Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones

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Twinwillow
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/08/28 17:39:24 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Greymo

Twinwillow, anyone can frown on a restaurant here or be critical of one anytime that they wish. That are what these forums are all about.

I think the problem with this particular poster is he is comparing a "mom and pop" place with a chain..........that is fine too, but when people go into a Mom and Pop restaurant for the first time and order something that is not really what the restaurant specializes in, they might be unhappy and and it is really unfair to judge a restaurant on that.

If I am going to an Italian restaurantfor the first time, I will order an Italian meal. If I am going to a seafood restaurant, I will order seafood and not veal parmesan. If one does, they may be making an unfair judgement call.


Thank you. And, I do the same when ordering at a "first visit" restaurant.
#31
mr chips
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/08/31 00:02:53 (permalink)
There are few mom and pop Italian places in Portland. But there is a lot of upscale Italian. None of the chains you mention have made it here.
#32
Jimeats
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/08/31 07:11:34 (permalink)
Wich Portland? The first one or the 2nd one? Chow Jim
#33
ann peeples
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/08/31 09:03:13 (permalink)
I guess I have been lucky with the Mom and Pop italian restaurants in and around the Milwaukee area.While some are indeed mediocre, I have never had a bad meal at one.Pitchs restaurant on the east side has spaghetti to die for, Zaffiros has the best thin crust pizza i have ever had,and Mama Mias has lasagna and garlic bread that is wonderful.There are many others that are good, as well.When dining out, I tend to order what the restaurant is "known"for, unless there is absolutely nothing on the menu I want to try.Just my way of doing things.
#34
mayor al
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/08/31 18:51:59 (permalink)
Mr Chips resides in the Western Version of the Portland Brand Urban area (The one inOreeGone)
There are,indeed, more than the two that we usually argue over here. A major sub-set in the Louisville urban neighborhood is "Portland"!
#35
Peachpie9
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/08/31 21:49:02 (permalink)
One hazard with finding a great mom and pop Italian place (or any place) is that they don't necessarily enjoy longevity. There was a really good place in a city near here that offered skillfully prepared and plated rustic Italian food. The chicken saltimboca was amazing--pocket cut in the breast and stuffed with prosciutto et al. Served atop a heap of perfect mashed potatoes and surrounded by colorful, freshly steamed baby vegetables in a delicious light sauce.

They had an appetizer that consisted of a circle of thin foccacia cut into triangles on a hot metal plate. With it they brought a wedge of Cambozola (which was actually originally developed in Germany from French and Italian cheeses) and heads of roasted garlic. You sliced some cheese and placed it on a triangle of hot foccacia, then spread the quickly melting cheese with the roasted garlic. So good.

Last time we went there it was closed. When we asked, we were told that the elderly Italian immigrants who'd owned it had retired.

In the same city, I scanned the local paper in my hotel room while I waited for a friend to finish a meeting. I read where the newspaper food critic had sung the praises of a local mom and pop Italian place. Later, when we were driving around deciding where to eat and what to do for the evening, I spotted the featured place. We went in and should have left when the "ice water," served in tiny juice glasses, had no ice. But we stayed to pay for, but not eat, greasy tasteless lasagne and warm, limp Caesar salad. I wonder what motivates food critics to give the nod to subpar places.

The Italian food chains we have in our area, mostly local or regional chains, are mediocre at best and we don't patronize them. I think any place can make good food, chain or not. The best bet for unique and soul satisfying is of course NOT.

I use this site and others to get ideas for places to eat when I visit an area, but only peripherally. It's too much fun being flexible and acting on impulse to plan where to eat on a trip. I like to search a little on my own and try things for which I have no recommendation. It's a bell curve: in ten episodes of discovery, I usually score maybe one that surprises and delights, lots of good to mediocre places, and one or two real dogs. The fun is in the hunt.

It's hard to make a generalization on mom and pop Italian places versus chains since some chains do a great job and some mom and pops don't even ring the bell. If I lived near one of the chain restaurants mentioned by several posters on this thread (Carrabba's?), I would without a doubt try it. The trick is to find what makes you happy and then keep looking!

#36
mr chips
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/08/31 21:52:46 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

Mr Chips resides in the Western Version of the Portland Brand Urban area (The one in OreeGone)
There are,indeed, more than the two that we usually argue over here. A major sub-set in the Louisville urban neighborhood is "Portland"!
There is a Portland, Indiana whose most famous celebrity was fashion designer Bill Blass. I apologize again for forgetting to mention I reside in the left coast Portland.
#37
Poverty Pete
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/08/31 23:43:55 (permalink)
If anybody is in the Myrtle Beach-Pawleys Island area, I would appreciate an evaluation of a place called "Old Italian" restaurant.
#38
billyboy
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/09/04 01:42:51 (permalink)
I think on the whole "Mom and Pops" are better than the cahins, although every rule has its exceptions. Most chains crank out the product for quantity and they push the "value" of their meals ala Olive Garden and the all you can eat deals. Most places that have great food don't need to engage in conspicuous advertising. Word of mouth brings people by. I ;ive in NYC and have had some bad meals at independently owned Italian places in Little Italy. I've also lived in Boston and had many good meals at Vinny Testa's and Maggiano's Little Italy (chainish type reasturants). A few of my favorites in NYC are Frankie's 457 Spuntino in Brooklyn, Quartino at Peck Slip in Manhattan , and Carmine's on Beekman by the old Fulton Fish Market. Carmines has been around since 1903, no website and they don't advertise, but I would give anything for their red sauce recipe! They do a great lasagna and on my mission to find the perfect Chicken Parm, they are in my top 5.
#39
MandalayVA
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/09/04 23:15:37 (permalink)
Since I grew up eating really good Italian food (prepared by my Irish-German mother no less) and preparing it myself, it's rare that I go to an Italian restaurant and get anything other than pizza. The few times I've gotten a pasta dish, whether it was a chain or a mom-and-pop, it's always been overcooked. We're currently on vacation in Calgary and last night we came back from Banff starving. We wanted to go to Buchanan's, a steak house famous for its burgers, but they're closed on Sunday so we ended up at the Old Spaghetti Factory. I'd heard mixed reviews of the place, but to my surprise they turned out a perfectly al dente plate of spaghetti with a good spicy meat sauce and the price was right.
#40
Twinwillow
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/09/05 00:01:41 (permalink)
Back in the mid to late 60's we used to go to a little mom & pop Italian restaurant
in Brooklyn on Lorimer Street. It was called Crecie's. I may be spelling it wrong.
They had the most fantastic food I have ever eaten in an Italian restaurant.
Can anyone out there tell me if they know this place or had ever eaten there?
To this day, I can remember their veal chop pizziale. I know I spelled THAT wrong!
#41
TheHotPepper.com
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RE: Mom and Pop Italian Rest vs Chain Ones 2006/09/05 00:46:31 (permalink)
Depends on what you mean by chain. A chain can be a Mom and Pop place that has expanded, but they still use the same local vendors and purveyors, and make sure you get a good meal at all locations. A national chain is different. They order from food supply companies and get shipments of frozen foods, so you will be getting Olive Garden type fare at best.
#42
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