Zia Realty Owner/Broker James Chrobocinski with Owner/Chef Renee Lee at Monday’s lease signing for her new Pasta Paradiso Restaurant going into the former Hill Diner location on Trinity Drive. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
“Pasta Paradiso will be a pasta buffet style restaurant with four to five fresh pasta sauces, meatballs, ravioli, weekly specials such as lasagna, and a fresh salad bar,” Lee told the Los Alamos Daily Post at Monday’s signing. “I want to make it quick and convenient for Laboratory employees to come in and enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner, and at the same time be able to return to work in a timely manner.”
Most of the food will be made from scratch, Lee said, and she intends to include gluten free and whole wheat pasta, “really good breads” and a nice selection of beer and wine on the menu.
“My new restaurant will have a family atmosphere … I love children and we’ll have a children’s menu with really good children’s pricing,” Lee said.
The restaurant is undergoing major renovations by Chrobocinski’s Zia Maintenance Company.
“We’re doing drastic renovations including insulating all the walls, replacing the ceiling, completely redoing the kitchen, refinishing all of the floors, tables and booths, installing new large double pane windows, new trim and we’re stuccoing the exterior,” Chrobocinski said.
Lee added that she is purchasing all new commercial equipment for the kitchen as well.
The name Pasta Paradiso came from Lee’s husband Dennis Lee who said good pasta is like heaven and heaven in Italian is paradiso. The couple has been married for seven years and she said her husband, an accountant in Santa Fe, will keep the books for the new restaurant.
They reside in Santa Fe but Lee said that will soon change.
“I fell in love with Los Alamos and that’s why I’m opening this restaurant here,” she said. “We plan to move here soon.”
Lee holds an associate’s degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She is a chef and has owned four start-ups and one existing restaurant over the years.
Pasta Paradiso will be open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for brunch, closing after the church crowd finishes eating.
“I intend to pay my employees very well and plan to begin hiring soon,” she said, adding that anyone interested in working at her new restaurant may email her at email@example.com.