Justa Pasta Co. was founded in Hood River by a couple of “board heads.” This is the term used to describe anyone whose pulse and blood pressure rise when white caps are seen on the Columbia River, and who must drop whatever it is they are doing to grab a surf board, attach a sail to it and scream across a mighty and beautiful river. Roland Carfagno (now the sole owner of Justa Pasta) was one of those “board heads,” and from his early childhood he’s had a love for pasta –making it (with his grandmother Rose), but mostly eating it!
Justa Pasta moved to Portland in the Spring of 1995. In 1996 the success of their little retail store, prompted Roland to start selling boxed fresh pasta lunches to go. Given the success of this venture, Justa pasta leased the space next door and in February of 1998 they opened their restaurant. What started out as a 40 seat weekday lunch spot, has now expanded into a 65 seat restaurant that serves dinner 7 nights a week and lunch Monday through Friday. In the summer an additional 30 seats are added outside!
While homemade pastas continue to be the main focus, the menu includes many seasonal options (mostly on the special board) such as fresh wild fish, “draper valley” chicken, and seasonal mushrooms. Roland says, “we are always looking to use what this amazing area has to offer in terms of produce, seafood, cheese and wine. Once we have it in our hands, the most important thing is to make it with love.”