Saturday, July 13, 2024

Sarber’s Island Pasta Celebrates 30 Years in Coronado

Submitted by the Sarbers

Island Pasta, 1202 Orange Ave. (The Coronado Times)

Beloved, local restaurateur family, the Sarbers, will celebrate 30 years on July 1 of serving the community at Island Pasta, just one block north of the Hotel del Coronado at 1202 Orange Ave. The Sarbers extend an invitation to everyone to stop in during the month of July to toast their iconic Coronado restaurant where “everyone is treated like family.” Island Pasta is a well-known gathering place due to its homemade Italian food, intimate atmosphere and friendly servers. After three decades providing pasta, pizzas and salads to multiple generations, Island Pasta is no longer a well-kept secret among dedicated locals and lucky tourists following their noses towards tasty aromas.

This mocked-up photo of Brant hangs inside Island Pasta. (The Coronado Times)

Brant Sarber dreamed of owning his own restaurant while working at the Chart House for 20 years and holding court at the upstairs bar. After searching for the perfect spot, he made the pivotal decision to go out on his own and opened Island Pasta in July of 1994, taking over the space once occupied by Oriental Arts. Working on a shoestring budget, he remodeled the eclectic store and transformed it into the restaurant it is today. He recycled the wooden floors left over from Coronado High School’s gymnasium retrofit, using some of the wooden slats to build a friendly bar area shaped like a horseshoe and now a favorite gathering place. With the paint barely dry, Brant and his wife Carol opened for a “baptism by fire” during the busiest time in Coronado, the 4th of July — and it was a success from the start. The outdoor seating quickly became a great spot for people watching while savoring a delicious meal. Tasty pasta dishes and specialty pizzas served at reasonable prices in a casual setting have solidified Island Pasta’s reputation as one of the best places in town for a special meal served by friendly staff.

Inside Island Pasta (The Coronado Times)

Brant unexpectedly passed away two years ago, leaving a giant hole in the fabric of Coronado’s social community and leaving the Sarber family devastated. Carol, and Brant’s sister-in-law Kathy Byrne continue to manage both of Brant’s restaurants (Costa Azul is the second restaurant, located at the Ferry Landing); since at their heart, the restaurants were and still are, a family-run affair. The emphasis on the importance of family extends to the employees at the restaurant — many who have been there since the beginning. Head chef Aurora Gonzalez has been at Island Pasta since opening day and is a mainstay in the kitchen as are all of the restaurant’s staff. Both Island Pasta and Costa Azul have given many kids in town their first jobs, with some returning over summer vacations to working their way up from bussers to waiters.

Island Pasta regularly gives back to the community supporting Coronado elementary, middle and high schools. Brant’s father, John Sarber, was a well-known Navy SEAL, so catering to the teams with carbo loading dishes for guys going through BUD/S training has always been a priority. Both restaurants are ardent military supporters, offering discounts to active duty and providing space for change of command parties and social occasions.

Adding to Island Pasta’s legacy among all ages and types of people are the visitors who continue coming back every summer. Many say that a visit to Island Pasta is their first stop and signifies the start of summer vacation. The Sarbers extend a warm thank you to everyone in Coronado for their continued support and patronage over the past 30 years. Providing great food and friendly service to this wonderful community has been an incredible privilege. Cheers to 30 more!

Inside Island Pasta (The Coronado Times)


Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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