Mirko Pasta

I recently had the pleasure of visiting my hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky. Prior to our visit, I mentally (and physically—Tums® anyone?) prepared myself for the intestinal fallout of a week of cornbread-crusted and fried anything and everything. Like many of you, I grew up on good Southern cooking—deep-fried okra, gravy & biscuits, fried chicken, country fried steak. I love it all, but—after sixteen years of living in Minnesota—my forty-year-old gastrointestinal tract is not overcome with affection for me when I gorge on good old down-home cookin’.

After multiple excursions to various Owensboro institutions of fried food during our week-long visit, imagine my surprise when my brother suggested one night that we check out a fairly new Italian restaurant in town.

Honestly, I was not expecting to be wowed. Tucked into a corner of Wesleyan Park Plaza adjacent to a Long John Silver's, the restaurant was housed in the same building as the old Noble Roman’s Pizza of my youth. With a legacy like that, I wondered how good it could possibly be. I envisioned Creamette® noodles floating in viscous, artery-clogging alfredo sauce being served in gallon drums.

Fortunately, I could not have been more mistaken.

Mirko Pasta is a breath of fresh air in a town of cookie cutter chain restaurants. Mirko is the brainchild of Chef Mirko Di Giacomantonio, who wanted his customers to “feel like I felt when I went to my grandma’s house." His first restaurant opened in Macon, Georgia in 2010. Mirko Pasta now includes franchises all across Georgia, as well as Nashville, TN, Roanoke, VA and Owensboro.

The Mirko Pasta in Owensboro had a bit of a “special occasion” feel to it, but the prices were extremely reasonable (read: cheap!) for our casual Monday evening excursion.  Pasta made from scratch daily is served with your choice of fresh toppings and sauces.  Mirko specifically incorporates seasonal vegetables and changes up some of the sauces to offer customers lighter choices in the spring and summer, and heartier choices during the cooler months. Mirko Pasta also boasts a wide range of wines to pair with your lunch or dinner, as well as a full bar.

When we were seated, the waitress immediately brought us a couple of carafes of cold water and a basket of warm rolls with an accompanying spread of pureed cannellini drizzled in olive oil. It was perfect. However, being gluttons for bread and dip, we also decided to order an appetizer—traditional spinach and artichoke dip with homemade grilled bread. Mirko’s version was nothing short of creamy and satisfying.

I had a small, light and flavorful salad—the Insalata di Spinichi—which was comprised of baby organic spinach, raisins and goat cheese with a walnut, honey and balsamic vinaigrette. It was delicious paired with an Italian Pinot Grigio.

It was more than a little difficult to decide on a main course. With 18 different types of pasta and 12 different sauces to choose from, the combination possibilities were nearly endless (someone else can do the math because, frankly, it hurts my head). Eventually, after much pomp and circumstance (not to mention a healthy dose of impatient sighing from my dinner companions), I ended up choosing the tagliatelle with carbonara sauce (egg yolks, pancetta, cream, black pepper and parmesan), and I was not disappointed. The sauce was rich and flavorful and the fresh pasta was cooked perfectly.

My children shared an order of macaroni and cheese from the children’s menu which was more than enough for my two seven-year-olds with leftovers for lunch the next day. And to make my parmesan-drunken smile even wider, I was surprised to learn that kids eat free on Monday nights! Score!

If you are looking for good made-from-scratch Italian food in a casual environment with attentive wait staff that barely puts a dent in your pocketbook (and really, who isn’t??), check out Mirko Pasta in Owensboro.

Feel free to tell them Shannon sent you (you know...just to utterly confuse and befuddle them)!

611 Emory Drive
Owensboro, KY 42301
Phone: 270-683-1100