Food & Drink

The Old Spaghetti Factory is the chain restaurant version of Bordello-Lite

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MB Partlow

I reach out to a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and I says to her, I says, “Let’s go have lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory.” She’s a pal, so she says, “Sure.”

I’ve never been to a Spaghetti Factory before, so we talk about what a sheltered life I’ve lived in my (mumble mumble) years on this Earth. The staff here — at one of the only two Colorado locations — is friendly as all get out, and the host even goes along with our joke about stealing one of the velvet-covered overstuffed chairs, as long as we promise to drop one off at his place. If you’ve never been inside an Old Spaghetti Factory, the décor is the chain restaurant version of Bordello-Lite. Imagine if Disney World had a house of ill repute, and you’ve got it. Big, ornate hanging lamps. Flocked upholstery on the booths. Lots of mirrors.

If You Go

3101 New Center Point, 719-387-0799,

But how’s the food, you’re asking. I’m getting there, hold your horses. The Spaghetti Factory’s claim to fame? The three-course meal. Besides your entrée, you get a “little” dinner salad (that could easily feed two of you mooks), and ice cream for dessert. If there’s even a hint of free ice cream, my pal and I are on board, tucking our napkins into our shirts.

That salad? It’s pretty big, but my friend says (correctly) that it’s pretty much what you’d get with a bagged salad at the grocery. All fresh, all good, so much of it, although “there’s not even a tomato.” The balsamic dressing is the balsamic dressing, if you know what I mean. But the creamy pesto? That was a real winner, not too tangy with an earthy punch of basil and garlic, well balanced. My pal says she’s in the mood for meat, so she orders the Classic Meat Sauce. Subtle garlic, nice and herby, a decent amount of ground beef — it’s a really good red sauce with slow-simmered flavor topping her mound of al dente spaghetti.

The waiter tells me their most popular pasta topping is the Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter (also on spaghetti). Go figure. That’s what I’ll have. I’m what some folks would call an adventurous eater. So for me, this dish proves not bold enough. The waiter described Mizithra as being similar to feta cheese, but it presents to me as a much milder flavor, more like a ricotta salata. Though the browned butter tastes really nice, adding a toasty note to the flurry of shredded cheese. Inspiration strikes, and I steal a forkful of meat sauce from my pal to mix into a bite of the Mizithra-topped pasta. That, my friends, that’s the money bite. The whole greater than the sum of its parts. Lucky for you, the Manager’s Favorite lets you choose any two of their signature sauces for your plate of ’sketti. Pair any red sauce with that Mizithra, and you’ll walk away happy.

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