At Pasta by Hudson, Fresh Pasta Is Available in a New York Minute

Despite relocating during a pandemic, the restaurant has a hopeful start to its future in Chelsea



With Turnstyle Underground Market a currently unviable location for business, Pasta by Hudson has found a new home in Chelsea.


More than a year into the pandemic, the restaurants that managed to survive have had to be creative in adapting to restrictions and take on a new way of business. Few places exemplify that better than Pasta by Hudson. Once a part of Columbus Circle’s bustling Turnstyle Underground Market, the restaurant is now located in Chelsea, only a few blocks away from the 1 train station at 23rd Street. 

Once I had my food, I had a mask-to-mask interview with Pasta by Hudson owner Brandon Fay in the recently built outdoor dining facilities. Surrounded by an abundance of fake red roses and wooden chairs and tables with Billy Joel music in the background, I would characterize the scenery as “romantic.”

More Choices in Chelsea

Fay had the privilege of checking out the area pre-pandemic since he was planning an expansion back then. At the time, there were plenty of people who passed by the storefront; Fay counted and said that he saw “10 to 15 people a minute” go by. Once the pandemic hit in March and went on to June and July, next to no one passed by. 

Things were desolate once again in November and December, which Fay attributes to tensions from the 2020 election and the second wave of the coronavirus during the winter. So far, he said that 2021 has been better for business, as more people are heading outside. Fay also attributes the vaccines as being a real game-changer in boosting public confidence about going out again.  

Pasta by Hudson offers high-quality ingredients and generous portions at an affordable price.

The Chelsea location has a more diverse menu than the Underground Market location, with Chelsea most notably including pizza and alcoholic beverages. “It was always in my wheelhouse that I wanted to do pizza,” Fay noted, adding that beer and wine pair well with both pizza and pasta.

Pasta by Hudson offers high-quality ingredients and generous portions at an affordable price. “Almost guilt-free pizzas around 13 inches,” Fay said. “You can have it for one if you’re really hungry, or you can share it with a friend and order pasta.” Fay also noted that the diverse menu makes it “veto-proof” for those indecisive between wanting to get pasta or a pizza.   

Potential for Thriving and Turnstyle Return 

In an article from December that Fay was featured in, he stated that restaurants needed 50% capacity. Now that New York City has reached that milestone, Fay said that 50% capacity will help restaurants try to survive, with emphasis on “try” and “survive.” 

Restaurants have very low profit margins relative to other industries, making things even more challenging. While delivery apps are useful, they take massive percentages of cash out of orders, and it’s often a “pay to play” situation, as restaurants need to offer 30% coupons to be featured. Fay hopes that restaurants will not only be able to survive but thrive with these new guidelines. 

Fay was fortunate enough to get a deal from the Sharks on “Shark Tank,” but he also described the process as “bittersweet.” Fay’s episode aired on March 27, 2020, a time when the city was in full lockdown in response to the first wave of the pandemic, and the area was desolate. As a result, little business could be generated from the episode in the short term. 

“Now that we’re hopeful that the world’s going to be in a better place very soon … I’m hoping to capitalize off of that ‘Shark Tank’ experience.” Brandon Fay, Pasta by Hudson owner

Fay noted that since stay-at-home orders were in effect across the country, the “Shark Tank” episode had a high number of viewers. “We must have had several hundred thousand people jump to our website that night … but the world was shut down,” Fay said. “Now that we’re hopeful that the world’s going to be in a better place very soon … I’m hoping to capitalize off of that ‘Shark Tank’ experience.”

Saving perhaps the most important question (for a Fordham student) for last, I asked Fay if he has any plans to return to the Underground Market. Just as Fay scouted before starting the Chelsea location, he is now doing the same for Turnstyle, stating, “I’m by Lincoln Center on a daily basis.” Fay is very hopeful that he will be able to reopen in Turnstyle, as that shop is his “baby.” 

“It is the eighth busiest train hub in the city” and “the whole world is there,” Fay remarked. I noted that with the Restart Stages program at Lincoln Center, traffic may increase in the area. Fay also said that a regulation prevented outdoor dining nearby, and establishing space for such businesses would be a great way to stimulate the community’s local economy.

After my interview ended, Fay asked me about how I felt about the shrimp scampi I ordered and ate prior to the interview. The verdict? “Almost as good as Mom’s.”