Joshua Felciano always had a thing for pasta. About four years ago, the 34-year-old Healdsburg native set his sights on moving to San Francisco to work in Italian restaurants, with the eventual aim to start his own pasta company.
“It wasn’t an easy process," Josh told us. “We were bursting at the seams and ready to give up, but we landed a great place in the Bayview.”
The move ended up being a perfect fit for Josh and his wife, physician Carla Perissinotto, who began working with patients in Bayview while Josh worked as a sous chef at Dogpatch's Piccino.
“I learned a lot about the different health disparities in the community and how many were related to limited healthy food options," said Josh. "I was blown away at the idea of the Bayview being considered a 'food desert.' That started the evolution of my business, which I decided to call Bayview Pasta to pay homage to the neighborhood.”
Pasta may not have the best reputation when it comes to eating healthy, but Josh aims to raise the bar by carefully milling it at a specific temperature, allowing it to retain extra nutrients.
“I have a good relationship with local farmers," he told us. "I outsource different grains, like wheat berry, and hand-mill it to obtain amino acids, making it easier to digest. My first year in business was spent mainly on perfecting my craft, figuring out the equipment and researching different recipes.”
So far, business has been going well. Bayview Pasta is not only sold online through “Farm Fresh to You” delivery and Good Eggs, but is stocked in various small grocery stores and shops around the city, with Duc Loi Super Market and Gratta Wines being the most recent businesses to pick up the product.
Pop-up events have also benefitted Bayview Pasta by giving people the opportunity to taste the final product.
“From the pasta to the sauce, everything is made fresh by me," Josh noted. "One of my favorite things to prepare is paccheri pasta, topped with fish, olio nuovo, and lightly sautéed with soffrito and white wine sauce.
“I like playing around with the simplicity of grain and working with flavors that are reminiscent of seasons," he continued. "On rainy nights (like the ones we’ve recently had), I use a lot of warm and bold spices like nutmeg, cloves, and fennel."
“I try and keep the plates affordable at pop-up events," he added.” “I usually charge around $10. If I go anywhere in the city and spend more than $20 on a plate of pasta, I’m going to have some pretty high expectations ... It better glow in the dark.”
With no employees, Josh is an army of one who's been hand-milling pasta out of his home up until recently, when he secured a commercial kitchen on Barneveld Avenue. He has thoughts of expanding Bayview Pasta to a full-on brick-and-mortar location that could operate as a combination restaurant and retail space. But for the time being, he plans to keep on doing what he's doing.
"I want to be the pasta person in Bayview," he said. "I want to be the guy that educates and spreads the good word about healthy eating."