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Old Spaghetti Company

Our town is getting an Old Spaghetti Company restaurant. Has anyone tried this chain?

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  1. "Old Spaghetti Company"?, in California there is a chain called "Old Spaghetti Factory", don't know if it is the same chain or not. Ate there once, the food is cheap, and the spaghetti sauce is one step above dog food.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ChinoWayne

      That's pretty accurate except it's not that cheap!

      1. re: ChinoWayne

        There was a Spaghetti Factory" in SF's North Beach in the 60's and maybe 70's. It was a jolly place better known for its vibe than for its food. I trust there is no connection to the chain of the same name.

        1. re: Sharuf

          Actually, Freddie Kuh, the owner of the original Old Spaghetti Factory in SF's north beach sold the name when he got tired of the place, and went on to run a place called the Savoy Tivoli. So there is a connection, via the name. I spent a lot of time at the bar at the OSF drinking draft Anchor Steam Beer from the original producer; I believe the OSF was the last bar to carry it. My passion for Anchor Steam was shared by a guy named Fritz Maytag, whom I often drank alongside of. He bought the company, but QC did away with a lot of the beer's spontaneous character, IMHO.

          The spaghetti was good, with a choice of several sauces, and it was AYCE.

      2. Thanks...you are correct. I had the name wrong. It is "factory". Sorry to hear it isn't better.

        1. I went to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Seattle in the early 90's. On the East Coast there is "Spaghetti Warehouse" which is very, very similar. We had one here in Columbia, SC but it closed down a few years ago. They were both pretty crappy...

          1 Reply
          1. re: deibu

            I would be hesitant to eat at any restaurant with the word "Warehouse" in its name. I may make that one of my Rules to Live By, actually...

          2. I can't believe these are still around, let alone still opening new locations. It was a favourite destination for birthday parties when I was around 5.

            1. We have one right down the street. We visit a few times a year. But before you throw the rotten tomatoes, let me add a disclaimer that we go because it's very very kid friendly. My little one can make noise and a mess without getting the hairy eyeball from the staff. And they offer spumoni with each meal for dessert - kids love that.

              We definitely don't go for the food. We look at it as taking one for the team in the name of convenient family dining.

              If you have small kids, I would go, but I wouldn't go out of my way to visit.

              1. I actually went for my b-day dinner when I did go to Oregon....parents like the place and it is pretty cheap. The chain is super variable....I went to one in Monrovia, CA and the noodles were overcooked and the sauce runny...went to the one in Portland (where it was started...they have a REALLY nice flagship restaruant right on the water in a faux mansion) and it was not bad....pasta was al dente and sauce was appropriate.

                As far as chains of pasta places go, I would put this above Bucca di Beppo and Romano's Macaroni grill and below Maggianos. The menu is very limited but the prices are low...10-11 bucks for a meal with a salad/soup (bad), bread, pasta, drink and ice cream.

                10 Replies
                1. re: Xericx

                  Actually, I would put it BELOW Bucca di Beppo.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I've been to Bucca twice and thought it was horrible. Bad expeience and food and you'd have to drag me there to eat there again.......the meatballs were huge though...

                    I may have some bias though with Old Spaghetti Factory as I have been going there since I was a kid + the original flagship location is likely better than the other chains.

                    1. re: Xericx

                      I think both are pretty equal in terms of quality, but BdB gets nod over OSF with its variety.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        In the pasta hierarchy, I'd rate similary, with:

                        #1 BdB (I go for their pizza)
                        #2 MG & Maggiano's

                        #4 OSF
                        #5 Olive Garden

                        1. re: OCAnn

                          1. BdB
                          HUGE GAP

                          2. OG
                          3. MG/OSF

                          never been to Maggiano's

                          1. re: OCAnn

                            When I went to Bucca Di Beppo for their pizza, it was soggy with grease. Like small pools of olive oil.

                            1. re: Xericx

                              Maybe it varies by location? I only order their Margharita and it's always been nice w/tomatoes (little or no sauce), fresh mozzarella and lots of basil on a hot thin crust.

                              1. re: OCAnn

                                probably. first time I had the pizza it wasn't bad (Encinitas)...second time it was atrocious (Redondo Beach)

                                1. re: OCAnn

                                  It must vary by location, as with most franchises (vs. true chains). I live in the twins, home of B di B, and it's quite decent, much better than OG and far and away better than OSF. OSF is consistently inedible, but as mamamia points out in her post, it's kid friendly. It's also almost always a destination for apalling bus tours full of people who do actually eat chef boy ar dee at home.

                                  1. re: Loren3

                                    Funnny comment. I once told a coworker I refused to eat at OSF because it is no better than Chef-Boy-Ardee. She replied, defiantly, that she liked C-B-A. At that point, I knew we just had to agree to disagree.

                    2. There's an Old Spaghetti Factory in the heart of Phoenix that I've been dragged to a few times over the years. Amazingly, our local paper's Web site just published a favorable review:

                      http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dining//...

                      My own impression: It's like going into someone's cluttered attic and opening a can of Chef-Boy-Ardee.

                      I hope the imminent birth of my first child doesn't erode my resistance to this place. If I end up going there via minivan in a few years, I'll know I've lost whatever mojo I once had.

                      1. re: imminent birth of first child

                        Try taking a kid to Christopher's or Pizzeria Bianco. Heh.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mamamia

                          Christopher's -- I've seen it done, but it depends on the kid. PB -- I agree. I don't have the patience for the long wait there, so I can't imagine it working out for any child. Right now, I'm hoping we can get by with various ethnic favorites around Phoenix. I'll post my observations if I ever get a moment between diaper changes. Life is about to change in a huge way.

                        2. It's one of those places I always keep in mind when organizing a group dinner or lunch. The prices are reasonable, it is kid and loud adult friendly and if you are not discriminating about spaghetti, there is something for everyone (a lot of people that I know like the mizithra cheese and brown butter spaghetti). The closest one to my house is in an old train depot and has a trolley car w/booths. It's fun because they put it in the middle of a dining room. I had many first dates in that trolley car. Though the food isn't stellar the ambience is fun.

                          1. It is not a great Italian place, but I do like going there. I love the fresh bread with garlic butter and the Chicken Marsala with Mizithra Spaghetti. I also think that it is a great value for simple spaghetti dinners in a pleasant atmosphere. For a real Italian food experience, try Macaroni Grill, Il Fornaio, or any number of local Italian restaurants.

                            1. When I was about 11 we used to go to a flagship location in fresno. it was actually in an old warehouse rather than a new building made to look like an old warehouse. my mom used to order the spaghettii with mizithra cheese and have them add sauteed mushrooms. I remember it being pretty good.

                              Last time I went I was down visiting from San francisco and went to the new SF and it was really lame. The waiters were rude (i would be too if i was working there) the food was icky and it really just seemed like a big chain restaurant--which it is. But, as a kid I think it was better. It may just have been my lack or refined tastes, but I do think the quality has suffered. And I think yes, the quality probably differs from place to place.

                              It's not really Italian food and never really was, but at least before it was in an actual old building. I hate it when they make strip mall joints look old.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: misti

                                The Monrovia, California location is in a very charming old schoolhouse, the building is beautiful, but it is disgraced by the horrid excuse for Italian cooking that is served inside.

                                1. re: ChinoWayne

                                  Right you are. I'd be happy to go back there if I didn't have to eat!

                                  1. re: ChinoWayne

                                    I fail to see how the Duarte school house on Buena Vista got moved to Monrovia sice it has been in it's current location in Duarte since 1906 and you must exit the freeway at Buena Vista in Duarte and go forward about 800 feet to arrive there , which brings another point to light you claim " horrid excuse for italian cooking" just exactly what was wrong specifically? not generally...

                                    Duarte high Falcon alum.

                                  2. re: misti

                                    The Fullerton location is an old train station adjacent to the current station. The OSF website: www.osf.com/history/history.html stated that they put up restaurants in locations where rent would be cheap: so you see a lot of the Southern California restuarants in an old, historic building which once served another purpose.

                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                      That link works better without the ) at the end.

                                      A lot of that "history" is a crock. The the "founder" not only bought the name from a man named Freddy Kuh who operated the one and only original OSF (in an actual old spaghetti factory)in San Francisco, but also copied the "garage sale decor" concept as well as the value pricing (not including the AYCE component) from the original establishment of that name.

                                      1. re: Gary Soup

                                        Hi, Gary! THANK YOU for standing up for the ONLY legitimate OSF! Freddie was not only the founder, but he created the entire idea... and made it work for decades! The testimony is in the thousands of copycat restaurants who began putting up fake old stuff on their walls, etc. Then there's the Fake OSF who stole the name and ideas, but did a lousy job at trying to recreate it. I agree that the latter company's web page, 'Our story,' is really a crock!
                                        Fred did NOT sell it or 'tire of the place,' as you stated in a previous post here. I guess, now that you've found Fred's 'remembrance' in the 'Telegraph Hill Dweller,' you realize your earlier statement is inaccurate. Thank you for posting the article.
                                        In any case, I'm happy to read some memories from someone who actually spent some time at the OSF. I really miss the place, and the Savoy Tivoli on Grant, which he also created, but most of all, I miss my Uncle Freddie!

                                  3. The current exchange made me wonder whatever happened to Freddie Kuh, and Googling revealed that he died in 1997. An online PDF of a 2000 edition of the Telegraph Hill Dweller (a neighborhood paper in San Francisco) had this remembrance:

                                    "Three years ago, many of us gathered at a
                                    memorial to celebrate the incredible life of
                                    Freddie Kuh, the legendary Telegraph Hill entrepreneur
                                    who created North Beach’s famed landmark
                                    restaurant the Old Spaghetti Factory Caffé.
                                    Forty-five years ago, Fred leased a defunct
                                    pasta factory at 478 Green Street and turned it
                                    into the City’s first bohemian cabaret/restaurant.
                                    In the heyday of the Beatnik period, the place
                                    was renowned not only for serving bargain-priced
                                    spaghetti but as an incubator for local artists,
                                    musicians and the North Beach flamenco scene.

                                    Documentary filmmakers William Farley and
                                    Malcolm & Sandra Sharpe have captured this
                                    great era of North Beach history in their recently
                                    completed film, 'The Old Spaghetti Factory.'....."

                                    1. I actually went with the fam the other night to the NW Portland/Tanasbourne Location, it was not bad....the shrimp crostini was too salty but the lasange wasn't bad actually.

                                      1. Couple of years ago ate at the one in (I think) Concorde, CA. It was ok-- I had the chicken marsala, and the spagetti with mizithra cheese (*that* was good). More recently ate at the one in downtown San Jose and it was awful-- worse than cafeteria food.

                                        1. I hate to drag up an old thread, but I might as well. I had the unpleasant experience of dining at OSF in Stockton, CA this past Friday, for the only reason that I was visiting my son at college and wanted to go somewhere we hadn't been yet. Suffice to say that OSF probably has the most mediocre food I've ever eaten anywhere, bar none.

                                          My son and I shared the Bay Shrimp/Artichoke/Spinach appetizer. The Bay Shrimp was pretty scarce, and the portion size was pretty slim, tho we did ask for extra bread as we had some dip left over. It wasn't that great, but hey, we were hungry. It kind of looked pureed. Son ordered chicken parmesan, and I ordered (whole wheat) Linguine w/White Clam Sauce. Since they both came with either soup or salad, I ordered salad, and my son ordered minestrone soup. My salad was a pathetic, sad looking plate of iceberg lettuce, some shredded carrots, sliced tasteless plum tomatoes and (packaged) croutons, which I promptly offered to my son for his soup. His soup was somewhat tasty, tho probably canned.

                                          Next up--entrees. My linguine was a good size portion, but the white clam sauce was truly tasteless. I probably should have added salt or even pepper, which I never add to anything at table. Son's chicken parmesan was one standard size breast, served w/spaghetti marinara. As I did want to save room for dessert (OK, it was an early birthday for me) I ate half my pasta, and guess what--my son wanted to take that home instead of his spaghetti marinara.

                                          We shared a slice of chocolate mousse cake, layers of mousse w/traditional cake. It was definitely out of a box, probably frozen/thawed, tho it had more flavor than I expected. But no imagination in the presentation--predictably placed on a plate w/Hershey's chocolate syrup drizzled on it.

                                          There were 2 birthdays being celebrated in the restaurant besides mine--both parties sung to pathetically by the staff--so I definitely didn't want any notice of mine, even tho I could have gotten the dessert for free.

                                          Service was fair, even tho the restaurant was half empty the whole time we were there. Oh, and my son ordered a Rum & Coke, and they made it strong; I only drank Pepsi, as I had to drive home.

                                          I'm not in the habit of bashing restaurants, even chains, some of which are good at what they do (I do like Cheesecake Factory, BJs and a few others) but this was beyond my worst expectations. As we left, I thanked my son for treating me to dinner and promised him we would go somewhere else next time I come to visit, and of course, it would be my treat. I guess the best thing I can say about the dinner is that it was kind to my son's starving student wallet--$45.00 before tip.

                                          1. I like the downtown San Jose location with the train car in the middle of the restaurant. I don't know if other locations have that feature. The food is decent, nothing too special but the OSF is a good place for large groups. I do like the ravioli and the spumoni.

                                            1. Just curious… Why would anyone want to the old spaghetti?

                                              1. My wife worked at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Denver back in the 1970s, and often when we are in Denver we go back there for old times' sake. I think the Denver location was one of the earliest, opening in 1972... the original in Portland opened in 1969.

                                                I don't think the food is good, but it's a fun place (for us, at least!).

                                                Edit: Oops... didn't notice that this is a zombie thread!