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Sbarro?

This pizza joint was in the food court of a Gautemalan mall. I Google on the web and find it is a world wide chain that has over a dozen locations in Northern California where I live. I had never heard of it before, but it is all over the place.

Is it any good? What do you like there?

It was acquired in 2007 by a large restaurant group, but back in 1951 it opened as a little restaurant in Brooklyn. Anyone remember the early years and how it compares to what it is today?

http://www.sbarro.com/

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  1. I'd call it just okay...it's pizza and pasta and such...mall food, nothing more.

    I had to laugh, though, when we saw a big Sbarro at Moscow Domodedovo Airport. Sbarro in Cyrillic is a sight to see.

    1. I tried a piece of pizza at Sbarro in London's Heathrow Airport a few years back. It was one of the best pizza I'd ever had at an airport anywhere in the world then. But standards were inconsistent & later experiences were less than memorable.

      Last time I ate at Sbarro was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - a spinach-and-cheese-filled cannelloni. Like you said, it seems to be a worldwide chain.

      1 Reply
      1. re: klyeoh

        Antwerp only has one large shopping mall, and to my surprise, there is a Sbarro in it.

      2. I have no idea what it was 60 years ago, but 30 years ago it was already a mediocre fast-food-style chain sort of place (or had multiple locations in NYC, anyway, exclusively in high traffic/shopping areas.)

        I can't remember any details but 20 years ago, it had gotten so bad that I just stopped going, in favor of whatever other mediocre fast food is (invariably) also available in the immediate vicinity.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MikeG

          It's not a burger, and it's not fried...sometimes that's enough to tip the scale.

          1. re: MikeG

            In the early days the Sbarros kept a tight reign on quality, with all the food made at the original Bensonhurst location, well into the 1970s,

          2. I've always found Sbarro rather hideous and disgusting. Too many bad experiences with greasy crap pizza at highway rest stops and shopping malls, ugh.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sockii

              I still can't believe I never even heard of the joint. I guess I don't frequent shopping mall food courts or airports much these days.

            2. I don't care for it. Even if I'm stuck eating at a mall food court, I tend to opt for something else.

              Are there other food court pizza vendors? I'm not sure if I've ever seen anything but Sbarro.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Chimayo Joe

                Pizza de Roma and Villa Pizza are two. Both are, well, suitable for a food court.

                1. re: Chimayo Joe

                  In Guatemala, Domino's is in almost ever food court. Pizza Hut is in a few.

                  It has been so long since I've eaten Domino's pizza in the US that I don't know what they offer However, the Domino's pizza my husband brought home had a thick doughy crust which is a style preferred by locals. They are not into thin crust. It actually was pretty good.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Do the Guatemalan Domino's serve slices? They don't in the U.S., which is a big reason why you won't really see them in food courts here. That's odd to me, as Domino's earned ther place because of delivery.

                    1. re: Fibber McGee

                      They serve personal pizzas. I guess my husband ordered the "Crosty" pizza.
                      http://www.dominos.com.gt/contenido.p...

                      Like most places here, they have delivery by motorcycle
                      http://farm1.static.flickr.com/110/25...
                      http://antiguadailyphoto.com/2006/10/...

                      Calling them is speedy as the second link says that while Guatemala has eight digit phone numbers, companies can pay to get quickie four digit numbers. "All the numbers start with 17 and in the case of Domino’s they have 1730 for their 30 minutes or less promise/adverting campaign" Since that narrows it to 99 businesses that can have a four digit number, Domino's must be paying a , um boatload, of money for it ... even in Guatemala.

                      That link says they do sell pizza by the slice in Antigua

                      "Besides, the delivery bikes and the take-out restaurant, Domino’s Pizza has a kiosk in the Antigua’s market premises where they sell pizza by the slice (I bet, this you haven’t seen before)."

                2. For years the only pizza place we had ready access to was Pizza Hut, then we moved to a town with a mall and a Sbarro's in the food court. Compared to Pizza Hut it was/is amazing, but it is still fast food pizza.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mpjmph

                    I had Sbarro's for the first time in a long time a few weeks ago when I was stranded in the Atlanta airport overnight (original 11pm flight delayed, then finally canceled at 2am). Everything should have been closed by the time it was clear I was spending the night at the airport, but Sbarro stayed open through the night. The pizza wasn't great, but it was food and the staff was reasonably upbeat about working at 3am when they should have gone home at midnight.

                  2. I think it's awful, and I've tried hard to like it. I've had a lot of mall jobs and sometimes you're forced to eat at the food court. This is just the loser again and again. I will skip eating or eat a candy bar if that's all there is to eat.

                    1. We have many of them here in the NYC/NJ metro area. In my opinion, they are not very good.

                      1. Well the thing with pizza is, even if it's lousy it's still pretty good. This pizza is "Pretty good" if you know what I mean.

                        DT

                        1. While it's not the best pizza ever, it's my go-to rest stop choice when it's there because I can get veggie pizza. I'm of the "pizza is good even when it's bad" group of people.
                          Side story- back in college one of my sorority sisters worked there and would always bring home a few boxes of leftover pizza slices back to the house after her shift. We'd sit out front some nights, waiting for her, and fight over who would get the white pizza with tomatoes.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jessicheese

                            Having just patronized an airport Sbarro (the only time I eat there), I'm going to second that. Their stuffed spinach & broccoli pizza (with a cup of sauce on the side) is a welcome treat for a vegetarian navigating a sea of inedible fast food.

                          2. They are in Canada too. For me, they are "tolerable". A bit better than some other Italian chains.

                            1. I used to go to the one in the concourse of the World Trade Center :(

                              1. When I'm at the mall food court with my kids, I usually end up with a slice or two from Sbarro's. In the world of mall food court/rest stop/airport/train station eateries, Sbarros is in the top tier. You make take that however you wish. 8<D

                                1. I had some Sbarro's pizza at the airport in Sharm el Sheikh a few years ago. I consider it to be a last resort when there are no other vegetarian options available (which is occasionally the case in airports and malls... I think I also saw one in Moldova this summer). Cheese pizza it is.

                                  1. I haven't been to one in years, but 20 years ago, it was a new option in food court malls ...and for $5 you could get a decent meal,e.g. lasagna or real chicken parmigiana.

                                    As for NYC, they were probably all operated by the Reise Brothers Organization.

                                    1. It's been a while since I've eaten at one (Guessing 7 years), so things may have changed a lot. But, the last time I ate there, I was thinking that I've had better frozen and $1 pizzas.

                                      Some encouraging comments here... I may give them a shot sometime this month.

                                      1. I had a couple of slices from a Sbarros in Tokyo, and I dunno if it was just because I'd been eating Japanese pizza for a year, but it was fabulous. I wonder if the international stores have better quality ingredients.

                                        1. I do not know the origins of *Garlic Knots*, but I can tell you 30 years or so ago, Sbarro was the first place I noticed them in New Jersey pizza places.....now you can't go to a place that doesn't have them available on the menu.

                                          1. Happened to stop by one today. Had a plain, pepperoni and buffalo-chicken; they were the freshest. It was pretty much as I remembered them. They were by far the worst pizzas I've had in years, and I've had better frozen and $1 pizzas (Which are super bargains compared to Sbarro's ~$3.50 per slice).

                                            First off, I've got a big problem with what they called "New York style" pizzas. NY pizzas are large, thin, crisp and to be eaten folded. Sbarro's was none of the above. The crust was very dense and are calorie behemoths. The sauce had virtually no flavor. And the cheese... Not only did it not pull/string (pizza was very hot), but I could actually distinguish their processed form (looked like short fettuccine). Even Kraft's cheese string, don't they? The pepperoni, though they looked lovely, had little flavor and had no crisp; no doubt a creation of food scientists (in a bad way).

                                            Then there was the fascinating buffalo-chicken pizza. I knew it was buffalo-chicken since I've had that topping before and it looked right. My first thought as I took a bite was, "Wait, is this really buffalo-tofu pizza?" With some tofu and chicken fat/stock, you can make something more flavorful than the little cubes on the pizza. I'm not really against deformed/reformed meat products, but they've at least got to taste and feel similar to the original product. And, I'm not really against processed pizza. But, it still has to taste and feel like a real pizza.

                                            Maybe I should have just had their buffet and other offerings? They may be like Domino's (A fair pizza, but everything else is awful), but opposite.