A Cortez dining staple is coming back to town, with plans to open Mother’s Day weekend.
Lotsa Pasta and That’za Pizza operated on the south side of Cortez for about 15 years but closed April 2018 when its prior owners decided to retire. It’s reopening downtown on Main Street, though, in the building formerly home to Jimmer’s Backcountry BBQ.
“I’m excited to bring it back,” said Stormy Cordova, the restaurant’s new owner. “Keep it a locals’ favorite. We’re going to keep everything the same; don’t change something that’s not broken.”
Before assuming her current role, Cordova worked with Lotsa Pasta for eight years.
Julie and Wayne Nadolske started the restaurant 18 years ago in what is now La Casita, Cordova said. The business did well, and after about a year, they wanted to expand, so they moved to a larger, two-story site at 1020 S. Broadway, currently home to Chronic Therapy.
Lotsa Pasta and That’za Pizza stayed at the Broadway site for about 15 years, until the Nadolskes decided to sell the building early last year.
“They finally got a really good offer on the building, and so they decided that they wanted to retire; they were ready to do something else with their lives,” Cordova said.
The team spent the last year looking for a new site, and when they heard that Jimmer’s might be closing, they got in contact with the owners and made a deal, she said. They are in the midst of buying the building through a lease-to-own purchasing option.
Cordova officially took over as business owner April 1.
There are multiple benefits of the new site, Cordova said. The new building at 439 E. Main St. has a lot of parking space, especially compared with other downtown restaurants.
The more central location also allows them to consider offering lunch, something the previous owners had discontinued at the South Broadway location.
“It’s not that far out, but people have a limited time for lunch,” Cordova said of the former site. “It’s hard to get out there, and get sat, and get food.”
Their opening in a few weeks will be a “soft opening,” Cordova said, with a limited menu selection of some favorites.
“Limited menu at first; let our staff get used to the amount of people and volume and traffic that we’re going to have going on,” she said. The new site is definitely a larger space, she added, even when taking into consideration the former building’s two dining rooms.
“Our pizza kitchen was downstairs, and our pasta kitchen was upstairs,” Cordova said. “Separate dining rooms. Having everything combined is going to be different; it’s going to be a lot more volume, especially opening summertime.”
But regardless of the move, they plan on keeping much the same, including some of their favorite selections, like breadsticks, a variety of pizzas, chicken Parmesan and shrimp scampi. Their all-you-can-eat Wednesday night spaghetti dinners will be back, along with Tuesday “Kids Eat Free” and Thursday night’s “Seniors Eat Free” – with the purchase of a full-size entree in both cases.
“Nobody offers pasta, and that’s something that we definitely – people around here love pasta,” Cordova said.