Twin Cities Chef Team Twirls Pasta Possibilities Into Post-Pandemic Dreams
The pandemic may have thrown a wrench in the restaurant industry, but it didn’t stop Alex Dayton and Matt Kappra from launching Aliment Pasta Co., a Northeast Minneapolis-based start-up company.
The duo first met in 2010 at a restaurant called Cocina del Barrio in Edina, MN. For years, they tiptoed around working with one another and quickly developed a strong rapport. In fact, they even became brothers-in-law after Kappra’s wife introduced Dayton to her sister. Soon, they began discussing going into business together. For Kappra, who grew up around pasta, and Datyon, who had a deep passion for noodles, the decision was a no-brainer.
“In November 2019 we started to experiment with pasta recipes. By May 2020 we had developed a variety of options and adopted a CSA model, with customers paying upfront for monthly installments,” said Kappra. From there they began selling fresh pasta by the pound and introduced dinner boxes that were available for pickup or delivery in the Twin Cities. By August 2020, things really started to take off.
“Right before COVID, I was working in Boston and Alex was in between jobs,” Kappra said. “We saw this as a business opportunity and took it. COVID forced everyone to rethink how they go about creating food businesses. We thought this would be a great way to still be involved in food and cook for people,” They named their venture Aliment, which originates from the Latin word alere meaning to nourish. This seemed most appropriate as their mission is to nourish and be nourished.
Aliment is very much a family business, according to Kappra. While Kappra and Dayton act as business partners, their spouses help oversee marketing and development. While social media can be a powerful marketing tool, they attribute a lot of their success to word of mouth and industry connections.
The company is currently leasing space in Kieran’s Kitchen in the Food Building in Northeast Minneapolis. Having a shared space has been great for collaboration with other businesses, including fellow tenants Alemar Cheese Co., Red Table Meat Co. and Baker’s Field Flour & Bread.
In fact, Kappra says their collaboration with Baker’s Field Flour & Bread is what makes their pasta so unique. Baker’s is a local, small scale-mill that produces fresh flour that gives their product much more texture and flavor.
Their pasta varieties fall into two categories: extruded and filled. The former comes refrigerated and includes rigatoni, fusilli and bigoli; thick spaghetti-like ropes used for their classic cacio e pepe. Their filled pastas include ravioli and agnolotti, which come frozen to help maintain their shape.
For now, Aliment Pasta Co. is focused on selling pasta within the Twin Cities. The culinary duo recently launched a single origin semolina series with the hope of creating more nuanced flavors. As for what’s next, look for the addition of dry pasta to the Aliment Pasta Co. repertoire.
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