- Associated Press - Monday, April 17, 2017

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - For Cynthia Yazdani, the fire at PASTArrific on March 2 isn’t an excuse to slow down.

When the restaurant’s co-owner stood before the flames in the early morning that day, several thoughts ran through her head. First, she wanted to make sure no one was injured in the fire. Second, she wanted to get her files from her charred office. And finally, she wanted to open for lunch the next day across the street.

Yazdani said she was blessed with foresight when she decided to include a full-service kitchen at the Bel Air Events venue across the street from PASTArrific. As she stood in front of her building while firefighters put out the flames that engulfed it, she was already thinking about taking her traditional recipes to the events venue.

Only a few weeks later, though she’s not able to offer dine-in lunch or dinner at Bel Air Events, she is able to offer family-sized portions of her recipes, as well as a few individual-sized portions, all for carryout.

“Where I go, the recipes go, and as long as I have a stove and a skillet or a knife and a cutting board, we’re going at it,” she said.

Though many regular guests have called in asking about certain recipes, Yazdani said she’s not able to offer everything in an individual-sized portion because the kitchen at the Bel Air, while full-service, is meant for catering, not to be a restaurant.

The biggest differences lie in the amount of counter space and the number of stove burners. But she stressed that she’s trying to add more individual-sized menu items as best as she can.

“It’s about guests accessing what we’ve done for years at PASTArrific, but through our other outlet, which is the Bel Air,” she said.

One of the hardest parts in the aftermath of the fire has been not being able to get in touch with customers who booked events, Yazdani said. Her files burned in the fire and they weren’t saved digitally. One of the first things she worked on was setting up the original phone number so customers could call and figure out their options.

She’s urging anybody who scheduled an event in the Casa Bella or the Sophia Room to contact her at 765-455-1312.

Though fires never arrive at convenient times, Yazdani said the one that destroyed the PASTArrific building happened just months before the restaurant’s 30-year anniversary. Though they had nothing formally planned, she said they were hoping to celebrate the anniversary in May.

“Obviously that plays in my mind that we’re not able to do that this year,” she said. “Well, not a problem. Our 31st year in business, we’re going to have it again.”

She said the community support has been nearly overwhelming following the fire.

“Kokomo . there’s no place else on earth like Kokomo,” she said through tears.

She added that people have been asking her when she plans to reopen the building. Immediately after the fire, she had hoped to open by October; she remembered opening Bel Air Events within six months of breaking ground. But due to the amount of insurance and paperwork, it will likely be about a year before the restaurant is able to reopen its doors.

Until then, she said some of her staff are continuing to work through Bel Air Events part-time, and many of them have found temporary jobs at other businesses in Kokomo. She said she’s looking forward to the day they can all be working together again in the PASTArrific kitchen.

“The stove I stood at is no more, but will soon be again a stove that I can have to stand at,” she said. “I look forward to that day.”


Source: Kokomo Tribune, https://bit.ly/2o1RArU


Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com

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