Food News

Five Things You May Not Know About the Old Spaghetti Factory

At this time of year we're always trying to figure out  ways to feed a crowd — not just on turkey day but in the busy weeks ahead. Of the many spots that cater to big groups, one restaurant might not come to the top of your mind — even though it's been feeding Denverites for decades: The Old Spaghetti Factory. As a refresher course, here are give things you may not know about the Old Spaghetti Factory.

5. Yes, it's still open. You just might not know it since your sights are set on RiNo or Berkeley or South Broadway, but the Old Spaghetti Factory has been holding down the corner at 1215th 18th Street for more than forty years — since long before the area was even nicknamed LoDo. 

4. Even though the Old Spaghetti Factory is located in a 126-year-old former cable car building, the trolley theme isn't unique to Denver. “Almost all of our restaurants have a trolley car in the dining room,” says Chris Hein, vice president of food and beverage for the OSF company. “It started in Portland in 1969 with the first restaurant and Sally Dussin [co-founder] found an old trolley while she was out shopping for furniture.” Sorry to take away the magic.

3. This is not an Olive Garden knock-off. The Old Spaghetti Factory was founded by Guss and Sally Dussin in Portland, Oregon, in 1969, a good thirteen years before the quasi Italian chain that brought us breadsticks and the never-ending pasta bowl.

2. Despite assumptions to the contrary, food is cooked in-house, under the direction of kitchen manager Eric Melzer. Real onions, carrots and tomatoes are harmed in the making of your dinner.

1. And how good is that food? You won't know that answer until tomorrow,  when I take a break from the norm and review – you guessed it – the Old Spaghetti Factory.
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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz