in just two hours.

The hungry diner is drawn to both the quality of the meal and the value. Everything on the menu costs nine bucks or less, is served in compostable bowls for easy takeaway, and is cooked to order. For Clevenger and his team, the goal is to get customers their food, piping hot in seven minutes. For those who think chowing down on a bowl of pasta will induce a food coma, think again.

"We don't add a lot of bad fat. It's not full of butter. It's not full of cheese. It's not full of things that will make you feel heavy. It's really fresh and light, and it keeps you energized and motivated to go back to work," said Clevenger.

The menu is constantly evolving based on what's in-season and what guests like, but there's one pasta that isn't going anywhere.

"Our most popular dish, by far, is our gemelli with braised pork, root vegetables, a little bit of chili flake and Parmesan."

It really is the perfect lunch. To see how Clevenger makes his gemelli check out the video above, then make plans to pay a visit to G.H Pasta Co.