Pasta lovers, take heed. Fresh noodles await, seven days a week (9am to 5pm), at the cheery storefront the Midwest Pasta Company debuted in September on Cherokee Street, east of Jefferson.
Choose from wide pappardelle, slender angel hair, spiral ribbed rigatoni, the happy flutes of cresta de gallo, the coxcomb and many more options of shapes and cuts. You can order laminate sheets, too, with a day or two notice, to cut your own noodles, make filled ravioli or layer a lasagna.
Midwest Pasta obligingly carries wooden rolling pin noodle cutters, ravioli stamps and trays and butter paddles for shaping filled pastas. Choose a locally made sauce, a tasty bottle of oil, a block of fine cheese and Italian specialties to complete your pasta dinner.
You’ll find a raft of colors, too, like the soft sage of spinach pasta, the tomato-soup red of roasted red peppers, the light gold of saffron and the darkly purpled squid ink. Warm wheat, lively tans, buttery yellows - the pastas are dizzyingly beautiful. The crew at Midwest seamlessly blends good looks with great quality.
David Burmeister, director of operations, presides over storefront and factory, moving from the front of house to the back of house with equal grace. “I spent 20-plus years filling every job in restaurant kitchens from dishwasher to chef,” he says. “Front of house, I’ve worked busboy to manager. I grew up with restaurants.
“My folks met while they worked in a restaurant. My artist mother recently retired from a lifetime of service at restaurants. She’s always made art, but art doesn’t put food on the table,” he says.
Burmeister, whose holds bachelor’s degrees from Webster University in religion and Asian philosophy and in jazz performance, knows only too well the vagaries of the artistic and philosophical job market. “Restaurant work’s been good to me, but now that I have two children, running a pasta operation gives me more time for my family.”
Nearly 80 restaurants in the greater St. Louis area depend on Midwest Pasta to deliver the freshest pasta possible. “We buy our durum wheat flour, ground for us the day we order it, from Italgrani USA on South Broadway. We use whole fresh eggs, no preservatives and no additives. You can’t get any fresher.”
Midwest makes private label fresh pasta products for every major grocer in the St. Louis area as well. “We’ve upgraded our equipment regularly,” Burmeister says. “Today, we can make 300 pounds of pasta in an hour. When we started, we could turn out 300 pounds in a day.”
Although the pastas aren’t made with preservatives, they are shelf stable for 60 days, refrigerated and unopened. “We changed our packaging machinery,” Burmeister says. “The pasta is sealed with a layer of nitrogen, which doesn’t affect the taste or the quality of the pasta, just the shelf life.” Once opened, cook and eat the pasta within a few days.
Midwest Pasta Company, 2023 Cherokee St., 314.772.7560, facebook.com/pages/Midwest-Pasta-Company