Less than two years since opening in a primo spot near Prospect Park, Pasta Louise is expanding — and the pasta joint has taken up residence at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 12th Street, the former home of Brooklyn’s beloved Johnny Mack’s Bar and Grill.
As the founders of Pasta Louise outgrew their kitchen space on Eighth Avenue, near Prospect Park, and after Johnny Mack’s owners decided it was time to retire, the pasta slingers looked to the former burger bar a few blocks over as an “ideal” spot to expand both their space and their menu.
As a chapter closed on what many called Brooklyn’s best burger, Allison Arevalo, her partner and team at Pasta Louise saw the opportunity they needed.
Following a small party held for friends and family, the new Pasta Louise opened for late hours dinner service on May 12. Within the hour, the wait to get a table was over 60 minutes long.
“It was awesome to see all of our regulars come out to join us at the opening,” said Arevalo, who noted that, starting Friday, the restaurant has resumed normal hours — 8 am to 10 pm — plus takeout and delivery.
Pasta Louise’s premiere location, given the reduced sitting space, has been transformed into a café with retail products including their pastas and sauces. Outdoor sitting will remain for the time being for costumers to enjoy pastries and coffee.
“We just keep thinking that the city is going to change the regulations around outdoor dining, so we figured that now was the time to do it,” said Arevalo of second opening.
Arevalo started her career as a restaurateur in Oakland, California, with a mac and cheese eatery and a café that have become staples.
“I love that at the café, families are going to go in and just grab something after a baseball game and pick up stuff for dinner,” she said. “But the restaurant was always the dream — to have a corner restaurant in Park Slope. The Brooklyn brownstone is just so beautiful with the lights at night. It’s a really romantic notion.”
Because of it’s proximity to a school and a church, cocktails could not be sold at Pasta Louise’s original spot — but that’s not the case for the new venue, which seats a whopping 70 patrons indoors.
Out of her four businesses, Arevalo said, the new Park Slope spot is the closest to her heart.
“It’s named after my grandmother,” she said. “I have old school pictures of her all over the restaurant from her wedding. She taught me how to cook. I grew up living across the street from her. The recipes here are based off my family recipes.”
Pasta Louise’s new place also features a mural by Brooklyn artist Evan Paul English, and the restaurant will double as a venue for weddings and parties. The floor and wooden bar from Johnny Mack’s will be kept as the neighborhood’s legacy.
An area of the restaurant has also been dubbed the rose room as a reference to the Rose Scholarship, which Pasta Louise awards to Brooklyn students whose parents have died from cancer. This year’s deadline to apply for either a $10,000 or $3,000 scholarship from the restaurant is June 1.