I discovered Albano’s pasta shop while visiting Running Vines Winery for a tasting. Distracted by the glorious smells of garlic permeating the air, I curiously stepped next door to check things out (After the writing of this article, Albano’s Pasta Shop moved from it’s Chesterton location. The new address is 22 Washington St., Valparaiso)
Inside, chef and owner Nick Albano was making handmade pasta in preparation for the next night’s opening. He took a few minutes to tell me about himself and his restaurant.
Fresh Local Ingredients
Nick prepares everything from the bread to the cheese and sausage in-house. That’s quite impressive. He also spends 2 days a week selecting fresh ingredients from farms in Michigan, Illinois, and parts of Indiana. Consequently, the Menu, which is about seven items long, changes weekly.
Albano’s specializes in straight-forward, focused, rustic style, Italian cooking. There’s usually no more than 3-4 ingredients in each dish. As a result, the dishes burst with identifiable flavors! “When you’re using the freshest ingredients, you don’t need to do much to it.”-Nick Albano
“I don’t want to put something on the menu with 20 ingredients and goopy sauce dumped over it. It’s about simplicity…..”
— Nick, owner of Albano’s Pasta Shop
Favorite Menu Items From Albano’s Pasta Shop
Everything is amazing at Albano’s Pasta Shop! Trust me, I’ve pretty much eaten the whole menu several times. Must haves are the Bacon Wrapped, Chorizo Stuffed Medjool Dates, Sweet Potato Ravioli, Fusilli, and Parsnip Tortellini. I’ve also tried gluten-free versions of the dishes that I recommended and I could NOT tell the difference. The flavors are very clean with each dish component highlighted and the pasta texture is perfection.
Nick has been cooking since the age of 12 and is extremely knowledgeable about his craft. Also, he’s trained under some of the great chefs of Chicago such as Charlie Trotter and Paul Kahan.
I’m so excited that I stumbled upon this wonderful restaurant. My family, I have become regulars! You seriously need to stop in at Albano’s Pasta Shop. You can thank me later!
Things to keep in mind:
• Albano’s is closed on Sundays and Mondays
• The entire menu can be subbed gluten free (on demand only, call one day ahead)
• They offer carb free pasta