By Christine Graf
When Rose Contadino relocated from Connecticut to Saratoga Springs, she was unable to find a store where she could purchase fresh pasta. As a result, she traveled to Arthur Avenue (Little Italy) in the Bronx twice a month to stock up on the Italian staple.
When explaining her willingness to travel so far in search of fresh pasta, Contadino said food has always been important to her. She grew up eating homemade pasta made by her parents, Italian immigrants who left Italy in search of a better life.
“As a child, pasta and food was pretty much our life,” she said. “Every Sunday was spent making pasta. My mother made everything homemade.”
Two years ago, Contadino decided to pursue what she described as a lifelong interest in cooking and the food industry. She began making fresh pasta in a shared-space commercial kitchen and started selling it at the Saratoga Farmer’s Market. She named her business Mangiamo which means “let’s eat” in Italian.
She is in her second season at the Farmer’s Market and recently opened a small retail store in Grant Plaza at 75 Woodlawn Ave. in Saratoga Springs. Located just one block from Broadway, the building houses several businesses including the Hot Yoga Spot. Parking is available in the municipal lot that is located across the street.
Contadino is now able to prepare all of her pasta products on-site at her new store. She opened the doors to her 450-square-foot store in late January and is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.. On Saturdays, she can be found at the Saratoga Farmer’s Market from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.. Contadino anticipates extending her hours during the summer months.
“I’ve had a good response so far,” she said. “I’ve had people walking by wanting to see what’s going on in here. I’ve also had some of my regular farmer’s market customers pop in. I’ve also had a lot of new interest from people in the area, so it’s been very good. I’m amazed and touched at how much people in this town support small businesses. They are so wonderful and supportive.”
Her products include fresh-cut fettucine, spaghetti, lasagna sheets, pappardelle, and cheese ravioli. Every week, she features a specialty pasta such as spinach or garlic and herb.
“Anything can be cut to order if you want something special,” she said. “I always have pasta sheeted, so as I do at the farmer’s market, I can cut it for customers.”
Contadino makes pasta for Fish at 30 Lake and hopes to service additional restaurants in the future. She has no intention of mass-producing her products.
“I’m not looking to go commercial or have orders online,” she said. “I’m just trying to be a good local business making good products. I’m very old fashioned. I like for people to come in so that I can talk to them and know their names. I have no intention of becoming a big box store.”
Contadino plans to apply her creative talents to her business as it grows. She has a B.A. in fine arts and has worked as a graphic designer, an artist, and a florist.
“I dabble into different businesses—wherever I can be most creative,” she said. “I’m hoping to be very creative with my pasta making. I put my own twist on mom’s recipes.”
By Christine Graf