Food & Drinks

Restaurants From Popina to Bar Primi Use These Nifty Straws Made of Pasta

On a recent balmy night in Brooklyn, my husband and I wandered down to the Columbia Street Waterfront for a rare date while our daughter was at Grandma’s house. Without a reservation, the good people at Popina scrounged up a table in their festively lit backyard, where we opened the menus on our phone. I’m pregnant again, so with a heavy heart I looked past the list of regional Italian wines and ordered a Spindrift. It arrived at our table cracked open, with a bright-green straw sticking out. Thick and rigid, the straw was a little starchy to the tongue but definitely not plastic. After commenting to my husband, a food-industry professional, that I had no clue what it was made of, he grabbed it, put it between his teeth, and said, “Honey, I think it’s pasta!” Our waitress later confirmed that not only was the straw made of pasta but gluten-free pasta, in case we were concerned. (Having trekked to Popina for its housemade casarecce, we weren’t, but we appreciated the tip nonetheless.)

Entirely new to me, but not new, the concept of biodegradable pasta-as-straw has noodled around as a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic options for a few years. The most literal example are those people who have taken to sipping from store-bought bucatini, a pasta (if you’re not familiar) that is thicker and more rodlike in shape than spaghetti, with a hole through its center. Indeed, even Grub Street, in its deep dive into the Great Bucatini Shortage of 2020, suggested a link between the pasta’s scarcity and its embrace as a more sustainable-straw option. Word on the street is that some local cool-kid spots, like Honey’s Brooklyn, keep boxes of actual bucatini behind the bar to serve with cocktails.

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