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Jul 30, 2008 08:47 AM

Casa Bianca Eagle Rock - Best Pizza Ever

Right now I'm eating some left over Casa Bianca pizza from last night. My wife and I went there last night after going to the movies at the City Walk. The staff is the best at that restaurant. The waitresses are top notch there. Always friendly and professional. Very nice. The woman at the register I think is the owner or the daughter of the man who started it in 1955. She's always nice and pleasant. I tell you the pizza at Casa Bianca can not be beat. I should put a bad review so more people won't be attracted to the place and crowd it up even more than it is but I like the restaurant and the staff and owner so I won't diss then just to try to keep it less crowded. I say two thumbs up. Oh I love how it has not changed since 1955. Well I was not born yet and not been to the restaurant until 2001 so I don't know for sure but I have a feeling it has not changed a bit. I love the informal atmosphere and the old school restaurant look to it. Very comfortable. Great food reasonable prices. Be ware the wait but get their early and you should be okay.

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  1. Oh, boy, you're in big trouble now...!

    I'm with you 100%, HoundDogz, but this place is the subject of more argument than anything this side of politics and religion. Those of us who grew up eating sloppy, goopy old-school pizza, who agree with the (recently-deceased) founder that the correct mushrooms for pizza are canned ones, love and adore Casa Bianca. Many others disagree, despising the very things we like, such as the fact that it has "not changed since 1955". They prefer modern "improvements", or fault it because it's not authentic Neopolitan or something. No, it's authentic mid-'50s Middle-American, and long may she wave!

    30 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Will, well written. I see so many people at the Chowhound board that Casa Bianca is horrible. Well tell that to the countless people who will wait an hour or more just to be seated to eat there. They love it and so do I, so does Will. Yes I also heard that the founder had died recently. John Nesee (spell?) of Galcos in Highland Park told me that recently the founder of Casa Biance did pass away. I never saw the founder but I guess the founder is the woman at the register's father or grandfather, not sure.

      The woman told me that the pizza is a Chicago pizza that her father (or grand father, I forget which because this was awhile ago she told me this) used to make in Chicago and brought it to California. I said most people think of Chicago as deep dish and she said yes, but in the old days Chicago pizza was thin crust. Thank God for thin crust. I also make a very good thin crust from scratch at home. Yeah too many people want a fancy restaurant with the latest trendy designs and stuff but to me I feel at home at Casa Bianca and not at home at some fancy place. I'm glad they have not changed since 1955. Also they are not some retro restaurant. You know a nostalgic diner like a new cafe that is '50s style. They are the real deal and real thing. I'm glad some people don't like the restaurant because if those who don't like it liked it the wait would be even longer. I saw Coach Cutlip there about 3 years ago waiting with his kids for a seat. He was waiting outside with the tons of others that couldn't wait to get in. I forgot his real name. Coach Cutlip was on the Wonder Years as the Coach that Kevin Arnold feared. He also was on one of the more recent Star Treks and some other shows.

      1. re: HoundDogz

        "Will, well written. I see so many people at the Chowhound board that Casa Bianca is horrible. Well tell that to the countless people who will wait an hour or more just to be seated to eat there."

        FWIW they're out the door at Soup Plantation, Cheesecake Factory, Buca di Bepa, etc. Doesn't mean a thing.

        1. re: The Old Man

          I think it means something I think it means if people are waiting at Soup Plantation, Cheesecake Factory and so forth that tons of people like it and it's an indication that it's good. Whether you like it or not is another story but they like it so it's a possible good sign. Rather go to a restaurant that had patrons than one that lacks patrons because no customers is a bad sign.

          1. re: HoundDogz

            " I think it means if people are waiting at Soup Plantation, Cheesecake Factory and so forth that tons of people like it and it's an indication that it's good"

            I gotta disagree with you there. Soup Plantation??!?! That and "good" shouldn't be in the same universe together. Same with Cheesecake factory and ESPECIALLY Buca Di Deppo!

            1. re: Diana

              And they also wait at Palermo's, Tommy's, Pink's, Tito's, etc., and yet NONE are worthy of stepping foot in.
              And buca di burpo, even worse!
              So lines are not the criteria I care about.
              Quality pizza I might be enticed into, but still....

              1. re: carter

                People, don't be so critical of my posts. I was simply stating that if there are long lines to get in those people like it. I didn't say that you like it. You obviously are not the ones standing in line to eat at those places. I was stating that Casa Bianca is great in my humble opinion and all those waiting there like it too.

                But I see your point also because people stand in line at Pinks, 20 people deep for a product that is good but not good enough for me to wait in line for. That Pinks is over rated and not worth waiting an hour for a hot dog. I get what you are saying but aparently those waiting in line at Pinks love it to wait in line that long. I rather go to Okie Dog, the homeless, vagrant infested hot dog place down the street where there is no waiting.

              2. re: Diana

                Diana, I have to admit I don't like Soup Plantation but with all those people there it does mean they like it unless they are first time visitor's there but for the most part they are there because they like it. So that means something, maybe to them but not me but if it was really super bad in their minds they would not be there which indicates others probably like it too.

                1. re: HoundDogz

                  I have to agree.. there must be a reason why they wait in line and there are plenty of repeat customers in those lines. It's a matter of taste (or lack thereof) but to each his or her own. Two buck chuck flies off the shelves at Trader Joes but I don't think much of it - that's my opinion. I think all chain pizza places stink but still they keep selling tons of pizza. They must like something about it and it can't be the price because the prices aren't any better (and the sizing is ridiculous.. "jumbo size" = 14". lol..

                2. re: Diana

                  Exactly. It's a great mistake to think that popularity = quality. Certainly it's a bad sign if a restaurant is deserted, but it isn't necessarily a sign of quality if it's jammed--just that it appeals to the lowest common dominator.

                  1. re: Diana

                    Food, politics and religion can inspre some crazy logic. Maybe it depends on the hunger of the consumer but I agree with you Diana. If popularty were the touchstone then McD most be the best food maker n the wolrd -- Right? I think that argument goes much further toward ending popular voting for public office.

                    Pizza begins and ends with the crust and CB has no crust worth menton. Thus CB is not worth mention. Don't get me started on religion!

                    1. re: JeetJet

                      You and I agree - crust is the maker or breaker of a good pizza. But in terms of doing something well, I guess you have to say McD does what it does quite well, which is provide food fairly quickly, cheaply and in a bright environment. I think their service stinks but then they've got the fast food down to a science. People want quick these days, often in preference over quality hence the popularity of those awful chains. Or, maybe it's just they don't know any better. If you grew up with nothing but McD or Pizza Hut, you might think they're the best because you never ventured anywhere else. Also: there's comfort in numbers. Like people fawning over an expensive wine because Parker gave it a 95, who is going to go in and argue the point when everyone else is raving about it?

                      1. re: monkuboy

                        Actually, McD has some good french fries and knows how to make a Coke -- taste and bubbles are just right. CB has some very good toppings but they really need to venture out and taste the thin crust at the good places and think about what they can do to make a real pizza crust and not the cracker they serve those good toppings on which, IMO, breaks the pizza they serve at those high prices.

                        1. re: JeetJet

                          Hi JeetJet... You really consider CB's prices to be "high" ? Really?
                          Their large sausage pizza is under $14, an order of garlic bread goes for $1.50, lasagna's about $9, and their sandwiches are under $6. This is based on the online menu, so unless they've recently increased dramatically, I can't think of more reasonable prices coming from a non-chain...

                          1. re: silence9

                            Say silence, what it is? CB is over priced for two reasons. First, a pizza with a cracker crust has no value. I use to think it was good until I realized I was too focused on the cheese and sausage. Second, even though the cheese and sausage are very good, they simply do not give you enough of it for how much they charge.

                            The last two times I had CB pizzas I bought two large. When they take your money ($30 - plus) they hand you two boxes that seem to be empty compared to what Petrillos gives you -- dollar for dollar. When you buy a pizza at Petrillos (which has the same quality of cheese and sausage plus a real pizza crust -- ask for thin crust!) you better hold it with two hands because it may be heavier then you expect. At CB the only reason to use two hands is so the wind does not blow the box out of your hands. Bottom line is -- reasonable prices are relative to what you get in return for what you pay. IMO, CB does not deliver.

                            1. re: JeetJet

                              OK Jeet, you make a compelling case for me to give Petrillos a try. Will report back. Thanks...

                                1. re: silence9

                                  Enjoy. Also, you must request thin crust and pie cut. The large is a rectangle and always cut into squares but the med. is round (about the size of the large at CB) and it is also cut into squares unless you tell them you want pie cut.

                                2. re: JeetJet

                                  Some people like a cracker crust as you call it. And if they gave you a thicker pizza crust it would not cost much more to make really. So I think the price is right for the pizza. Oh I couldn't call it cracker crust because cracker crust like pizzas crack when you eat them like Shakey's. Yes I mentioned Shakey's but it's an example of the cracker crust. Cracker crust is also known as California crust pizza too.

                                  1. re: HoundDogz

                                    Hey HoundDogz, have you tried Bollinis? From your replys it sounds like you enjoy ultra thin crust. I had a very nice thin crust with pesto app there last week before the "Cal Twist" pizza came to our table. All was very good but the pizza would have been more perfect with less toppings. Don't take that wrong. The Cal Twist is great but IMO it would have been even better with less. The pizza has Sauce, basil pesto, shrimp, sun dried tomato, roasted peppers,mozzarella, herbs and parmesan. Next time I will order only the sauce, basil pesto, sun dried tomato, mozzarella, herbs and parmesan. If I add anything more it would be olive oil. Oh, I forgot, this is a ultra thin cracker style crust.


                                  2. re: JeetJet

                                    If Casa Bianca changed its crust in even the slightest particular, they would love me - and probably two-thirds of their customers - in a heartbeat. You like the soggy, doughy mess, the oversweetened tomato sauce, the industrial sausage that Petrillo's serves, terrific. There are pizzerias for everyone in Los Angeles. But to impugn a pizza that serves a family of four splendidly for $15 as overpriced? That's a different universe.

                                    1. re: condiment

                                      "You"???? Who "You lke soggy, doughy mess,???? Nol! Not me--never!

                                      Read this thread again. "Thin crust" at Petrillos is what was talked about and thin is never doughy. Sausage is the same as CB and neither place IMO can be said to serve "industrial sausage." The only difference is Petrillos delivers more of it. Soggy? Well, that sounds like somebody orders way too many vegies and that is what happens anyplace with those wet vegies leakng all over the crust inside the oven. McD can beat the $15 price point and if hungry enough McD can "seem" splended. I agree that many people can like CB crust. Sometimes I like cheese and crackers but when I want pizza I want a pizza crust!

                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                        Even Petrillo's regular crust is not soggy or doughy. It still has a very good chew to it.. I need to try the thin style, though -never had that one. Now the heaviest pizza I've ever had is Angelo's in Alhambra. A box with their pizza makes Petrillo's seem light. And they have a sign in their takeout room warning people to hold the box horizontally when carrying.. sigh. our wonderful legislators in California feel the need to put warning signs up about everything. Admittedly Angelos is not compelled by law to put up a sign like that but I can just imagine why they did put it up, because of some customer carrying pizza out under their arm.

                    2. re: HoundDogz

                      The lady running the place is the daughter in law of the original owner. As far as the waitresses being professional, most are part time students from Occidental College.
                      I will say most of the time I'm pretty satisfied with their pizza, but one day I went on a Tuesday at 4pm when they first open (after being closed Sunday & Monday) and the pizza crust was like cardboard. I got a feeling I got a pizza from the batch of dough left over from Saturday night.

                      (picture: sausage & garlic pizza)

                      1. re: monku

                        Odd you got cardboard pizza crust. I went there yesterday, Tuesday and it wasn't like cardboard. Dominos is like cardboard sometimes.

                        1. re: HoundDogz

                          Maybe you got some fresher dough. I was literally the first customer there when they opened on Tuesday. I think once fresh dough rises and then sits around for 2+ days it probably falls and isn't going to make very good crust.

                          1. re: monku

                            If the lady at the register is the daughter-in-law then is the man who is at the counter sometimes at the register, the son of the original owner, and of course the lady's husband? I think one of the waitresses might be the daughter of that lady at the register, I see a strong resemblance.

                            1. re: HoundDogz

                              Was years ago but she was at the register and she pointed to that guy saying it was her husband, the owner's son. She seems to run the show everytime I'm there.

                              1. re: monku

                                The owner's son, her husband I see around there I guess that's him and he seems grumpy most the time. I have not seen him there in about 6 months but most the time I have seen him he looks like a grouch. Now she's pleasant and a nice one.

                                1. re: HoundDogz

                                  This was several years ago when I spoke to her. I definitely asked her if she was the owner's daughter and she said no. I think that her husband at the time was having some health issues ...maybe every day is a struggle for him.

                      2. The original comment has been removed
                        1. must... keep... angry... fingers... from... typing... a... response... to... this... thread...:)j/k

                          Personally, I think Casa Bianca is mediocre for what I'm expecting in a pizza but if HoundDogz loves it then it's great for him/her and all the power to him/her. Finding mass common ground on the best pizza in this town is becoming futile at this point.

                          HoundDogz, I suggest trying some of the more "reputable" pizzas that have been mentioned on these boards like Vito's, Village Pizzeria, Damiano's, or Brownstone (just down the street from Casa Bianca) and let us know how it compares to your experience with Casa Bianca afterwards.

                          Regardless, enjoy all the pizzas because, well, it's just pizza!!! Ok, maybe not JUST pizza... it is part cheese/sauce/dough and part elixir for the soul for some people like myself.

                          2 Replies
                          1. Agreed, exactly what is meant by "reputable?" Casa Bianca is one of the most well-known pizza places in So Cal and has many fans.

                            1. re: monkuboy

                              By "reputable", I don't mean better. I simply was referring to the commonly preferred NY style pizza places in town. My apologies in a poor choice of words as Casa Bianca is certainly a reputable place.

                          2. We removed some posts that are not acceptable and wanted to ask everyone to remember a key point of etiquette for Chowhound.

                            We encourage everyone to express their opinions on the food, especially if they're contrary points of view. There is no right or wrong food opinion here. It's ok to criticize the chow, not the chowhound. We want everyone to feel free to express their opinion without feeling singled out, made wrong, or shouted down.

                            Sorry for the interruption, and we ask that everyone get back to discussing pizza options found uniquely in the L.A region. Thanks.

                            1. hey houndDogz. i like casa bianaca. you're not the only one. and i'm from NY! and i hate soup plantation and the cheesecake factory. while i might not agree that big lines equals great food, nor do i think its the BEST pizza ever to wait 1hr for, I think they do a great job with the pizza. the only time i really didn't enjoy it as much is when i used to take it out. it doesn't travel well for some reason.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: trolley

                                Now, someone that makes sense besides Will and me. Glad you enjoy it. Trolley welcome to the wild west. LA is still the wild west but a good place to be. I think the best pizza is the pizza I make on my charcoal barbecue but the best restaurant, well you know my opinion! I wonder, I have to search Lamonica's NY Pizza to hear the opinions here.

                                1. re: HoundDogz

                                  My apologies to Old Man. I didn't mean to get out of hand about this. My apologies to you from me.

                                  1. re: HoundDogz

                                    Thank you, that's two of us. And as I said in a deleted post--and I'm not sure why it was one of the ones deleted--I've been wanting to go there and I will make a point this year.

                                2. re: trolley

                                  Here's my question for those of you who really like Casa Bianca... did you have your pizza with toppings or plain cheese? My disappointment with Casa Bianca is that it doesn't quite deliver the kick in the sauce that I like in a plain cheese pizza but I've also heard that the best way to order the pizza there is with toppings like sausage and such. Just curious what your version of pizza is that you prefer from there.

                                  1. re: mrshankly

                                    I'm not really a fan of the place itself--old school red sauce, forgettable bread... However, I go there for one thing --The homemade sausage, and fried eggplant pizza. The flavor combination (IMHO) is pure deliciousness. I'm not sure if it's the place for a plain cheese pizza (it might be for some), but if this combo sounds appealing to you, as it did me, go for it, you won't be sorry. To be honest, I've never ordered anything but salad and this pizza. Chowhound told me to order this flavor combo, I did it, and I haven't looked back. Enjoy!

                                    1. re: debra

                                      I liked the lasagna there too. I had some there last night and had some as a left over today. Some of you might want to try Niki C's in Pasadena on Rosemead Blvd. It's very good too and it's fancy and more upscale unlike old school CB. I love the old school feel of CB but some don't like that therefore you might try Niki C's. Not sure if anyone has reviewed it here.

                                      1. re: HoundDogz

                                        I didn't mean to imply that I prefer fancy or upscale -- just adding my take on the particular style of food they serve, is all I really meant. I'm down with the physical charm of the place. I like deliciousness, and what I think they excel in, is the flavor combo of their sausage and egglant pizza --not something you find on just anyones menu, and not something that just any place would necessarily make as freaking delicious. Whether it comes in the form of my favorite burger (at high end arnie mortons), or my favorite hondureno (at atmosphereless Lempira), I love that Chowhound offers me a window into peoples likes and dislikes, recommendations, and pans, and let's me choose my path toward delicious enlightenment.

                                        I personally think that there are a lot of worthwhile places that do a few things amazingly well, and the rest of the menu leaves a lot to be desired. That's seriously subjective, I know --Thank God for Chowhound.

                                        Viva Chowhound!

                                      2. re: debra

                                        Exactly. At CB, you stick to any combo of sausage/onion or eggplant/garlic (or any combination thereof) and you get an incredible pizza. Anything else is a matter of personal taste.

                                      3. re: mrshankly

                                        Frankly mrshankly, I ordered the pepperoni and sausage pizza. I always order pizzas with extra sauce because I love pizza sauce. It tasted good. I like the sauce. I know you are gonna say you should not have to order any pizza with extra sauce because it should be good as is. I agree but I didn't order extra sauce because I think this pizza should have extra I just think all pizzas should since I like it. Sometimes I order without extra sauce and it taste good to me.

                                        1. re: HoundDogz

                                          I'll definitely have to try the sausage and eggplant pizza... maybe even tonight!!!

                                          Thanks to all for the recommendations.

                                          Hound, it's good to know that there still exist some Smiths fans:)