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Old Spaghetti Factory closes


View Larger MapThe Midtown mainstay — which has fed families heaping plates of pasta in that antique-y, Tiffany-lampshade style that was so in vogue in the 1970’s and 1980’s  — finally gave up the ghost on Sunday and served its last supper. The restaurant had been in business for over 20 years.

I never did visit the one in Atlanta, but hit up the Denver branch more often than I care to admit. Our children were in a daycare center next door, and on more than a few occasions we’d find ourselves rushing in at 6 p.m., scooping up the kidzos, turning to another strung-out parent and proposing: “Spaghetti Factory?”

I don’t even remember what the food was like. I do remember that it arrived lickety split and included a salad, drink and ice cream dessert for a small fixed price.

My former AJC colleague Maria Saporta has a sweet essay about the restaurant on her blog, the Saporta Report. Yes, she actually did eat in the streetcar booth once.

Any Atlanta parents out there have stories to share?

81 comments Add your comment

Chicken lover

January 26th, 2010
2:20 pm

I’m not an Atlanta parent, but as a 22 year-old, I loved this place. It was easy and a “kind of nice” place to go for my high school and college friends–we got to dress up and feel like part of the city for only $10. Cheesy, I know, but I had fun memories at this place!

Tom

January 26th, 2010
2:34 pm

I am sure it did that placed sucked

Buh Bye

January 26th, 2010
2:51 pm

Hate to see a place shut down, but this place needed to go. The food and service were both awful. With so many other cheap pasta options near by (EATS, Little Azio, Figo…) Spaghetti Factory needed to increase their quality or shutdown. Even with better quality, the space was far too big (and probably rents too high) for them to succeed.

ugabulldog

January 26th, 2010
2:51 pm

good times,….good times,……And the White Dot next door……

Ocee

January 26th, 2010
2:54 pm

Thru the years the food definitely went down in quality.

Jim

January 26th, 2010
3:00 pm

Man, my daughters are going to be highly upset! Food was consistent if not remarkable, the prices great, and, as mentioned, it stood out just for the decor.

This sucks….

Jim

January 26th, 2010
3:12 pm

Good! What a craphole! It was basically a rebranded Olive Garden. Seriously, if you thought that was good food, you are seriously ignorant. Try Soto Soto for some enlightenment.

downsouth

January 26th, 2010
3:16 pm

worked there as a waiter in 1990… egads the customers sure were CHEAP!!!! what a nightmare working there. yes, the ol White Dot next door, what a place to unwind after work!! good times!

MBA Mama

January 26th, 2010
3:18 pm

I used to go there often in my pre and post college days i th eearly 90’s when money was tight. I remember the food be so so but very filling which was great for limited budget. Ironically My husban d and I recently stated a desire to take the kids but I guess we waited too late…Thanks for the memories.

JW

January 26th, 2010
3:19 pm

I loved this place! Sure it wasn’t the greatest food but it was good, cheap, lots of it, and quick. The drinks were good and cheap too. I’m going to miss this place for sure.

crud

January 26th, 2010
3:19 pm

Don’t lissen to ‘em Spag Fact. You’re gonna be missed. Decent food, good price, nice ambiance.

Hungry Gringo

January 26th, 2010
3:19 pm

This place was a monocultural black hole for unadventurous Tech and State students who were too scared to try somewhere unique Intown and too lazy to drive back to the Olive Garden in their north Atlanta suburbs.

mama leone

January 26th, 2010
3:20 pm

don’t cry for me Ponce de Leon – they stayed open 20 years, serving pasta? they must have made a killing. I bet it wasn’t revenue that drove them under, but rather the cost of water in ATL (you gotta use a lotta water to boil pasta). I went there twice – once I think I won a “dinner for two” at a bar trivia night or something, and the second time was with a bunch of kids for a pre-Peachtree RR carbo-load. average food at best.

Alabama Jack

January 26th, 2010
3:24 pm

Hungry Gringo

This place was a monocultural black hole for unadventurous Tech and State students who were too scared to try somewhere unique Intown and too lazy to drive back to the Olive Garden in their north Atlanta suburbs.

Thanks for your enlightening comments, now flush yourself away.

Hairy Banana Reid

January 26th, 2010
3:29 pm

In all seriousness… who goes out to dinner for spaghetti? I love the stuff, but we can have as much of that cheap pasta at home – and it tastes BETTER than in a restaurant!

AH

January 26th, 2010
3:32 pm

What the hell??? Why didn’t you guys do a story before they closed down. I would have loved to have one last meal there. It was a great place to have a little lunch when you had time to sit down.

Alabama Jack

January 26th, 2010
3:33 pm

AH – they did do a story. Sorry you missed it.

John

January 26th, 2010
3:43 pm

My daughter, who graduated from college two years ago, loved to eat there when she would go with us or other family members to shows at The Fox. I was always impressed with the food, the prices and the service. It has been several years since I ate there but I never had a bad experience.

joejoe

January 26th, 2010
3:44 pm

Wow, it’s amazing that they stayed open for this long! When I went, ususally one or twice a month, it would have some customers but not what it used to be before the recession. Though the food was hit or miss, the staff were always nice and accommodating. I would say that although not an institution like other famous Atlantan restaurants, it does have it’s charm as a destination for birthday parties, company holiday parites, and the occassional wedding rehearsal dinner. It’s sad to see that another business folds as a victim of our current economic condition and my hopes for all the staff are able to find employment very soon. Though the food was not very memorable, I have my memories of meeting good friends and relatives at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Jim

January 26th, 2010
3:52 pm

“This place was a monocultural black hole for unadventurous Tech and State students who were too scared to try somewhere unique Intown and too lazy to drive back to the Olive Garden in their north Atlanta suburbs.”

Most accurate description of the restaurant and its patrons so far. It’s the only place the OTP teeniebopper burbelheads would patronize on their way to a ‘big night out’ at the Masquerade. It had just the right level of blandness to suit their unfledged pallets.

ATLien

January 26th, 2010
3:57 pm

If you were really enlightened, you would know it’s Sotto Sotto.
No one went to the Old Spaghetti Factory to get the best Italian meal of their life. It was cheap and a fun environment. Nothing more.
RIP Old Spaghetti Factory.

Jim

January 26th, 2010
4:07 pm

“It was cheap and a fun environment.”

Oh, like Chucky Cheese for teens – I see.

Matt

January 26th, 2010
4:13 pm

Goodbye and Good Riddance to what may have been the sorriest excuse for “Italian food” (and I use that term VERY loosely) in Atlanta. Yes, I did eat there and yes I hated it.

lantana

January 26th, 2010
4:14 pm

Spag Fact actually had a nice bar with good cocktails in real glasses for cheap! I found this to be a fun starting off place before a night out. It had a high camp factor.

NastyPlaceToEat

January 26th, 2010
4:15 pm

That place was a heaping, steaming pile of dump. All of the spaghetti factory / warehouses were. I knew a couple of waitresses who worked there, and yeah, they were always coked out and didn’t give a damn about what came out of the kitchen.

Too bad it didn’t burn to the ground first— so I go and piss on the hot, warm ashes.

Where_my_doo_rag_at?

January 26th, 2010
4:19 pm

No parking and an endless supply of homeless bums trolling the streets did them in.

Burn

January 26th, 2010
4:23 pm

Ha ha ha – ATLien beat me to the punch with the Sotto Sotto spelling correction! I don’t consider myself a foodie by any means, but I get the biggest kick out of checking in on these blogs from time to time. I always try to guess how many posts it will take before someone belittles OTPers and their unsophisticated PALATE. Well, I live ITP, which means I MUST have discerning taste, and I will admit that I will miss the cheap and cheesy Spaghetti Factory (*GASP*). I went there with my now-husband on one of our first dates back in the day.

Petie The Crab

January 26th, 2010
4:24 pm

I am somewhat distraught to read of the O.S. Factory closing. I know it has many memories for folks but it was much more to me and was a special place. My wife and I had our first date there and 8 months later on my knees I unashamidly proposed to her there. We have gone there on our anniversary each and every year since. We have even had a secret that is only being told now because it is closing. Our first child was concieved in the Ladies bathroom there. Thanks for the memories O.S.F. we will miss you.

tom shoupe

January 26th, 2010
4:25 pm

Sorry to here it. First experience was in Seattle. Increadible experience. Many visits. Only one visit in Atlanta and it was good. Just live to far away to be a frequent gobbler.

Lester

January 26th, 2010
4:25 pm

Dadgum Petie. I don’t believe I’d told that.

reservoirDAWG

January 26th, 2010
4:26 pm

Did any of you bad mouthing this place place expect to get good Italian at a place called the Spaghetti Factory? That’s like going to Joe’s Crab Shack for good seafood.

Chief Wiggum

January 26th, 2010
4:28 pm

Always entertaining to see the food snobs insult yet another restaurant. If it’s not edgy enough, or is (gasp) part of a chain, it will catch grief here with the foodies.

Linda

January 26th, 2010
4:29 pm

I never went to the location in Atlanta, but when I was growing up in Indianapolis, the Spaghetti Factory was a popular place to eat. I had lunch there about a year ago when visiting family, and I thought the food was good. I’m sorry to see another restaurant close – too many businesses have fallen victim to this wretched economy. I hope the employees are able to find other jobs quickly.

Edgewood Adam

January 26th, 2010
4:37 pm

The food was pretty terrible. But the building was actually pretty cool. I had been hoping for a while that this place would go out of business and an actual decent place would fill up the building. Now maybe this will happen. Drinking at that bar felt like a game of Clue. And to BURN, Your husband is a cheap bastard. hahaha.

N

January 26th, 2010
4:37 pm

Sorry to see it go, hope the space is filled quickly with something good.

Peaches

January 26th, 2010
4:40 pm

Hey Petie, I was almost in tears til I got to the part about the spagetti version of the mile high club. That was a downer.

Sally

January 26th, 2010
4:41 pm

More like diarrhea factory.

Peachy

January 26th, 2010
4:42 pm

It wasn’t the best food ever, but it was FUN! The price was right and the atmosphere was unique. I have childhood, college, and 20 something memories there. I did grow up OTP and then moved ITP, (I guess an ignorant teenager that came to GT) I do appreciate Eats and One Midtown Kitchen and all the other “edgy” places but this was a little treasure that will be missed!

Kim

January 26th, 2010
4:42 pm

Man, I will miss this place! It was such a neat place to go and eat and have fun with the kids. Too many memories. I wish we would have known sooner so we could have gone one last time.

mary

January 26th, 2010
4:45 pm

I can’t believe it was still open all of this time….

Justine

January 26th, 2010
4:46 pm

I once had a group of people with me and they wanted to go to the Varsity. Because I had the keys I got yo choose. WE went to the Speghetti factory. They were amazed at the amount of food and the little we paid for it. This was a wonderful place and sadly those who used it are the least likely to be able to afford the upscale places. It will be missed.

Jim

January 26th, 2010
4:48 pm

Chief,
It’s always interesting to see how humble unpretentious food critics, like yourself, equate ‘edginess’ and ‘trendiness’ to high culinary skill and food quality. Goldfish at Perimeter is trendy, yet it contains some of the worst food I’ve every paid for. If you can’t understand that the Spaghetti Factory food is on par with Fazoli’s, I have little hope that you’ll ever understand what good food is. Please understand that glitz has no correlation with good food.

Stephanie

January 26th, 2010
4:52 pm

Right on Peachy! I loved this place! I went there almost every year for my birthday and we ate there every time we went downtown. I’m glad I got to eat there one last time in Dec but I didn’t know they were closing or I would have gone there again! I have lots of good memories from when I was at GT. I will surely miss this place and will have to visit one of the out of town locations. BTW, they had The Best creamy pesto salad dressing! BUMMER!!! I should will miss it!

Bart Simpson

January 26th, 2010
4:59 pm

Hey Jim, Blow all that hot air out of your spaghetti factory. Fazoli’s…really. Where are you going to take your kids when they graduate college, applebee’s?

Jim

January 26th, 2010
5:08 pm

Probably Restaurant Eugene if it’s still around.

Varner

January 26th, 2010
5:25 pm

It was a great, inexpensive, centrally-located place to meet our son and his family, and had food and atmosphere that our grandson loved. The last two times we were there, however, we were accosted by panhandlers both going in and coming out and made to feel very uncomfortable. Don’t know if that situation led to SF’s demise or not, but I’m sorry it closed.

BRENDA

January 26th, 2010
6:21 pm

I WENT THERE LAST NIGHT FOR DINNER, AND FOUND THAT IT WAS CLOSED. I WAS SORRY TO SEE IT CLOSED. I HAVE BEEN A CUSTOMER FOR MANY YEARS, AND I LOVED THE FOOD AND DECOR.

John Kessler

January 26th, 2010
6:26 pm

Enjoying this discussion….restaurants that been around for a while are different things to different people…

Fred

January 26th, 2010
7:42 pm

I met my wife there for our first date. A blind date, back in 1991. New to Atlanta, I knew nothing about anything here. I walk into this place and am greeted by the million dollars+ of antiques in the entrance. “Just great,” I think, “i’m going to spend a hundred bucks on some bimbo I don’t even know and probably won’t like.” (My married sister and her married friend set us up). When I opened the menu and saw the most expensive thing on the menu was like 9 bucks at that time I was ecstatic. (Hey, I didn’t make much money then, and had just relocated, a $100 was just about all my “play money” for a whole month.

We not only went there several times on our anniversary (marriage, not first date lol) but went fairly often just to go. We ate for free on our anniversaries, the manager liked the story. One said we should contact their HQ and do a commercial lol. Every trip to the Fox was proceeded by a trip to the Spaghetti Factory. Virtually every Braves game was another excuse for the S’ghetti Factory. It has been a “comfort” place our whole marriage.

My daughter is 7. She knows the blind date story. The S’ghetti factory is (was I guess) her favorite place.

Tonight I have the sad job of telling her it is closed. February 5th is her first Girl Scout Father/Daughter dance. She just asked me to take her to eat first last night.

“Will you take me to the Spaghetti factory first daddy? It’s on the way.”
“Of course, sweetheart. Do you want to sit in the trolley.”
“Well duh Daddy, YES.”

To say I am saddened is an understatement. While it was far from the “best” Italian joints in Atlanta, it has been one of my favorites. The food was never bad and certainly worth the small prices they charged.

Just damn.

Fred

January 26th, 2010
7:44 pm

I just told them. My daughter cried.