3545 Midway Drive, Midway District
I couldn’t tell whether this place wanted to be called Devine Pastablities or Torpasta. There are signs on the storefront for both. The URL is torpasta.com, but it’s copyrighted to Devine Pastabilities. The Instagram bio says “Torpasta Devine Pastabilities presents Torpasta!”
The friendly young woman taking my order was pretty sure Devine Pastabilities is the restaurant’s name, founded as a still-active farmers’ market stand. Here in a Point Loma strip mall, it’s decorated to invoke the ubiquitous Italian family restaurant of our collective American youth.
Torpasta, on the other hand, is its own whole thing. It’s what they call the specialty of the house. Basically, it’s a pasta sandwich. Torpedo + pasta = Torpasta. But there’s a twist. It seems the owner liked to make sandwiches out of spaghetti as a child, but it always made a mess because the pasta fell out of the bottom. He explains on the website, “One day, the school cafeteria served spaghetti with a bread roll. I decided to poke a hole in the roll, hollowed out the insides, and filled it with spaghetti.” That was at age nine, and he turned the idea into a business. Talk about following through.
Devine Pastabilities makes a choice of pastas to shove inside: spaghetti and meatballs, pesto bow ties, sausage and penne marinara, even raviloi. I settled on fettuccini carbonara. It was served on a little metal stand, pasta facing up. The pasta itself wasn’t anything remarkable. Rather than carbonara, it was a mix of bacon, ham, and peas in Alfredo sauce. Basic stuff. The bread was good, freshly baked and pleasantly soft considering the crust. Oh, and don’t worry that the scooped out contents inside goes to waste — he brushes it with garlic butter and serves it under the name Bread Holes.
At $7.50 for a half sandwich and about $13 for a whole, it’s worth the fun of trying out a torpasta or two. Just heed my caution: The hot pasta sitting deepest inside the roll has nowhere to cool, and around the sixth bite I burnt my tongue. Gotta be careful out there on the cutting edge of sandwich technology.