Rebecca Taraborelli, her husband, Matt Taraborelli, and brother, Gregory Harris, will open Rasta Pasta, a full-service casual restaurant, at the corner of Boulder and Tejon streets this fall.
The owners purchased a one-time license for the brand, signage, menu and recipes from Rasta Pasta founder Scott Lias, who owns the only other Rasta Pasta locations in Fort Collins and Breckenridge.
The Breckenridge restaurant is what drew the eye of Colorado Springs’ newest restaurateurs.
“We’re big snowboarders,” Rebecca said. “We’ve been going to Breck every weekend, and we always stop at Rasta Pasta. We got to know the staff and eventually met Scott Lias. We started talking to him about the restaurant and those discussions developed into this deal.”
Matt is an Air Force Reserve pilot. Rebecca is an occupational therapist, and Harris was most recently an AutoCAD technician. The trio so fell in love with Rasta Pasta and with the idea of owning a restaurant that they began searching for a location in the downtown area during November.
“We wanted to be close to the core of downtown, but not right in the middle of club row or near the high-end restaurants and we wanted to be close to Colorado College,” Rebecca said, “so Boulder and Tejon felt perfect for us.”
After the possibilities of prior restaurant locations failed to pan out, the owners experienced resistance from building owners.
“A lot of landlords downtown were very hesitant to allow their retail space to be turned into a restaurant,” Rebecca said. “Then we found Jonathan Kamins. He was one of the few landlords who got excited about the idea. We couldn’t have done it without him.”
Kamins owns the building and renovated it to accommodate companion retailers Junior Bootery, The Cartridge Store and Slapshot Sports.
With the introduction of the 2,530-square-foot Rasta Pasta, Kamins will realize full occupancy in his building in the 400 block of North Tejon Street, but the new tenants come at cost, and the deal represents considerable risk.
Brian Bucher, the architect for the original redesign of the building, was once again called on to conceptually change the space.
“We estimate the total cost of renovation at $224, 000,” Kamins said, adding that the cost would be shared by him and the restaurant owners. “We had to redesign the roof, do things like install a grease trap, and change the heating and air conditioning system on top of opening the space up to give it a Jamaican flair.”
Consumers will be hard pressed to find a place similar to Rasta Pasta. The restaurant serves Caribbean-style pasta dishes in an energetic, casual dining atmosphere. The funky décor is accentuated by Caribbean and reggae music.
“Most of the dinner menu items run in the $10 range,” Taraborelli said. “And the portions are huge.”
Rasta Pasta will be open for lunch and dinner until 9 p.m. on weekdays and midnight or later on weekends. It will include a full bar and the new owners want to occasionally provide live entertainment.
“We certainly won’t be a night club, but there are some great local reggae bands and we would like to provide a venue for them,” Taraborelli said.
Scott Prater covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.