Two veteran chefs in the restaurant industry are looking to take things on the run in Charlestown, petitioning the License Board to allow them to open a take-out only pasta, sauce, beer and wine store in the old dry cleaning store at 40 Main St. Matthew Delisle and Peter McGough have teamed up to bring a new concept to Charlestown, and really to Boston, in the store they are proposing for the once-in-a-lifetime location. They have already had a License Board hearing, but are still awaiting a decision – though they are hopeful.
“The idea is to create a fresh pasta shop with the addition of wine and beer,” said McGough. “The concept is to have a one-stop shop where customers can get the ingredients for a meal – the pasta, the sauce and a wine pairing – and take it home to cook. It’s fresh and simple and cheaper than going out to eat and just as good too.” Both said they are really focused on the pasta right now, and plan to have shapes at all times, but would hope to add stuffed pastas on a rotating basis – such as raviolis, gnocchi and tortellini and other specialties.
They would also feature fresh sauces and pestos, or the ingredients to quickly make such a thing. That would be complemented, if they are licensed, by gourmet cheeses and maybe in the future some charcuterie. For now, it’s all about the pasta, and that pasta would be a throwback to the “real” thing, both said. They are sourcing their semolina and other grains from Canada and upstate New York and using Massachusetts-made ingredients wherever possible. Delisle has lived in the building across the street for 15 years, he said, and is very good friends with the Chin family there – who would be the landlords. He said it was a great opportunity to get into the culinary space in Boston, and to seize a great location.
“I think form my point of view, we’ve been long-time culinarians and in the business and now we wanted to act on this location and be in the neighborhood,” he said. “I’ve lived in the building for 15 years now and I now the Chin family very well. I saw the opportunity when the cleaners closed and moved on. I see an opportunity to do something in the neighborhood I love. We see it as a win-win and everything fell into place for it.”
Delisle was the chef de cuisine at the legendary, but now closed, L’espalier in the Back Bay, and hired McGough as a sous chef there. They got along famously, but went their separate ways eventually. Most recently, McGough helped Chef Douglass Williams at MIDA in the South End make that place into a staple restaurant, and said he learned a lot there about pasta and fresh cooking. Delisle also has a long history of fine dining in hotels, such as the Four Seasons in Back Bay and the Mandarin Oriental in the Back Bay. “I think we would like to bring a traditional pasta shop to the neighborhood,” said McGough. “There is no sit down service. I think we’ve moved so far away from the idea of what fresh pasta was. It’s up to us chefs to make sure we get back to that place.” If approved by the License Board, they said they hoped to move very quickly towards an opening. They are represented by Charlestown attorney Scott Holmes