Fan Area Favorite: Bombolini

Everyone knows fresh pasta tastes better. But does that mean you’ll break out your pasta maker from where it’s wedged in your kitchen cabinet? Probably not. 

Fortunately, Richmond’s Bombolini Pasta has been gracing plates at home and in restaurants with their handmade pasta for over a decade.

Owners John and Lolita churn out hundreds of pounds of fresh pasta weekly, using ingredients that honor the classics such as garlic and basil while pushing the envelope with flavors including squid ink and pumpkin. Their storefront on West Main Street has become a mainstay in The Fan, feeding college students, business professionals, and everyone in between. Serving up fresh sandwiches and hot meals, with real, no-nonsense ingredients, Bombolini is helping make the grab-and-go food scene a whole lot more hearty. 

But Bombolini doesn’t stop at pasta. In their store, you have your choice from more than 75 wine labels, local craft beer, and small-batch spirits from their in-house distillery, Trial & Error. Rum, gin, grappa, whiskey and even limoncello are crafted on the premises. When you stop by, you can take a peek at the production process, ask questions, and of course, sample the goods. Just be prepared to make room on your bar cart after you get a taste.

John grew up in The Fan, so when it came time to open a brick and mortar, The Fan’s unique blend of non-chain businesses beckoned. And since opening their doors in 2010, Bombolini has seen it all. From working with the city, to navigating the ABC process, to becoming an integral part of the Fan community, Bombolini Pasta brings a wide breadth of experience and know-how to the Fan Area Business Alliance. 

A few questions from our interview with John at Bombolini Pasta:

Q. What was your #1 reason for joining FABA?

A.“It’s all about knowing people. You may think you have everything lined up, and then, you’re gonna find out that you need somebody [with a specific skillset]… In The Fan everybody knows everybody, so it’s good to be able to use that to your advantage.”

Q. What skills or expertise do you bring to the table that other FABA members could benefit from?

A. “I’ve been around town enough, that I kind of know a lot of people, and know a lot of things that are going on… You need to know people down here… [With a restaurant and distillery I deal] with state and federal, it’s always something. The alcohol side of things is a whole other beast.”

Q. What area of your business do you hope to grow through your partnership with FABA?

A.“I hope that the distillery side will grow. I’d love to have that grow more rapidly than anything else.”

Q. Do you have advice for a business just starting out in The Fan?

A. “[With] the city… you’ve got to be patient, that’s all… Nothing goes as smoothly as you would expect.”

Q. Are there quirks of owning a business in The Fan that you have to compensate for?

A. “In The Fan, you’ve got to expect almost anything. Every time you do something, you think you’ve seen the weirdest thing, and then something else happens.”

Bombolini Pasta and Trial & Error are located at 1606 W Main St., Richmond, Va. 23220. Stop by Tuesday through Friday, 11am – 7pm, or on Saturdays from 10am – 6pm.