Who doesn't enjoy some carbs after a long day of classes? Conveniently located on the Corner, Pronto! is making it a mission to serve students and locals house-made pasta on the go. With its reasonable prices, Pronto! is not only a fast option for Italian food, but an affordable one. Doors opened Jan. 21, so the idea behind trying some fresh pasta to-go had me excited to try out the Corner's newest Italian restaurant.
The exterior of this new Italian restaurant might appear familiar to many in Charlottesville — this is because Pronto! is located in the building that was formerly home to Revolutionary Soup. The first thing I noticed upon arriving was the chalkboard on the sidewalk, announcing that it is now open. In the window, there is a yellow neon sign that screams, "Eat Fresh Pasta Here."
The interior is quite modern, with bright yellow walls, bright colors and loud pop music that make for a fun vibe. Although the inside still feels somewhat empty, there is plenty of seating and two large pasta makers on display behind glass. When I arrived for lunch Monday around 11 a.m. — right after it opened — there were already a few people sitting at tables waiting for their orders.
Inside there are plenty of reminders that Pronto! has just opened. Seated in a small corner table, a photographer for a local newspaper snapped several pictures of his food. Employees rushed around, unsure of what to do in the kitchen — this is understandable since it has just opened.
With the menu posted on a screen above the counter, the ordering process is easy. Simply choose your pasta, the sauce and add any toppings you would like. Of course, as its name suggests, the food arrived within just a few minutes.
Located on the Corner, Pronto! is easily accessible to most students on foot. However, if you find yourself making the drive, there is street parking and a garage directly beside the building where you can pay to park. Depending on the day, parking on the Corner can be challenging — it is likely more convenient to walk or bike. Besides, getting some exercise in before carb-loading is never a bad idea. I opted to walk there for lunch after my class, and it was only a few short minutes from Grounds. Since it is located along the sidewalks on 14th St., Pronto! is also wheelchair accessible.
One downside to Pronto! is that the hours are not very consistent yet. I struggled to find its hours online, and what I eventually found on its Facebook page was incorrect. Make sure you stick to the hours that are posted on the door — 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. Unfortunately, it is closed Sunday.
Besides the fresh pasta, one of the most appealing things about Pronto! is the prices. For under $10, you can enjoy quality, house-made pasta. For on-the-go pasta, this seems affordable. It has a wide variety of pastas such as spaghetti, pappardelle, fusilli, gnocchi sardi, orecchiette and bucatini — it even offers zucchini noodles. The fresh pasta options are priced at $7.99, regardless of the sauce you choose. The sauces include bolognese, carbonara, al pomodoro, alfredo, cacio e pepe, fra diavolo, pesto and vodka. You can also add different kinds of meats, cheeses and veggies to your pasta. Depending on what you are adding, extra toppings range between 49 cents and $2.49. If mac n' cheese is more your style, there are several different options that sound amazing for just $8.49. It also offers healthier options with two salads priced at $5.99 — a classic caesar salad and another called insalada della casa.
I ordered a classic spaghetti prepared with vodka sauce and topped with parmesan cheese. It was a simple order that would have been difficult to mess up, so I had hopes that it would exceed my expectations for pasta. The pasta was al dente and the sauce was tangy.
Although I can't say that it was the best spaghetti I've ever had, it was quite tasty! I really appreciated the paper Chinese take-out box that my food came in, which was customized with a logo sticker. Since pasta can be messy, I was pleasantly surprised that this box contained it so well. If you’re craving some carbs on the go, then this is definitely a place you should check out. Overall, I am pleased with my first visit to Pronto!, and I look forward to returning soon.