Pasta House to fill vacant SLU building

Students looking for a place to eat on campus will soon have one more option.

Saint Louis University has decided to go into the franchise business, signing an agreement with The Pasta House Co. The franchise, owned by SLU, will be located at 3757 Laclede, formerly the site of Colorado’s restaurant.

According to Rob Altholz, vice president of Business and Finance, SLU has been eager to find a restaurant to occupy the building, ever since Colorado’s decided not to renew their lease more then a year ago.

“We sought a medium-priced, high quality restaurant that would serve University faculty, staff and students, as well as folks coming to the area to attend events at the University and at Grand Center,” Altholz said. University President Lawrence Biondi S.J. approved the purchase.

The St. Louis Business Journal also notes that Kim Tucci, president of The Pasta House Co., sits on SLU’s board of trustees, though the University denies that there is any connection between Tucci’s position and the Pasta House decision.

Altholz also mentioned that the University considered many different options, including mexican and a ‘wings and beer’ type of facility. It was The Pasta House, however, that offered the University the best combination of quality and price.

The restaurant, which is scheduled to open in approximately 90 days, will provide a number of jobs for students, including the wait, bus and host staff. Management positions will be handled through The Pasta House Co., and will not be offered to students.

“Billiken Bucks” will most likely be accepted at the restaurant, said Altholz, though for the time being flex dollars will not be able to be used.

According to the Business Journal, as a franchise owner, SLU is required to pay a $500,000 franchise fee, a royalty of 5 percent of gross sales and 2.5 percent of gross sales for co-operative advertising.

The University originally wanted The Pasta House Co. to own and operate the restaurant, but the company said it would not be able to do so financially if it had to pay rent. Since the University already owns the building, it won’t have to pay rent.

According to the Business Journal, the University does not plan to make any money from the establishment, rather just to break even.