Mason Morton and James Ostop are attempting to make fine dining more accessible with their new Italian pop-up, Lupara. The friends and former co-workers are serving handmade pasta, meatballs, lasagna and more at Cutty’s, the tiny dive at 227 Bogard St., on Thursdays, with hopes to expand their operation soon.
“The Ordinary is an excellent kitchen to learn the basic fundamentals of cooking and a strong level of discipline,” said Morton, who worked as the sous chef at the King Street restaurant alongside Ostop, a line cook. “We decided that if we ever had the opportunity, we’d like to bring that level of fine dining experience that’s more accessible.”
Morton and Ostop are doing just that by making handmade pasta in the modest kitchen inside Cutty’s, in the Cannonborough Elliotborough neighborhood. The chefs don’t have a fancy pasta extruder, so they’re leaning on technique, swapping noodles like penne for “pici,” a thick spaghetti-like creation Morton described as a “Sardinian grandma noodle.”
The menu is constantly changing, but the prices are always affordable — the duo has yet to serve a meal that costs more than $15.
In a recent Eater Carolinas article, Kwei Fei and Micho owner David Schuttenberg wrote this about Lupara: “Most recently, Tina and I ordered the menu at new red sauce pop-up Lupara Fine Italian Foods. The lasagna was outstanding. Can’t wait to see what those boys do from here.”
“We get a lot of support from people in the food and beverage industry,” said Morton, describing the decision to pop up at Cutty’s. “We live in the neighborhood, and we’ve always loved that bar.”
Morton and Ostop are hoping to add a Monday service catering to the F&B crowd, and they’re open to popping up at other locations in the future, they said.
Lupara’s next pop-up will start at 6 p.m. this Thursday, Feb. 4 at Cutty’s. (There’s even picnic table dining now set up outside.) For more information, follow Lupara on Instagram @lupara.chs.