The Cuisine Scene
Brenda Hill

Old Spaghetti Factory
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

The Old Spaghetti Factory has been a favorite of mine for many years. In the early eighties, when my son was waiting for the train in Denver to take him to boot camp, we had dinner at the Spaghetti Factory across the street from Union Station. What a memorable evening. My son, leaving home to serve his six-year term in the U.S. Navy. I was sad, yet proud, and could barely eat for the lump in my throat.

We chose to have that special dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory because it was my son’s favorite place and I loved it as well. Separate dining rooms, rich woods, stained glass, and antiques from around the world make you feel as if you’re dining in a restored Victorian mansion, except at the Spaghetti Factory you don’t have to worry about using the wrong fork. With cushy booths as well as tables, it’s casual, cozy, and the food is great.

Guss Dussin, the founder, believed that a memorable dining experience shouldn’t cost a lot of money, so based on that theory, he opened the first Old Spaghetti Factory in Portland, Oregon in 1969. Each dinner served then and now is complete with choice of soup or salad, bread, spaghetti entree, coffee, tea or milk, and dessert. His wife Sally furnished the restaurant with items from garage sales.

While his first day’s tickets grossed under two-hundred dollars, word spread, and by the end of the first week, they were grossing around a thousand. By the end of the first year, they had sales of almost a half-million.

Today, they’re an international company serving over ten-million customers annually, and each location is unique. Sally supervises the restaurant’s interior, choosing restored antiques from their 25,000 square-foot warehouse. They even have small amount of seating in a streetcar inside the restaurant.

In 1997, Guss stepped down and turned the operation over to his son Chris. 

Nearly everything in the meal is made from scratch, using fresh ingredients. Their sauces are made daily, and for pasta dishes, you have a choice of durum semolina, angel hair, whole wheat or gluten-free.

I visited the Rancho Cucamonga location on Foothill Boulevard Just a few blocks west of I-15N, and was seated in a side room filled with color—red cloth booths, red-fringed lampshades, antique sideboards against yellow walls trimmed with wood.

The dinner menu is loaded with a variety of pasta dishes, from the Italian favorites such as lasagna, ravioli, eggplant parmigiana, and salmon Tuscany, to assorted spaghetti dishes served with a variety of sauces. There’s white clam sauce, mushroom, meat sauce, meatballs and Italian sausage.

If you’re like me and can’t decide, you can choose a combination. I had the Sicilian meatballs of ground beef and pork seasoned with sage and garlic over angel hair pasta and spaghetti with browned butter and Mizithra cheese. Outside of the Spaghetti Factory, I’d never eaten Mizithra cheese, but it’s one of their most popular choices. Made from sheep or goat’s milk, the Greek cheese is white and known for its creamy texture, with a flavor similar to ricotta.

My salad and freshly-baked crusty bread arrived with a side of soft, creamy butter.

They offer appetizers and more salads, but unless I’m with several people and we want to talk before dinner, I pass and save room for dinner.

Mud pie, chocolate mousse cake, and several other desserts are available, but spumoni or vanilla ice cream comes with the meal. Spumoni is an Italian ice cream made with layers, usually three, of different colors and flavors, usually containing candied fruits and nuts.

Prices for the different spaghettis range from $7.95 for the pasta with marinara sauce, to $9.95 for the rich meat sauce. A combination of two is also $9.95. Other dishes range from $9.95 for the fettuccine Alfredo to $13.95 for salmon Tuscany. 

The lunch menu runs a little less and also offers three different sandwiches, sausage, meatball, and Tuscan chicken, offered with your choice of soup or a salad. Prices are between seven and eight dollars. Daily specials, at $7.65, include soup or salad, and each day features a different special such as shrimp newburg or chicken cacciatore. You could call ahead to see the special for a certain day. 

The also have a senior and a children’s menu. 

11896 Foothill Blvd
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

Mon-Fri:   11:30 am-2:00pm

Mon-Thu:    5:00pm-10:00pm
Fri:             5:00pm-11:00pm
Sat:          12:00pm-11:00pm
Sun:         11:30am-10:00pm