The founder is Mirko Di Giacomantonio, who's from Tortoreto, a village on Italy's Adriatic coast, and has worked at various restaurants in Europe and the U.S. The menu is structured with parallel lists of about a dozen kinds of pasta and about a dozen sauces that you mix and match, plus salads, some heartier entrees and Italian desserts made in house, including tiramisu and cannoli.
Mirko Pasta serves beer and has a fairly decent wine list, with an emphasis on Italian vintages. And there's a patio to try out before the cold weather really sets in.
Missy Johnson, president of the group that is bringing the concept to Middle Tennessee, says a second Tennessee location will open in early spring, somewhere in Mt. Juliet, and four more cafes will open in the next two years. Those locations aren’t pinned down, but the team is looking for sites in Hendersonville, Brentwood and Cool Springs.
Mirko Pasta is at 1520 Demonbreun St. (401-5005).
Meanwhile, over in Sylvan Park, another restaurant is in the works next to Stone House Q, which I wrote about last week. Blue Umbrella Fondue is going in at 331 54th Ave. N., a 19th century house under renovation.
Mandy Gencay, who owns Blue Umbrella with her husband Abraham, says it will be a casual-style fondue dining experience. They also plan to serve sandwiches made with fresh ingredients from local vendors, and hope to open in December or January, depending on the progress of construction.