Growing up in NYC, Sbarro was all over the place. They weren't in mall food courts yet. They were all mirrors and brass and neon and shiny as hell. They had stores in highly-trafficked areas like across the street from Madison Square Garden or Macy's. There was one right next to the Empire State Building. And if you walked around Times Square, you'd see at least 3 or 4 Sbarro restaurants.
And the food was really good. Mr. and Mrs. Sbarro were wonderful cooks and they loved feeding people. Mama Carmela really did "run the kitchen" in those days.
Sbarro has been in the Philippines for around 20 years now. Most blogs don't even mention it any more, since local foodbloggers delight in discovering new, cool things. So imagine my surprise, when I saw this review on a blog I usually visited:
"The Return to Sbarro
Posted By Connie on August 17, 2007 @ 10:29 pm
I have a confession to make. I absolutely love pizza. And one of my biggest frustrations is my inability to make good-quality pizza at home. It’s not the lack of ingredients. I know where to buy everything — good mozzarella, those spicy Italian sausages, herbs and spices… No, the problem is not the topping. It’s the crust. I still can’t make good pizza crust — the kind that is almost crisp outside but soft inside. I can’t hand-toss dough if my life depended on it. And because I never liked frozen pizza crust (they taste too much like bad biscuit), we’d rather eat out to get good pizza.
Story of my life. That was how I got introduced to Sbarro back when I was still a Law student. A group of us would drive to SM City for Sbarro’s pizza and pasta when we had the money to splurge. Not that often; probably once every couple of months. But often enough to know that the food was consistently good. Even after graduating and we were already lawyers all working in the Diliman area, we’d still go once in a while.
I haven’t been to Sbarro in years. The last time I was there, it was to introduce Speedy to the place and we weren’t even married yet at the time. Our daughters are now teenagers and it wasn’t until last Wednesday that we went back to Sbarro — together. Not in SM City but in the new mall right across the street — TriNoMa.
And was the food still good?
The pizza was. They were still so huge that I didn’t have the nerve to order pasta too so I really can’t say anything about the pasta — yet. We’re going back to Sbarro over the weekend to bring our daughters there.
So what did we order? The double pizzas. Two layers of pizza oozing with cheese and meat. I ordered the Supreme for Speedy and I had the sausage and pepperoni.
I love Sbarro’s pizza more than Yellow Cab’s and I love Yellow Cab many times over than California Pizza Kitchen’s pizza. Another place to get good pizza is S&R.
Then, there are the pizzas I miss. The Italian Village along Quezon Avenue, quite popular when I was still a U.P. student, closed down several years ago. Since we moved to the suburb, Domino’s pizzas have been inaccessible. The only pizza delivery service on our side of the boondocks are Pizza Hut and Greenwich. Pizza Hut’s delivery service isn’t that good, and neither is the pizza, and I only eat Greenwich if there’s nothing else available and I’m starving.
Of course, I haven’t tried all the pizza there is in Metro Manila alone much less the entire world. But if all the pizza places in Metro Manila were to close down except one, and the choice as to which should remain were up to me, I’d choose Sbarro."