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Petrillo's Pizza in San Gabriel. Good food, but lousy hostesses

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I have been going to Petrillo's on and off since the 90's. My husband and I went this past Friday and was met with a short blond girl with a pretty bad attitude. She never said hello and said we had to wait. She made us wait and we waited patiently. By the way we got there about 8:30-9PM and 3/4 of the restaurant was vacant.

She then had the audacity to ask if we were ready (we were wondering when this gal would ever seat us)and looked at us impatiently as if we were taking too long to follow her. She dumped us off at the booth, mumbled something under her breath, and left marching away.

The server was pleasant and did a good job. The manager lady or owner is usually pleasant too. There is another hostess with long dark black hair and really white face that reminds me of Vampira. She usually has no personality too, just like the blond girl.

My husband and I laugh at the Lurch-like(of Addams Family fame) hostesses and remark if it wasn't for the great pizza and servers we would never go there. For the San Gabriel Valley, it definitely has some of the best pizza and pasta. I like the lasagna a lot.

When I was in college I was a hostess for a four-star Italian restaurant and I also was a server for Houston's too. I'd have to say working in the restaurant business for a while teaches you a lot about customer service. Like how important it is to have that in a business, especially if you want to be open for a while. You never know even finer restaurants have closed especially in a bad economy.

While we were eating, one of the guys came over to vacuum the floor right next to us and other patrons. I couldn't believe it, there were at least 6 other tables still eating right near us and he was vacuuming. Really bad form and hilarious.

The best part was when we were leaving. The blond gal asked us how was everything. I muttered fine. She was eating a large salad and chewing it while she asked us. It was the typical "no manners exactly what you would expect from a bad hostess, with a crap attitude syndrome."

If you eat there I hope your experience is better than mine. Since eating there all these years this is the typical experience of mine, unfortunately. Good thing I don't work for Zagat huh?

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  1. Wow, that's really incredible about the poor service! I have lots of great childhood (late 1960s, early 70s) memories of Petrillo's where Dad took us frequently, and where years later my husband and I drove in to take our kids, now grown, for "the best pizza." Back then there was an older gal (white haired) who was one of the best waitresses ever. My dad commented that she seemed like she had roller skates on (she didn't, of course!) the way she got around so quickly.

    Before Petrillo's, we used to go to a little place (San Gabriel or Rosemead) where the old Italian guy actually made the pizza and tossed it right in front of you. That was before Claro's was even there, I think. When he retired (or passed away) we started going to Petrillo's.

    1. The hostesses used to be the best, before they had the fire and shut down for a year or so. After they reopened the hostesses are the worst, the waitresses and other staff are fine, but I hear you about the hostesses!

      1. The food there did nothing for me. I can't understand the hype about their pizza, unless it is a nostalgic thing. Seemed as sub-average as it gets.

        1 Reply
        1. re: epop

          I like the pizza a lot there. I ask for thin crust. It's not super thin like Casa Bianca but it's thin nevertheless. The lasagna is also very good too. I think lasagna is pretty standard stuff tho but I think with pizza you'll find a big difference between restaurants. So the lasagna is good but you can probably find that some where else just as good. Pizza well it's one of the best I've had. Proves people have different taste.

        2. I agree the hostesses are not that good. The one that you called vampira wasn't really super white in complexion but I'd say she looked gray in color. The blondish one is friendlier than the vampira hostess but still she has a long way in learning how to be cheerful towards customers. I have only been going to this establishment for about 2 and a half years. I don't know how it was years ago but I did know of it. I never bothered to try it until recently and glad I did. Nicky C's out on Rosemead Blvd is very good too but it's more of a fancy place than Petrillos.

          1. Never had the vacuuming experience, but the listless "could care less" attitude seems to be a staple.

            Usually I'm most annoyed at how difficult it is to catch someone's eye for a refill on drinks.

            The San Gabriel location always seems to have a lot of unbussed tables - which baffles me.

            But, funny enough, it's not 'bad' enough to keep me away. Maybe I've come to expect a bored hostess and 'I wanna go home" waitresses. I suppose it's a good thing it's a pizza joint - other than drinks and taking the order, there isn't too much 'table maintenance' required.

            The Glendora location, in comparison, has much better customer service overall - FYI

            3 Replies
            1. re: The Oracle

              Yep, yep the service @ Glendora is much better.

              Seems after the fire at San Gabriel the older waitress didn't stick around. Even when we're next door @ the take out.... just not the same as the old Petrillo's. But, for the Petrillo's Special... worth the effort.

              1. re: The Oracle

                Had to update this - was just at the San Gabriel location over the weekend. Had the BEST Specialty Pizza - seriously - best pie there to date.

                In any case, about 1/2 way through, one of the guys comes through with a cordless vacuum cleaner, picking up dirt around the floor - it was still pretty early in the evening (maybe 7:30pm?). One of the older patrons gave him an earful about doing so while people were eating... the vacuuming was so quick it didn't bother me at all.. but, hopefully he got the point for the future!

                1. re: The Oracle

                  Where is the manager in all this? Are people complaining to the manager? This seems to be a repeat problem that they aren't resolving. I haven't had the vacuuming experience at Petrillo's, but one of the most baffling things to me when eating in any restaurant is when they have the workers/busboys clean a table w/ some kind of ridiculously strong-smelling bleach or cleaner. I'm eating here!

              2. My only experience with Petrillo's is takeout with the Glendora site. They had messed up my order. I had called it in, was told it would take 20-30 minutes. I got there in 20 minutes and found that my order had not been processed, and I was inconvenienced by waiting 20 minutes longer for my pizza. I was pretty upset because no one had apologized for the screw up. I finally asked for the manager and told him what had happened. Finally he offered a 4 pack of soda as an apology. That gesture made me a fan.

                By the way, the pizza, pepperoni and mushroom, was really good. The crust was just okay, but the nice and ample blend of ingredients with the mozarella made up for it. I would order it again.

                1. We entered the restuarant at 8:45 and they told us they were closed when the hours clearly said 9:00!

                  1. Petrillos used to be my all time favorite pizza, until I visited New York and was introduced to the famous New York Style pizza. Hands down, New York has the best pizza! There is no comparison.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Doc_H

                      LOL yea it seems they get some HS chick bimbet to be the hostess at both locations.

                      haven't been to the S G location for at least a half year, but used to go often (yea before the fire) agree the pizza is nothing special, but I used to get it a lot to split with co workers

                      I like the 2 item combo, usually the veal parma & cantelloni with all that sauce & cheese! to bad they cut the Romaine for the caesars, but they should bottle that dressing

                      oh and the antipasta salad is bleah!

                      still think the place is a hidden gem, though the wait can be bad, at least the Glendora location has tables for the take out