By Veronica Kuffel
When Luz and Ben Platt married, he insisted on catering their wedding. Brian worked in an Italian restaurant and discovered a love for the cuisine. Both dreamed of the day they could manage their own pasta shop.
“He’s always catered different friends’ events and Christmas parties,” Luz said. “We knew he could do it, but we never had the funds to make it happen. In 2022, we sold our franchises and decided to go for it.”
After years of managing restaurants and franchises, the Platts opened The Pasta Shop, a build-your-own Italian restaurant with fresh sandwiches and salads, in 2022.
They figured it was the perfect project. Platt said they saw a need for quick service in a family-friendly environment. They enjoyed the cuisine, but with two toddlers, fancy pasta restaurants felt inaccessible.
“We didn’t really see that anywhere,” Luz said. “We have two young kids, and it’s so important for us to have those quick meals. We wanted to be able to grab spaghetti and go, to have it at your table within 10 minutes.”
At The Pasta Shop, customers can choose between different types of pasta, like bow tie or fettuccine, and add any homemade sauce from marinara to alfredo. The Pasta Shop also offers gluten-free or vegetable noodles as dietary alternatives. From there, customers may add protein and vegetable options at an additional price.
The Platts also offer a list of savory sandwiches and salads, along with classic Italian desserts and variants of garlic bread. The couple sources their food from Shamrock Farms, and Brian makes almost everything homemade. Luz noted that although they’re not a fully scratch kitchen, they cook a lot of their cuisine with fresh ingredients.
“Most of our sauces are made in-house, only our pesto is ordered out,” Luz said. “Everything is made fresh, so our chicken, for example, is breaded in the restaurant. We don’t do frozen meatballs, either. Brian makes them in the restaurant.”
In addition to quality fast food, The Pasta Shop also has a play area for children with books, blocks and other toys. Luz ensured the corner is sanitized regularly and safe for kids to play while their parents watch and eat.
Every choice on the business side reflects the Platts’ vast experience in the industry. For the past 12 years, the couple worked in restaurants and local franchising. It took time for the Platts to open The Pasta Shop, but according to Luz, gaining their present knowledge and expertise was worth it.
“We both really took some time to learn our skills,” Luz noted. “Now, we’re able to combine them into The Pasta Shop. It’s great to see the response from everybody and how our ideas are conceptualized.”
Brain learned the operation and finance skills to run a restaurant. His wife noted he knows the price of a single napkin and could cut down costs when needed and still maintain quality.
Like her husband, Luz worked in food industry management and specialized in marketing. She currently works with Sun Tran as their community outreach manager and utilizes her connections and experience to improve The Pasta Shop. She also handles the restaurant’s marketing and social media.
The pair’s success in Marana goes beyond the restaurant. With Platts Partnership LLC, their next goal is to help other food entrepreneurs with their businesses.
“We would love to help other amazing people in the industry to open their own restaurants,” Luz said. “So many people are so good and talented, but they don’t have the operational or marketing skills. We want to give back, and we want to drive business to each other.”
Through their restaurant, the Platts also help other organizations throughout the community. The pair serve the Marana public school system by catering events for the PTA. They partnered with the Southern Arizona Diaper Bank after learning how expensive they were with their first child. The Pasta Shop will help cut the ribbon at the nonprofit’s upcoming celebration at Benson Hospital on March 31.
According to the couple, the restaurant is their way to give back to the community. Marana is growing, and The Pasta Shop works to increase local progress.
“If you’re not there, you don’t know,” Luz said. “It’s so important to be in the community you serve because that’s how you know the need and you’re able to help. I’m excited to be able to help through our restaurant.”
The Pasta Shop
3951 W. Ina Road, Marana