78 Pasta-bilities gives guests creative opportunities

Cosmo Magliozzi was schooled at Café Roma Ristorante, the Italian eatery owned by his father, Antonio Magliozzi, on Main Street in Mesa. But the son’s dream was to open a create-your-own pasta eatery.

He realized it with Chandler’s Pasta78, which offers seven types of pasta (fettucine, fusilli, parpadelle, rigatoni, spaghetti chitarra, strozzapreti and gluten free) and six sauces (Bolognese, diavola, lobster cream, marinara, pesto and tre fromaggi). There’s a sauce of the month as well. February’s is a vodka cream.

The base is $8.99, and meatballs, sausage or chicken can be added for $1.99. Veggies, a primavera blend of zucchini, yellow squash and broccoli, is $1.50. All pasta bowls are topped with fresh basil and Pasta78’s cheese blend. Kids, 12 and younger, eat free with the purchase of one adult bowl on Thursdays.

“We have three short, three long noodles,” he said. “Eventually, we’re going to add more noodle choices as we go along. The sauces were inspired by my father’s sauces. We have our version of the Alfredo (tre fromaggi). We make our own cheese blend, which is a secret recipe. We have our diavola sauce, which is our devil sauce. It’s a spinoff of my dad’s recipe. He helped me perfect it. It’s got a kick to it with the chiles. It also has chopped green olives, minced garlic and capers.”

The Bolognese, inspired by Magliozzi’s father’s recipe, is Pasta78’s No. 1 sauce.

Salads—caprese ($4.99), Italian tuna ($7.50) or mixed greens ($4.99)—are available with either house vinaigrette or Italian. Desserts include sfogliatelle ($2.99) or torta della nonna ($3.99). The torta della nonna, similar to a slice of pie, has pine nuts, lemon, icing sugar, egg yolks and flour, and comes from Italy. The cannoli, filled in-house, is offered on occasion.

Born in Italy and raised in California after the age of 10, Magliozzi worked with his father since junior high, learning to make pasta and the sauces from scratch. It laid the foundation for one of Magliozzi’s careers. He also works in banking.

Pasta78’s concept is one thing that wasn’t totally inspired by his dad. The idea came from Fettuccine Freeway, a tiny restaurant with a walk-up window on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

“That’s where Sylvester Stallone actually used to get his pasta,” Magliozzi  said. “And then he closed down and then Sylvester Stallone started going to my dad’s place—one of his restaurants—in Beverly Hills.”

Magliozzi, who recently penned a philosophy book, makes his own noodles at Pasta78 with a machine from Italy. When the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Magliozzi will have a condiment center with spices.

Soon, he’ll share some of his recipes with the public as he’s writing a cookbook.

“It’s going to have traditional recipes of my hometown,” he  said. “They’re not going to be only pasta dishes and things that we normally make here. It’s going to be fun.” 

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