COVID-19 has forced the restaurant industry to really get creative: from exciting (and legal) outdoor dining spaces to revamped takeout options, eateries all across the country have stepped up their game to survive in the past 12 months. And more updates are coming. Case in point: Washington, D.C.-based Stellina Pizzeria's new pasta vending machine.
The restaurant's second location is opening in Arlington, Virginia on February 12 and, to mark the occasion, co-owner Antonio Matarazzo has come up with the clever idea to simultaneously debut a custom-made pasta vending machine that can already be found outside the store.
"The pandemic had just hit the East Coast, and we were looking for creative ways to deliver food to our guests," Italian native Matarazzo said to Food & Wine. "We found a company in California that builds custom vending machines for places like gyms that want to sell food items beyond just candy bars and bags of chips. All they needed were the measurements of our packaging, like jars for sauces, boxes for our pasta kits, etc., to build the unit."
The refrigerated machine is stocked with co-owner chef Matteo Venini's family-size pasta kits that include lamb ragu options, pomodoro, cacio e pepe and more. Customers can also purchase charcuterie, jars of homemade sauces, ready-to-eat jars of tiramisu and, of course, fresh pasta. Just in case you need a hand in the kitchen, the built-in LED screen will display cooking instructions that you can snap pictures of while placing your order.
Customers can make use of the machine between 10:30am to 8pm on weekdays and until 9pm on weekends for now. Expect those hours to change once the new restaurant actually opens.
Whether this is the future of dining, we don't know. But one thing's for sure: we're oh-so-very-into this concept.
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