Agnes Restaurant & Cheesery
Where we've featured it
Agnes, a new American comfort food spot in Pasadena focuses on the most important things in life – dairy, cheese, and excellent pasta. The whole place feels like an upscale dairy farm in the Midwest, paying homage to the head chef’s Iowan upbringing. So it’s pretty par for the course that they’d have amazing ice cream for dessert, perfect, milky vanilla soft serve that tastes like the one you’d find at McDonald’s, but somehow richer, and definitely made with better ingredients. The milk is so fresh and there are little ice crystals that make it dense and chewy. Plus, you get your pick of toppings like cookie crumble, seasonal fruit, and, in true Midwestern fashion, puppy chow.
Agnes’s space in downtown Pasadena used to be an actual horse stable, so needless to say, there’s all sorts of room at this upscale Midwestern spot that also doubles as a cheesery. Sitting at a table in the main dining room with the meat-filled hearth roaring in the background is certainly an experience worth having, but if you’re with a big group, the shaded back patio is the way to go. Here you’ll have all the space you’ll need to spread out and fill up your table with dishes like cornbread eclairs, loaded baked potato dumplings, and puppy chow ice cream. Plus, you’ll also have a front row seat to Agnes’s pasta-making room.
The formula at Agnes is quite simple - the American comfort food spot serves nothing but cheese, soft serve, and big bowls of pasta. From the giant wooden beams soaring across the dining hall to the fiery hearth roaring in the back, the whole place feels like an upscale dairy farm, which is no coincidence, given the chef’s Midwestern upbringing. They’ve got not one, but two impressive patios - one on the street, barricaded off from the traffic of Green St., plus one in the rear. You enter through the dining room, first passing their charming meat & cheese market, before arriving at giant wooden tables with front-row seats to the best show in the house - the glass-encased room where all of Agnes’ pastas are made.
Agnes, the American comfort food spot in Pasadena and newest name on this list by far, focuses on the most important things in life – dairy, cheese, and excellent pasta. The whole place feels like an upscale dairy farm in the Midwest and pays homage to the head chef’s Iowan upbringing. So, it’s pretty par for the course that they’d have amazing ice cream for dessert – perfect, milky vanilla soft serve that tastes like the one you’d find at McDonald’s, but somehow richer, and definitely made with better ingredients. The milk is so fresh and there are little ice crystals that make it dense and chewy. Plus, you get your pick of toppings like cookie crumble, seasonal fruit, and, in true Midwestern fashion, puppy chow.
As you walk through Agnes’s massive barn doors on Green St. in Pasadena, don’t be alarmed if you’re hit with a bucolic-type nostalgia you didn’t even know existed within you. There’s a wine and cheese market up front, a giant hearth roaring in the back, and giant wooden beams soaring across the dining room. The whole place feels like an upscale dairy farm in the Midwest and that’s very much on purpose. Agnes is an homage to the head chef’s Iowa upbringing, with a tremendous menu filled with giant cuts of meat, pasta, and of course, lots and lots of incredible cheese. For native Midwesterners (like myself), seeing things like cheese curds with buttermilk ranch and puppy chow on the menu might make you immediately text a high school friend, “I’m at a restaurant in Pasadena that serves puppy chow.” Don’t feel bad about it. This place is designed to rehash all sorts of childhood comforts - and that’s about as exciting as it gets.
Even as someone who identifies as mildly lactose intolerant, walking into Agnes was like entering the dairy heaven of my dreams. Much like the Sims house I spent two months building in the summer between seventh and eighth grade, this new Pasadena restaurant and cheesery (!) includes everything I cherish most in this world: giant plates of cured meat, glass-encased workstations where you can see the chef lovingly rolling pasta, old horse stables, a cheese and wine market, and incredible soft serve. It’s a wild mix, inspired by the chef’s Iowan upbringing and is located in a massive barn on Green St. with a giant hearth roaring in the back. It’s the perfect place to bring your parents or an out-of-town friend, or whenever you need a big ol’ dose of comfort and nostalgia injected into your veins.
Located in a former horse stable built in 1922, Agnes is a new American restaurant in Pasadena specializing in three things we could all use more of - nostalgia, comfort, and lots of cheese. Created by chefs/owners Vanessa and Thomas Tiaka Kalb (who previously worked together at one of our favorite pasta restaurants in the Bay Area, Flour + Water), Agnes serves cut-to-order cheese boards, rigatoni in red sauce, pineapple-glazed meatballs, and creamy soft serve for dessert. They are currently open for dinner service only (reservations can be made here) with Sunday brunch coming soon.
We checked out Agnes and added it to The LA Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Los Angeles. Read more about it here.