Your First Look at the Now Open Hello Pasta

Hello Pasta counter

The day has come! The first (of many) Hello Pastas opened on Lexington btw. 54+55th this morning. As they promised, it’s kinda like the Chipotle of pasta, with a similar set-up to make for maximum ordering efficiency. You queue up, pick your pasta (choice between farfalle, conchiglie, fusilli, whole wheat fusilli, or gluten free penne), sauce, size (14 oz. “Handy” vs. 19 oz. “Handful”), and you’re out! The checkout counter also reminds me of the sweets section at every Pret A Manger counter stacked with last minute temptations in case hot pasta on a sweltering city day brings you down. For those hesitant to commit, don’t forget there’s an 8coupons deal for TOMORROW that gets you any pasta with any sauce for just 88 cents! Easy to hate aspiring empire-builders, but even 88 cent lunches are hard to resist. For those who can’t fathom eating steaming fusilli bolognese in this weather (like I am right now), they offer cold pasta salads and regular green salads too.

Check out our first taste, and the menu, after the jump…

Hello Pasta fusilli bolognese

It’s just their first day – and I was their third customer – so it’s too early to review officially. I think the price for a Chinese takeout container of fusilli bolognese was reasonable ($7.95) considering it’s in Midtown East. Nowhere else around here can you get made-to-order pasta unless you get it from a restaurant, which would be more expensive! And while it’s no Babbo, the pasta sure as hell beats anything I’ve ever made. Plus, they’ve got 11 different sauces to choose from for those who want to go nuts and switch things up.

Hello Pasta menu

We’ll be back tomorrow for 88 cent day. Hope to see you there!

Hello Pasta 649 Lexington btw. 54+55th, 212-557-2782


  • he’s raping her with his eyes!

  • the “chipotle of pastas?” I’ll pass…this looks horrible.

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    I have no idea if this place is any good, or if it will be successful, but I have to say that it is a sound business idea. It’s surprising that a Hello Pasta-like restaurant chain doesn’t already exist. Lots of people eat thrown-together pasta in workplace cafeterias and generic mega-delis. If you can beat these places on quality (which shouldn’t be hard), success should be easy.

    Or to put it another way: This is a far more sensible empire-building plan than pizza shaped like cones, or burgers with holes cut out of them.

    • Lots of generic delis like Oxford Cafe and Cafe Metro offer this kind of “custom pasta” setup. Hell, even the new D’Napoli’s pizza joint on 3rd & 54/55 does it.

  • you’re right, cafeteria like pasta..only places that use farfalle, conchiglie and fusilli.

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    there are pizzerias that will do this, and they are pretty good in appearance and taste. i haven’t tried this place yet but the picture does’t really make a case for me to be interested

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    A “handy” for only $6.95? Yes, please. happy pasta ending.

  • that pasta looks kinda gummy and mushy. Did they overcook it?

    The pasta at Babbo isn’t that great as well.

  • so its like Cafe Metro’s pasta bar that they have offered for YEARS?

  • ew, that pasta bar at metro is god awful looking. i wouldnt dare.
    the pasta here looks dry….

  • i still wanna know what you thought of the taste….if its too early too review officially, why review at all?

  • “the pasta sure as hell beats anything I’ve ever made”

    I’m not sure how to interpret that.. it shouldn’t be hard to make better pasta than a takeout chain. Unless you’re opening a jar for the sauce.

    • Masto, I think you are forgetting who wrote this post. It’s Amy who’s self professed culinary inability in the kitchen, doesn’t stop her from blogging about her eating adventures.

      “Cao 26, admits on her blog that she cannot cook even though her job is to dine and review restaurants across New York City.” (

      BTW- I hate it when people claim to make sauce when they are just spicing up Prego.

      • dunno, just seems to me that one should know something about the fundamentals and technical aspects that go into cooking before you opine on them (especially if you’re being paid).

        Understanding the technique and history that goes into cooking food really heightens the appreciation and enjoyment of it.

        For example, by understanding Carême and Escoffier’s philosophy on sauces, and cooking them yourself, helps you distinguish a well made sauce gribiche versus a rubbish one, or distinguish house made mayonnaise vs stuff sourced from Sysco – all of this important for someone in food writing.

        O well, fuck it, carrion please.

      • /end rant
        i blame the shpiel on the heat. I’m schvitzing like crazy!

      • Did you forget to switch out your otter pops?

        I somewhat agree with your point though. One should be somewhat versed in the skills of a subject matter that they cover. You don’t have to be the leading expert, but get the basics down.

      • this whole thing makes we want to make macaroni…real macaroni

      • i’m going to sous vide a can of Spaghetti-O’s when I get home.

      • And you’re gonna BAM! some Kraft 100% Grated “Green Bottle” Parmesan on top and blow torch that baby to 1. create a crunchy crust, and 2. kill off any botulinum bacteria, right?

      • Chris, it’s a person’s personal “I’m not paid to write this” / “I’ve decided to post my stream of consciousness, read or avoid at your discretion” blog. If the person were paid by a magazine to “opine” then sure, one should be educated in the subject. Who here doesn’t have opinions they’ve voiced about a subject they weren’t educated about (here’s a softball for chucky…)

        It’s her blog and she can dine if she wants to, opine if she wants to, whine if she wants to :)

      • @adam – of course they can. They just won’t be taken seriously. :)

  • Ugh. “whose” instead of “who’s”. I got distracted because I got a bad bag of tea which taste like spoiled poon.

  • If the lady in that photo were my wife, the jerk with the cap would be in deep shit.

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    Colleague and I tried it today…Haaaaadid it!

  • And you’re gonna BAM! some Kraft 100% Grated “Green Bottle” Parmesan on top and blow torch that baby to 1. create a crunchy crust, and 2. kill off any botulinum bacteria, right?

  • so do we get a real review today?

  • I think this place will show why Fast Food Pasta is not feasible. I was there yesterday after 1. They weren’t very busy at the time. I ordered the Conchigue Carbonara. They serve it in a Chinese food container. The container was 75% full. That’s not the biggest deal, but it doesn’t look great.

    The pasta and sauce were both OK. The bacon in the carbonara was bit sized. It would be better if the bacon was slightly bigger. The sauce was thick (which might be OK). I’m also suspicious how they got so much bacon flavor in the sauce. Regular carbonara eaters will be able to tell us if it’s too much.

    I think there are some significant problems a fast food pasta place has to overcome.

    One of them is speed. It took around 10 minutes for me to get my food and they weren’t busy. They have to find a way to crank it out faster. It seemed like they were making everything per order. It would be better to have pasta and sauce ready, but they might lose something in freshness.

    Their menu is a little odd. They’ve got sauces with salmon, chicken, sausage, etc. mixed in with the rest of the sauces. It makes them hard to differentiate from more traditional “sauces.”

    They are missing a couple of sauces. No Fra Diavolo and no Alfredo. I know Alfredo is a pain to deal with and I know they have “Carbonara.”

    They have no long strand pastas. It’s all shells, bowties, etc. They should have a “fresh pasta” option if pasta is their only business, but long strand is tougher to deal with than bowties.

    I’d be curious to try their meat sauces (salmon, chicken, sausage). Do you get a substantial bite of meat or is it ground to bits like the bacon.

    We’ll see if this place makes it. They picked a business that isn’t common. I think it’s uncommon for a reason. They should add a good mac and cheese. Who doesn’t love that? :)

  • I love that girl’s dress in the foreground!

  • That bag doesn’t go w/ that outfit, lol

  • I finally tried Hello Pasta today. “Chipotle of Pasta” is a little bit off. Let’s just say it’s more like the Kolache Mama of Pasta. I’ll leave it at that.

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