Italian Food Company Opens 2 New Restaurants in California

Italian pasta company Barilla is expanding its restaurant chain to Southern California. Although better known for its dried pasta available at most grocery chains, the firm began opening a new chain of restaurants in 2013. The flagship restaurant debuted in New York City's Midtown. Since then, Barilla has added two more New York locations to their portfolio; one is near Bryant Park, and the second location is near Herald Square.

On November 6, 2017, Barilla opened their first restaurant on the West Coast in the South Coast Plaza shopping mall in Costa Mesa. The restaurant measures 2,600 square feet and is located on the mall's first level next to Tsujita Artisan Noodle. Barilla's second Californian effort is scheduled to open on November 18. Situated in the newly renovated USC Village development in South Los Angeles, the restaurant is part of an effort to draw 800 new jobs to the area. The $700 million development now houses the company's new 1,800-square-foot restaurant. Locals got a preview of the location's Italian menu during an open house in August.

Claudio Colzani, the CEO of Barilla, states that the portions at Barilla are designed to be healthier and cater to customers who prefer to eat natural foods. Typical pasta portions weigh about 7 ounces, but the Italian chain has kept their pasta under 3 ounces for each dish. The restaurants also offer organic, vegan and vegetarian options. Dishes are available in whole grain and gluten-free versions. The menu concentrates on traditional pasta dishes like tortellini, penne, linguine, lasagna and spaghetti. In addition to typical pizza, sandwich and salad offerings, the restaurants also serve homemade Italian cakes for dessert. The chain's dishes are made from scratch with fresh vegetables. Barilla restaurants try to use local ingredients whenever possible. Diners are able to select their food choices with a tablet or follow the traditional method and go to the counter to order.