Jay Elowsky began his career in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher. At 20, he moved from Michigan to Southern California to work for his aunt and uncle’s pizza business in San Clemente. From there, he decided to try his hand at academics and attend CU Boulder. However after one year, Jay knew the restaurant business was his true passion. He returned to California to learn to cook family recipes that had been passed down from his great-great grandmother “MaMa Genovese”, who was the cook for the first King of the United Countries of Italy, Victor Emanuel the Second.
When the time came for Jay to open his own restaurant, there was only one place he wanted to be - back in Boulder where he fell in love with the natural surroundings and the close-knit community. In 1988, Jay and his parents opened the first Pasta Jay’s at 9th and Pearl (the location later moved to 10th and Pearl). The rest is history.
“Traffic in the restaurant is nonstop. From tourists and locals to college students, there are always friendly and familiar faces in Pasta Jay’s,” said Rebecca Jennings, General Manager. “Ever since he attended CU, Jay has been a huge supporter of the university. He loves the school and he is really engaged in the greater Boulder community.”
Pasta Jay’s offers a wide variety of traditional Italian dishes and wines, but one constant remains across all the options. “Everything is made fresh the day of, and Jay treats every customer like family. Some of the menu items are named after individuals that have been coming here for 30 years. The sense of community is so strong.” Jay's marinara sauce became legendary instantly. Made from his great-great grandmother's secret family recipe and sold in the restaurant since the day it opened, the sauce (and salad dressings) became available in select grocery stores (and sold on the restaurant's website) in 2014.
If there is one thing to know about Jay, it is that he is passionate about his business and Boulder. “His values - for exceptional service, for caring, for respect - really shape the restaurant. He has a great attachment to the city and the community that has supported him for over 30 years. He constantly strives to keep Pasta Jay’s the well-respected business it is.”
If you want to support Pasta Jay’s, stop by and taste the homemade recipes downtown or order from them for your next catered event. Follow their social media (@pastajays) for mouthwatering pasta content. And be sure to say hello to Jay the next time you are in - if you come often enough, your name might just appear on the menu!