Tamboli’s Pasta Finds a Home 

Miles Tamboli’s new Italian restaurant will open this month in Midtown in the former Fuel Café building.

The new Tamboli's Pasta & Pizza will provide a permanent space for fans of Italian cuisine to enjoy Tamboli's recipes in a cozy, comfortable environment.

click to enlarge Miles Tamboli - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Miles Tamboli

Local farmers and those who frequent farmers markets will already be familiar with Tamboli's pasta; those who haven't yet experienced it will be pleasantly surprised by the pasta's freshness and authenticity.

Miles Tamboli is a lifelong Memphian, but his passion for pasta-making didn't fully take off until he took a trip to Italy years ago to reconnect with his Italian heritage. "I had never met the Italian Tambolis or been to the town where they're from and where some still live, so I went to meet them," he says.

JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks

"I remember eating pasta in Rome and realizing that it can be substantial, can be a real food. It can have its own flavor and its own texture, and it can work together with a sauce to create a pretty balanced, filling meal," Tamboli says. "And I was interested in making it because I didn't know where to find good, fresh pasta at home. So I started making it here."

Tamboli immediately recognized a need (and a market) for fresh pasta here in his hometown. "Initially I was using eggs from the chickens in my backyard — really good, local, farm-fresh eggs," he says. "And when I started making and selling pasta, it sort of dawned on me that pasta is really accessible for a lot of people. It tastes good. You know what it is."

Delicious, freshly made food shouldn't feel intimidating or elusive, he explains. For people interested in good food made well, fresh pasta is a great starting point.

Before becoming an experienced pasta maker, Tamboli worked in restaurants and sold his own produce at nearby farmers markets. Because of that experience, he's always been able to procure fresh ingredients for his recipes through his connections with local farmers. He's also developed a very specific vision for how he wants his restaurant to operate.

"I'd been growing produce because I wanted to feed people and provide opportunities for people to have access to good food, and I also wanted to create job opportunities, specifically for young people, that were in healthy, nurturing environments," he says.

click to enlarge JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks

"I picked up a lot of bad habits working in restaurants, and I've always wanted there to be another option for young people to work in a place that's going to help them build skills and good habits.

"I sort of started experimenting with pop-ups and the [Puck] Food Hall Downtown," he continues. "I hadn't really thought seriously about opening a restaurant until this space became available. That's when it came to me that, yes, I should do this."

The restaurant will have an open kitchen and an affordable, rotating menu that will change seasonally to showcase the freshest locally grown ingredients, with a variety of pasta dishes available year-round and a wood-fired oven for cooking pizza.

A big part of the philosophy behind Tamboli's Pasta & Pizza is to ensure that the menu only features the best and most exciting ingredients available from local sources. "This is a great place to grow produce," he says.

click to enlarge JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks

"There are a lot of local growers who are coming out with really awesome food — even in the depths of winter. So, I can't tell you what all of our options are going to be because it's going to be ever-changing. But I know it'll be completely seasonal and based on not only what's in season, but what ingredients our farmers are most excited about."

While it won't always be easy to predict what will appear on the menu, it's safe to say it'll be fresh — because for Miles Tamboli, it's not just about eating, but eating well.

"When I have a room full of people I'm feeding," he says, "it feels good."

Tamboli's Pasta & Pizza will open this month at 1761 Madison Ave.

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