Thursday, February 27, 2014

Doing Some Work at Spaghetti Factory

The Old Spaghetti Factory
110 East Santa Fe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

We all have one of those friends. A friend that is the pickiest eater that you know, and you wonder how they ever find anything good to eat. For me, my friend that is the most finicky eater I know is my friend Jamie. I have known her for close to 25 years, and to my dismay, she still eats like a three year old. No meat, nothing that really has any flavor, and she could basically just live off of macaroni and cheese and french onion soup for the rest of her life. When February rolls around, I am always cringing to see what restaurant she picks for her birthday meal. This time she surprised us by having us meet her, and her family at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

I have not been to Spaghetti Factory in years. In fact, it might be that I have not been here in close to fifteen years. Not that I have had any overly horrendous trips to Spaghetti Factory, but there are lots of Italian joints out there, and I'm not really close to either of our OC locations, (Newport Beach, or this one in Fullerton). I can recall coming to Spaghetti Factory as a kid for a wedding reception for a long forgotten second or third cousin, and I can also admit that back in my teen years, this would be the restaurant that I would take a lot of my dates to. Maybe I should have changed it up, since I never really got too many second dates after eating here, but that probably had more to do with me, than the food.

Spaghetti Factory has been in business since 1969, so this year marks their 45th year in business, which is an eternity in the restaurant game. Almost all locations are housed in historic buildings, with antiques, stained glass windows, and refurbished trolley cars inside of them. Spaghetti Factory is home of the all inclusive meal. When you get an entree, it also includes a salad or soup, bread, dessert, and a drink. Let's see how everything turned out for us on this trip to Spaghetti Factory.

My best friend Chris hates cotton candy. He once got cotton candy as a Christmas gift, and threw it across the room. He has often called cotton candy, "the candy of the devil". This might be an over exaggeration on his part, but he truly hates cotton candy, and will not allow it in his house Anyways, he was running late as usual, so when we saw Cotton Candy Limeade ($2.49) on the menu, we had to order it for him. He was not amused. This signature drink is made up of cotton candy syrup, Sprite, and lime juice, then garnished with a big piece of cotton candy. After watching his disgust at this drink being placed in front of him, I got a chance to try this drink. It was way over the top sweet. This was so sweet that Willy Wonka probably would have passed on drinking this. The lime was not very prominent, which might have helped cut the sweetness here. Well worth the money to watch Chris's reaction. I would say this prank will stop him from being late to everything, but it won't.

Even though bread is included in the meals here, our party still ordered the Sicilian Garlic Cheese Bread ($6.25). The bread is topped with a blend of garlic and three cheeses, and served with a side of marinara. This cheese bread was okay. I did not get a lot of garlic flavor from this, and the cheeses were pretty mellow. The marinara added some flavor, but not enough to make this anything more than average cheese bread.

After the garlic bread, the bread that comes with our meal came out. This was a warm loaf of sourdough, served with softened butter. I seem to remember that they had a garlic butter that they used to serve with this, but we did not get it on this trip.

The birthday girl's brother, Jake did not want to get an entree, instead he just had a couple pieces of the cheese bread and this cup of Minestrone Soup ($3.00). Guess crazy eating habits really run in their family. He told me, "I don't like eating much." It was almost like he was speaking a foreign language when he told me this. As a food lover, I was wondering how anyone could say that, but I guess different strokes for different folks. Overall he seemed pretty pleased with this soup, as he ate it rather quickly.

While Jake slurped on his soup, the rest of us had the salads that came with our meals. This is your basic dinner salad using iceberg lettuce, minimal amounts of red cabbage and shredded carrots, tiny croutons, and the dressing of your choice. This was an average salad. The blue cheese that I got was very mellow, and could have been ranch for all I know. A very generic salad.

Katie will start off the entree portion of this post with her selection, the Breast of Chicken Fettuccine ($11.99). Fettuccine noodles are topped with chicken strips, broccoli, mushrooms, Alfredo sauce, and shredded Romano cheese. Katie thought this was okay, but the kitchen must have forgotten the chicken on this one, because it was not anywhere to be found on the plate. Not wanting to make a fuss, Katie ate this anyways. Jamie, our picky birthday girl also ordered this, but without of course the absent chicken, the broccoli, and mushrooms. So yes, she just had Fettuccine Alfredo ($10.50). Good job on eating like a big girl Jamie. Very proud of ya.

Chris had recovered enough from the cotton candy incident to order the Gourmet Jumbo Crab Ravioli ($13.50). The pasta is stuffed with crab meat and ricotta cheese, and then topped with a pesto Alfredo sauce. I believe he ordered this to keep his wife Adrienne, and seafood loather from picking at his plate. Chris really enjoyed these, but wished that the crab meat was a little more prominent.

Since this restaurant is called Spaghetti Factory, it's fitting that someone actually try the spaghetti here. Adrienne went with the Sicilian Meatballs and Spaghetti ($11.95). The meatballs were about the same size as a billiard ball, and joined on the plate with the spaghetti and marinara sauce. With some help from Chris she finished off this plate with no problem.

Both Richard and I got the same thing, which helps cut down on the length of this post, (so everyone thanks you Richard). When I was looking at the menu, the item that stood out to me the most was the Meat Lovers Treat ($13.25). Kind of like an Italian combo plate, you get to try a little bit of everything here. Two Sicilian meatballs, Italian sausage, and spaghetti with meat sauce. I was not too thrilled with the sloppy plating here, but the meal was good sized and adequate in flavor. Nothing really popped for me, but it was not too bad either.

As with many, I'm sure that Spaghetti Factory is the first place many of us have had Spumoni. This Italian ice cream staple is served in the same metallic cups that I remember from when I was a kid. This version of spumoni does not have any nuts or fruit included in it, like traditional spumoni does. It does have a nice consistency to it, and the different ribbons were nicely distributed, so you had a different flavor in each bite.

Spaghetti Factory is the same as I remember as a kid. I thought it was good back then, but as you grow up your palette changes (except for Jamie), and you learn that there is so much better in the world. Spaghetti Factory is kind of like an Italian version of Denny's. The food is passable, but nothing is going to blow you away here. Spaghetti Factory is a good place to feed a lot of people, for a little bit of money. I mean nothing on their menu is over $14, and that's for three courses. Not a place you would eat everyday, every week, or once a month, this is more of a special occasion restaurant for people that don't want to pay for great food. The service we had here was pretty good. Our waitress was really on top of things during our stay. Glad we could be part of Jamie's birthday celebration. Wish I could have given her better taste in food, but that gift card was the best I could do.

Out of five roses, (because this restaurant was started in Portland, and one of that city's nicknames is the Rose City), five being best to zero being worst, The Old Spaghetti Factory gets 2 roses.

For more information about the Old Spaghetti Factory, go to their website here:

Old Spaghetti Factory on Urbanspoon


  1. "Italian version of Dennys" really hits the nail on the head, but they just celebrated 50 years, so I guess there is something to be said for middle-of-the-road food. Being open when hardly anyone else is probably helps, too. FYI, as a returning patron I can attest that your food was par for the course at SpagFact. Just about the only variance you'll get at this location is in service, which can be amazingly attentive yet non-obtrusive, or leave you feeling like you're invisible.

  2. Mick - I think what you wrote, just about sums up our feelings about Spaghetti Factory. Nothing great, but you can get in and out, with for not a lot of money, for some pretty mediocre food. Thanks for taking the time to write and reading the blog.