Nearly a year ago, Chef Mark Ladner left his job as Executive Chef at Del Posto to pursue his dream of a fast casual pasta restaurant, Pasta Flyer. Now the chef, along with partner Nastassia Lopez, have made it a reality, opening up the restaurant Monday evening in Greenwich Village.

"I wanted to do something that was more inclusive, something that was more affordable, something that could appeal to more types of people," Ladner says of his transition from traditional restaurants to the fast casual model. "The fact is, there really wasn't a lot of precedent for this type of model in either Italy or the U.S. Fast food was still exclusively a hand-held proposition; I was waiting for it to transition to the fork and bowl culture. The salad craze and the bowl craze really helped us a lot."

The process will be familiar to visitors of fast food-type places like Chipotle and McDonald's—a comparison embraced by Ladner—specifically the speed with which staff can get pasta from an order to the customer. The whole transaction should take around 30 seconds; pre-cooked dried pasta is heated quickly in salted water while sauces come to a quick boil on an induction cooktop. The two are combined in a paper bowl, placed on a tray, and then they're ready to go.

Ladner says he kept the pasta shapes and sauce types broad, using "100-years-old recipes" that would be immediately comforting. Combinations like Fettuccine Alfredo ($7.25), Spaghetti & Meatballs ($8) and a Whole Grain Rigatoni tossed with "Nonna's Meat Ragu," ($7.50) a super savory combination of meats including pancetta and veal, cooked down with wine and spices. There's also one Gluten-Free Penne with Marinara ($7), as the concept was originally conceived as a completely gluten-free pasta experience.

Like those Golden Arches, the restaurant also has meal deals like the "Nonna Loves You," a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs with a side salad and a fountain drink for $9.99. Fried Lasagna—which Ladner says is a riff on Del Posto's famed 100-Layer Lasagna but with fewer layers—antipasti like fried cauliflower and a baked eggplant parm in a cup; and "Garlic Dots," (pâte à choux made with garlic butter), round out the non-pasta bowl options.

A gigantic photograph of the Roman Forum, taken back in the '60s, looms large over the restaurant. It's a photo Ladner found "on some conspiracy website" that features a UFO hovering above the crumbling ruins. He loved the juxtaposition of something ancient with something "fantastical...futuristic." He sees it as a visual metaphor for his restaurant, but the chef also admits to a fascination with UFOs in general, hence the flying saucer depictions all around the restaurant.

"They're just so cool," he says with a smile. "You can't deny it."

510 6th Avenue; pastaflyer.com. Pasta flyer is open daily for dinner at 5 p.m. with lunch to follow soon.

Pasta Flyer Menu by Nell Casey on Scribd