Grassa, Portland's small locally grown pasta shop, is opening a shop abroad in a small town outside of Tokyo, Eater has learned.
Yesterday, we spoke by phone with co-founder Kurt Huffman who confirmed that he and the business' heart and soul, Rick Gencarelli, will open at least one shop on the island—probably in April of 2017. Should it go well, more Japanese Grassas might be popping up in the not-too-distant future.
"Pasta is a big deal in Japan now," Huffman said. "First it was pancakes and then donuts, but now pasta seems to be the new thing."
How exactly did this come about?
Huffman said he and Gencarelli were approached by a visitor from Japan who liked Grassa so much that he initiated negotiations to bring the concept to the island country.
Huffman can't say much about Grassa's international business partner yet, but he could tell us that Grassa's Japanese shop will be chopping and cooking the island's locally sourced vegetables, and that it will partner with a pig farm renown for producing Japan's premiere pork products.