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Old Spaghetti Company

t
Tripper Dec 21, 2006 03:10 AM

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

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  1. ChinoWayne Dec 21, 2006 04:42 AM

    "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
      c
      calabasas_trafalgar Dec 21, 2006 04:54 AM

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

      1. re: ChinoWayne
        s
        Sharuf Dec 21, 2006 12:47 PM

        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
          Gary Soup Dec 25, 2006 05:40 AM

          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. t
        Tripper Dec 21, 2006 02:40 PM

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

        1. deibu Dec 21, 2006 02:44 PM

          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
            h
            Heatherb Dec 21, 2006 03:55 PM

            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. j
            julesrules Dec 21, 2006 02:58 PM

            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. mamamia Dec 21, 2006 04:43 PM

              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. Xericx Dec 21, 2006 04:49 PM

                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
                  ipsedixit Dec 21, 2006 05:39 PM

                  Actually, I would put it BELOW Bucca di Beppo.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    Xericx Dec 21, 2006 06:24 PM

                    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
                      ipsedixit Dec 21, 2006 06:58 PM

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

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        OCAnn Dec 21, 2006 07:27 PM

                        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
                          c
                          calabasas_trafalgar Dec 21, 2006 07:58 PM

                          1. BdB
                          HUGE GAP

                          2. OG
                          3. MG/OSF

                          never been to Maggiano's

                          1. re: OCAnn
                            Xericx Dec 21, 2006 09:01 PM

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

                            1. re: Xericx
                              OCAnn Dec 21, 2006 09:09 PM

                              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
                                Xericx Dec 21, 2006 10:20 PM

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

                                1. re: OCAnn
                                  l
                                  Loren3 Dec 22, 2006 05:57 PM

                                  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
                                    silverbear Dec 22, 2006 06:12 PM

                                    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. silverbear Dec 21, 2006 11:50 PM

                      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. mamamia Dec 22, 2006 02:34 AM

                        re: imminent birth of first child

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

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mamamia
                          silverbear Dec 22, 2006 03:19 AM

                          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. free sample addict aka Tracy L Dec 24, 2006 01:44 AM

                          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. s
                            Sacto_Damkier Dec 24, 2006 06:49 AM

                            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. m
                              misti Dec 24, 2006 07:43 AM

                              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.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: misti
                                ChinoWayne Dec 24, 2006 07:49 PM

                                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
                                  c
                                  calabasas_trafalgar Dec 25, 2006 05:24 AM

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

                                  1. re: ChinoWayne
                                    r
                                    RYNO1992 Dec 24, 2008 11:49 PM

                                    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
                                    OCAnn Dec 28, 2006 09:37 PM

                                    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
                                      Gary Soup Dec 29, 2006 01:14 AM

                                      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.

                                  3. Gary Soup Dec 29, 2006 01:26 AM

                                    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. Xericx Dec 30, 2006 08:45 AM

                                      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. j
                                        jdub1371 Dec 31, 2006 05:38 AM

                                        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. r
                                          rednails Aug 25, 2008 04:16 PM

                                          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. s
                                            swissgirl Sep 1, 2008 04:58 PM

                                            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.

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