2017-03-31 / Business

Italian ‘fast-casual’ heads into Simi

Presto Pasta hopes to open by end of the year
By Melissa Simon


PRESTO CHANGE-O—Brothers Ken Schuberg, left, and Jeff Schuberg are turning this Erringer Road building into the newest location in their Presto Pasta chain. The structure was originally built to house a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, but the donut chain is now looking to open elsewhere in Simi. 
RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers PRESTO CHANGE-O—Brothers Ken Schuberg, left, and Jeff Schuberg are turning this Erringer Road building into the newest location in their Presto Pasta chain. The structure was originally built to house a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, but the donut chain is now looking to open elsewhere in Simi. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers When brothers Ken and Jeff Schuberg got into the restaurant industry as teenagers, they never imagined they’d be future owners of a rapidly growing Italian food chain.

Ken, 45, and Jeff, 43, were busboys at Marie Callender’s as high-schoolers. After college, at ages 23 and 21, respectively, the Camarillo residents began working at Presto Pasta in Camarillo and Ventura for Albert Baltieri, who founded the Italian fast-casual restaurant chain in 1992.

In 2003, the brothers bought the regional chain from Baltieri, who retained ownership and operation of the Santa Barbara location due to an agreement that gives him the right to open more sites in Santa Barbara County. The Schubergs own six locations in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, including a soon-to-open Simi Valley site.

“We thought working for (Baltieri) was a great idea because he wanted to build Presto Pasta nationally. But after a couple years, he decided he didn’t want to do that, so we bought the chain from him and have been operating it ever since,” Jeff said.

Although the duo has opened locations in Newbury Park, Granada Hills and Valencia, the brothers said they have always wanted to set up shop in Simi Valley because “the family-oriented community” is home to many of their existing employees and customers, Ken said.

That dream came true this month when the Schubergs signed a lease for the roughly 2,300-square-foot building at 1860-A Erringer Road, where Dunkin’ Donuts had previously planned to open a shop. The building has two other spaces for potential tenants.

“We’ve been looking for the perfect location in Simi Valley for more than 10 years, but we were never able to find the right spot at the right time,” Ken said.

When the building that was supposed to house Dunkin’ Donuts became available, Jeff said they “jumped on it.”

“This is an ideal location because we’re more of a dinner place, rather than lunch, and . . . there’s a ton of (homes) around here with families and people looking to do takeout,” he said. “That’s our bread and butter, and that’s what makes us really different from somewhere like The Habit, Chipotle or Panera.

“Those guys want to be busy in the daytime, while we prefer the opposite.”

The brothers said Presto Pasta will bring a new eating experience to Simi Valley.

“There’s no place like (Presto Pasta) in Simi, and there’s very few nationally, because fast-casual Italian is a difficult concept,” Jeff said. “We make everything to order, including our sauces every day and fresh pasta.”

Brian Gabler, Simi Valley’s economic development director, said he first learned of the restaurant chain’s plans to move into Simi in early February.

“Presto Pasta has quite a following in the communities where they are currently located and I believe they will do great business . . . and are a good fit for the community,” he said.

‘Alternative sites’

Gabler also confirmed that Dunkin’ Donuts, which built the structure at 1860-A Erringer Road, is now looking at other locations within the city. Gabler declined to provide further details.

Last May, the Massachusettsbased donut chain confirmed rumors it would open a store in the shopping center at Erringer Road and Los Angeles Avenue, where mom-and-pop shop Donuts Plus has been located since 1979. The news set off a firestorm of outrage from supporters of the independent donut shop.

Dunkin’ Donuts spent much of the spring and summer of 2016 building its new shop. But after receiving a list of construction fixes from city officials in August, the franchisee abandoned plans to open at the almost-finished building at 1860-A Erringer Road.

In a statement emailed to the Simi Valley Acorn this week, Dunkin’ Donuts said the “franchisee is exploring alternative sites in Simi Valley for a future” location.

“Developing a Dunkin’ Donuts location in Simi Valley remains a top priority, and we look forward to keeping local guests running on our delicious range of coffee and espresso beverages, as well as our sandwiches and baked goods,” the statement reads.

With only minimal plumbing installed inside the Erringer Road building, Ken Schuberg said he and his brother have a blank slate to design the interior like that of their other six Presto Pasta locations.

Jeff Schuberg said they still “have a lot of work to do with the permitting and engineering,” but he hopes to have the work completed and doors opened by the end of this year.

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