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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

Jamie Gumbrecht

January 26th, 2010
9:15 pm

This is a little beside the point, but I ask this question as someone that never ate there: was the “streetcar booth” at actual streetcar at some point? An Atlanta streetcar, in particular?

Maria Saporta

January 26th, 2010
9:52 pm

The streetcar was wooden replica and not the real thing. But it sure was fun pretending that it was a functioning streetcar.

John Kessler

January 26th, 2010
10:56 pm

If I remember right, there was a replica streetcar in the Denver one, too…

John Kessler

January 26th, 2010
10:56 pm

Also, Fred, nice story. Thanks for sharing. We should all put our heads together and help Fred decide where to take his daughter. My kids liked Dante’s Down the Hatch when they were little.

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EverydayisSunday

January 27th, 2010
7:44 am

Sorry about the bummer duty Fred.

Jim

January 27th, 2010
7:48 am

My name is Jim. I think I am an epicurian. I eat at all the places with fancy names and tiny portions and then tell everybody how horrible all the other places are and how stupid they are for eating there. I live in my mom’s basement.

Sheryl

January 27th, 2010
7:51 am

Yoy have to be a born Atlantan to appreciate the Old Sphaghetti Factory. It was THE place to be back in the day. The interior was unique and the atmosphere was fun. It will be missed!

Chief Wiggum

January 27th, 2010
7:54 am

I’ve never pretended that the food at OSF was excellent food. I’m saying that it was reasonably good food, for a reasonably good price, in a reasonably good atmosphere. It seems that even that isn’t enough for the food snobs. For you food snobs…if you are out, and want to grab a quick lunch, do you ever actually stop by (gasp) a place like Wendy’s, Burger King, or the like, or do you wish all of THOSE places would close too?

There needs to be a range of food places. Haughty overpriced places for the food snobs, midrange chain places (like Applebee’s), local places, and inexpensive chains. It takes all of these.

fildawg

January 27th, 2010
8:30 am

I can’t believe it remained open as long as it did. OSF was awful – lousy food, poor service. The only saving grace was the interior decor. Good riddance!

Mike

January 27th, 2010
8:39 am

I was there about a year ago for the first time since 1991. Nothing had changed, except in 1991 the lobby was crowded with people waiting for a table, and in 2009 there were three groups of diners in the whole place.

It was definitely one of those “oh, is that still open? We should go there some time” type places.

Stephanie

January 27th, 2010
8:44 am

I only went to this place one time and that was sophomore year of high school for a homecoming dinner before the dance. The sad thing is that we drove all the way in from L’ville to go here. Looking back on it I hang my head though I do think it is rather funny that in high scholl I used to think it was a great meal:)

Gen Neyland

January 27th, 2010
8:52 am

I see it as humorous that a smattering of folks that dine off the $$$ menu at Mickey D’s can find the time to hammer on the OSF as ‘cheap’. We, as a family, enjoyed taking the 5 kids out for a reasonably priced dinner at the Minneapolis OSF when we lived up yonder back in the 90’s. The weekend waits of 30-60 minutes we endured to eat there ought to tell you something. Geez, if IHOP ever closes, out goes our breakfast memories as well..

Marty

January 27th, 2010
11:34 am

One of my favorite places to get a decent priced spaghetti dinner. I had my birthday celebration there EVERY YEAR from 1987 (since I was at Ga. Tech) through 2009.

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Anthony

January 27th, 2010
2:08 pm

But today is Wednesday and Wednesdays are Prince Spaghetti days!

Olive Garden

January 27th, 2010
2:12 pm

Good…..Good……

GAB

January 27th, 2010
2:54 pm

OSF was great for what it was: a reasonably priced, reasonably well-prepared meal in very friendly surroundings. I went to my first one in Nashville, and my grad-school buddies and I could fill up and have a decent drink on a student budget. By the time the Atlanta link in the chain opened, my husband and I had a tiny baby, and it was one of the few places we could take her for a sit-down meal without worrying about her being a baby. Now she and her brother are teenagers, and we love OSF as a tasty and relaxing place to fill their bottomless pits without spending a fortune. Some nights you just don’t want to deal with Sotto Sotto! Finally, our all-time favorite waiter, Harold, worked at OSF for years. He always recognized us and took good care of us. We’ll miss it!

John Kessler

January 27th, 2010
4:51 pm

Anthony – Can you explain Prince Spaghetti day?

Elizabeth J.

January 27th, 2010
5:01 pm

OMGosh, John – some of my best childhood memories are from The Old Spaghetti Factory in Denver! Sitting in the train car, dining on a large dish of spaghetti & meatballs with a shirley temple to wash it down, topped off with spummoni ice cream for dessert = perfect evening out for 8 y.o. me.

Wanted to go to the Atlanta locale, but just never made it (too many GOOD eats here in ATL)

Fleaburr

January 27th, 2010
6:06 pm

First went OSF in early 90’s. Fell in love with the Brown butter pasta with Mizithra cheese.
It was always packed on weekends and drinks from bar good.
Where am I going to find my fav dish here in ATL. Taking Prozac now.

Adria Greene

January 27th, 2010
7:39 pm

I have had better frozen food than what I ate the one time I was there.

Spiceaholic

January 27th, 2010
8:48 pm

I’m not a parent, but am sorry to hear it’s gone. I’d only been to the Atlanta location a couple times and the last was more than 5 years ago. I always liked the spumoni they gave you at the end.

J

January 27th, 2010
8:49 pm

Isn’t there one in Cobb County off Delk Road as well? I remember going to a Spaghetti place with my dad when I was a kid down the street from where he lived, but I don’t remember if it was a Spaghetti Factory.

I never went to the one in Atlanta, but it seems like a lot of places that have been there for years are now either moving or shutting down. It’ll be interesting to see what goes into the space now that the specific area around Spaghetti Factory is developing and going “upscale”. Any thoughts on what might take over the space?

Laurie

January 27th, 2010
9:30 pm

So sad to hear! Nope, didn’t go there for the food, but for the “experience”. Went as a teenager with my family, went there for dinner the night I got engaged (don’t think bad of him, we were 20 yrs old and on low budgets) and most recently took our kids there after a Braves game and after seeing the Rockettes. On the two most recent visits the place was packed! Food definitely needed to be improved, but sure enjoyed seeing the kids eat in amazement!

Grant

January 27th, 2010
10:39 pm

I love all this. I used to hit up the political stories for the entertaining comments, but I’ll stick to the food section now.

Anthony

January 28th, 2010
10:10 am

JK –

Prince spaghetti day? You don’t remember the commercial back on the 70s? Go to you tube and do a search for Prince spaghetti….It’s a classic.

Bill Boyd

January 31st, 2010
4:57 pm

> 10 years ago, after spotting a SF employee trucking across their parking lot carrying an arm-load of 1-lb boxes of Mueller’s spaghetti, I was unable to find any reason–other than self-abuse–to dine there. May SF RIP.

DB

January 31st, 2010
9:19 pm

@Bill Boyd — all restaurants have their little quirks — who knows, they may have just run out that evening, and had to pitch-hit, y’know?

Back in the 70s, my husband/then boyfriend and I went to a very post French restaurant in Miami — even in the 70’s, the prices were outrageous, but it was a special occasion. We ordered cheesecake for dessert (my favorite), and the waiter comes out and presents the desserts with a flourish. We both looked down at the cheesecake with the distinctive concentric swirl and graham cracker crumbs, and my husband swore under his breath: It was a Sara Lee cheesecake, and we had just paid $5 a slice in 1978 money for it! Good lord, we could have picked up a whole one for $2.79 on the way home if we had wanted! Then the humor of the situation hit us and we started laughing. The waiter came bustling back, inquiring if everything was ok. I asked him who made his cheesecakes, and he promptly replied, “Oh, we have a special catering company that specializes in desserts that does that.” My husband just about choked on his coffee when I inquired, “Would her name be Sara, by any chance?” The waiter had the grace to look embarrassed when he muttered, “Well, yes . . .”

gginnel

May 13th, 2010
3:18 pm

Guess I heard a little too late about this!! We were on our way to see Mary Poppins last night at the FOX and thought it would be a neat place to take our daughters, 11 and 4. I only ate there once and the food was good but not memorable…it was more about the place you were eating. The girls were excited about maybe getting to sit in the trolley to eat.

BTW The company that my hubby works for did some disaster repair for the restaruant a few years ago. The crown moulding was done by my husband.

SOK

June 11th, 2010
6:20 pm

Guess it’s obvious I don’t eat there often now since I am just now finding out it is closed, but I can not believe how critical some people are. OSF was one of my favorite places in college because it was a reasonably priced entire meal in a nice atmosphere. We don’t get downtown often now, but every time we did, we’d eat there because it was affordable for a one income family and the decor was fancy so the kids thought it was a great treat. They didn’t see it as cheap food. It was fancy and fun. I have been to wedding receptions, graduation parties and lots of other get togethers there. For those of you who are critical; for a lot of us, it was a nice place to eat for an affordable price downtown. It holds a lot of memories for me and my family and will be missed.