It’s time to prepare for the best carb coma you can imagine. That’s because Egg & Flour, the fast casual pasta restaurant, is officially (re)opening its doors at 2273 S. Howell Ave.
The concept headed up by Chef Adam Pawlak, got off to a great start with its debut at the East Side's Crossroads Collective food hall in May of 2019. But – many thanks to our friend COVID-19 – the restaurant’s much anticipated brick and mortar opening on March 9 in Bay View fell flat when the restaurant was closed just a week later.
Safety at the fore
"It was super difficult," says Pawlak "I was concerned about staff, about my investors. We were also in a new location, so we didn’t have a long-term relationship with our landlord. So it was all really rough. But the unknown… the uncertainty was really the hardest part"
But Pawlak says that closing the restaurant allowed him take the safest route possible for staff and guests.
"No one really knew what laid ahead," he says, "So, we decided to take things month to month, watching the landscape and waiting for everyone to adjust to whatever the new normal would be."
As time wore on, Pawlak says that safety guidelines issued by the city, the establishment of the mask mandate and a number of other factors contributed to his decision to reopen at 33%.
The restaurant looks somewhat different than it did in March, thanks to a more socially distant configuration, complete with vinyl dividers between tables, hand sanitizer for guest’s use and two new patio tables outside to accommodate al fresco dining.
But something that hasn’t changed is the pasta.
Guests will still find the same comfort food filled menu, featuring items like campanelli with pesto ($10), pappardelle with bolognese ($14), shells with cheese sauce, bacon and breadcrumbs ($12), bucatini with cream sauce and Grana Padano cheese ($12) or bucatini with tomato sauce ($11, pictured below with meatballs). Incidentally, guests can also add housemade meatballs to any pasta for just $6.
There are also newer signature pasta dishes including shells with butter, parmesan and truffle oil ($11); bucatini with pesto cream sauce, pistachios and parmesan ($15) and angel hair with tomatoes, parsley, garlic butter and parmesan ($12, pictured below).
Customers can also look forward to indulgences like lobster mac & cheese (Fridays only, $17).
Accompaniments include house salad with mixed greens and creamy parmesan dressing or balsamic vinaigrette ($5/$9); caprese salad with burrata, tomato, pesto and balsamic vinaigrette ($6/$11) and Caesar salad with romaine, croutons, parmesan and Caesar dressing ($5/$9), along with burrata served with a Black Shoe Bakery baguette, nut-free basil pesto and parmesan cheese for $8.
Overall, Pawlak says, he feels confident that they've been able to create a safe restaurant where folks can grab a quick lunch or dinner or order up a fantastic meal to enjoy at home.
"This concept is much more adaptable than some because we're fast casual," says Pawlak, "We’re encouraging carry-out. And for people who choose to dine in, we’ll be providing single use flatware and bowls."
In addition, temperature checks for employees, strategic scheduling and a paired-down cross-trained staff all contribute to the safety and efficiency of restaurant operations.
Beginning Aug. 10, Egg & Flour will be open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Carry-out is encouraged.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.