The Sosta may look like the Italian version of vegan sensation By Chloe, but it isn't.
The marketing half of the pair behind that rapidly expanding chain, Samantha Wasser, is behind the new fast-casual restaurant opening July 13.
Perched right at the northwestern tip of Little Italy, The Sosta trades white tablecloths and for pink furniture, part of the same social media-savvy aesthetic that was so key to By Chloe's success, including a giant pink neon sign telling you to “Mangiano, baby!” like some Instagram version of an Italian grandmother.
Wasser once again partnered with a relatively unknown chef to launch the restaurant. (By Chloe's Chloe Coscarelli, who got the boot from the franchise after a financial dispute, shot to fame as a pastry chef and winner of "Cupcake Wars" before being scouted by ESquared Hospitality to create a savory vegan menu.)
The menu at The Sosta was created by executive chef Ali LaRaia after a road trip through Italy. The main event is cooked-to-order pasta made in-house in five varieties paired with their own sauces (small portions are $8-$10, full $12-14), like a zucca vodka with caramelized onions and a paccheri bolognese with pancetta and milk. Or substitute in zucchini “noodles” ($1) or go gluten-free ($2).
There’s also a weekend brunch "breakfast spaghetti," which sounds like a challenge for anyone who's managed to eat spaghetti sober without getting it all over themselves to try it after a mimosa or two.
Beyond the pastas, there are four salads and three focaccia sandwiches. We managed to taste the Sicilian Tuna at the restaurant’s overinvited opening night, which really was the best two bites of tuna sandwich we've ever had (not too heavy, nice hit of freshness from the pesto that the foccacia soaked up greedily). Who orders a tuna sandwich in an Italian restaurant? You should.
The Aperol Spritz we snagged was similarly good, with just the slightest bitter edge to the cocktail. And there will be gelato from Fresco Gelateria, along with a custom coffee blend by Devocion.
Expect The Sosta to be pretty well crammed at first as everyone dutifully logs their fashionable Instas. Whether fast pasta inspires the same devotion as veggie burgers remains to be seen.
The Sosta is located at 186 Mott St., with hours of 11 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends.