The Pastime Cafe . . . Ten Years Later
In January 2006, Walla Walla's venerable Italian eatery, The Pastime Cafe, closed its doors after 80+ years of serving the "best Italian food in the Walla Walla Valley." Four generations of the Fazzari family owned and operated this iconic restaurant at 215 W. Main Street. Since its closure, the building sat vacant until early last spring when a consortium of a corporate attorney, a mixologist, a local winemaker, a Seattle restauranteur, and a local architect came together with a vision for a new restaurant and companion winery.
And today, September 22, 2016, The Walls tasting room and its "sister" restaurant Passatempo Taverna will turn the lights on the sign and officially open for business.
As you can see by the comparative photos, the front has been reimagined for the 21 century yet still pays homage to the history of the old Pastime Cafe. However, a peek inside will have to wait until the official opening this afternoon. But there is every reason to believe it will be stunning.
Immediately next door in what was once an empty lot littered with dirt, bricks, rocks, and "whatever," the clean, exterior space of The Walls beckons you in. But again, no peeks of the interior were allowed as per the architect who I met as I was taking pictures this morning. In fact, judging by the number of service trucks parked outside and shadows of bodies inside, I'd say everyone is scurrying to meet the 5 PM deadline for the lighting of the sign.
I was unaware that Walla Walla had a sister city in Italy, but apparently we do as seen by this sign on the front window of the restaurant. Cannara is a small town in central Umbria and is known as the onion capital of Italy. I would imagine that is the common connection as Walla Walla is also famous for its WW Sweet Onions, the seeds of which originated in Italy. Clearly, more research is needed on my part to verify that assumption.
One last nostalgic look at the old Pastime Cafe and its menu which obviously dates back to mid last century. And while the past is nice to remember, now it's time to look ahead to many more years of good food at wine at the new Passatempo Taverna and The Walls winery.
Ben venuto! Welcome!
To read what the son of a member of the fourth generation of the Fazzari family says about the new iteration of the old Pastime Cafe follow this link: