Rose Contadino’s homemade pasta shop, Mangiamo, located at 75 Woodlawn Ave., has been open for over seven months now.
But only one month of operations — if that — has been “normal” business.
Contadino, a Saratoga Springs resident who frequents the local farmer’s market with her specialty pasta, has seen her product become a hit in the city during her weekly vendor excursions. And as much as she’s now finding that those same customers enjoy buying her product from a physical shop, the pandemic hasn’t made starting a business much easier.
“In order to make the pasta, I needed a commercial kitchen,” Contadino said. “It was difficult with timing. I was trying to find a small space where I could have a couple things, so I could come and go as I please.”
For two years, Contadino had been selling her pasta at the market during various one-day-a-week time slots, and the new store allowed her to sell it outside of any vendor restrictions. After she opened shop at the start of the year, Contadino said, the month of February was great for business. She had high hopes after seeing new customers and felt she was on a “steady wave up.”
“But as soon as March hit, everything went down,” Contadino said. “I tried being open for five days. That wasn’t working. Then I kept four days, three days and then I just ended up being open Saturday for four hours for pickup. It was very difficult because there’s so much uncertainty with all that was going on. And being a specialty food like pasta — when people are in despair — was hard for me. I charged $5 for a half pound knowing that people were in trouble like I was.”
Still, Contadino said many of her farmer’s market customers helped support the business throughout the last several months — and many brought their pasta stories from home with them. These customers love her homemade ravioli, she said, and follow along with her weekly specialty raviolis and classic four-cheese flavor.
As Saratoga Springs begins to open back up and as customers flock for pasta, Contadino says that what separates her from other pasta shops is the way she goes about it: It’s homemade and she brings out her wood-cutting board and pasta machine to the farmer’s market when she’s there.
And the biggest thing is that it’s all her product.
“It’s authentic, Italian, homemade pasta,” Contadino said. “Just like your nana used to make.”