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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Town Pizza-Update Review

Town Pizza
5101 York Blvd
Los Angeles

Town Pizza is a very popular pizza restaurant in Highland Park, that has been open for about a year now.  It's mainly a take-out location, though there are a few tables outside and a counter inside.  Soon, they will open their dining area.  When they first opened they only served slices.  Recently, they added whole pies, medium and large sizes, to their menu.  They do not have air conditioning, so during the summer it is hot in there!

As you can see from the above photo, it used to be Italiano's Pizza, a long time Highland Park pizza restaurant, they still have their other restaurant on Figueroa.  Town took over and painted the building red, but left the Italiano sign!  Maybe when the dining area opens, they will change the sign?

I ordered two cheese slices, $2.75 each.  The crust is usually very good, light and flaky, but anytime you order slices, you're at the mercy of how they the pie has been sitting on the counter.  The slices pictured above, I can tell that pie had been there for a long time.  The crust was too crispy.  But, the sauce is very good-light and balanced; no flavor overpowers one another, and there is a good amount of cheese.  Now, I've only had cheese slices here, but I noticed they used canned tomatoes and corn.  You can see their stockroom and they have their cans stored on a special rack.  That may bother some people.  Overall, these two slices weren't as good as other slices I've had before.  But, I like Town Pizza and now that they serve whole pies, I'll order a fresh baked pie and give an updated review.

Service is good.  I was greeted when I walked in, they were nice and friendly, and I got my slices quickly.

I'm a Town Pizza fan and I think it's much better than Maximiliano and Folliero Pizza & Italian Food, the other two Highland Park pizza restaurants I've reviewed.

Update July 11, 2016

Large fresh jalapeno and fresh mushroom, $17 plus $2 per topping.

So finally, Town Pizza has started serving whole pies!  They also opened their dining area.  I was looking forward to getting a whole pie, so on a very hot and humid summer night, I went back to Town Pizza.

If you noticed I put fresh jalapeno and fresh mushrooms.  Town Pizza has pickled jalapeno and a garlic sauteed mushroom.  The pizza is very good- good crust, good cheese, fresh topping-though they could put a bit more on the pizza.  But, something was missing.  It wasn't as great as their slices.  Maybe I've had such good pizza in the past few months because of the five places I tried on  LA Eater's 16 places to get a killer slice of pizza in Los Angele, Pie Life Pizza in Pasadena, Pizzanista, Pellicola, Joe's Pizza and Prime Pizza, that I'm judging pizza differently.

 Service was good.

I will give Town Pizza another chance. But, I was disappointed with their pizza, the first time I ordered a whole pie.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria-Closed

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria
2 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA

Updated Review- June 28, 2017.  I went back to 800 Degrees a few times, sometimes for their daily Instagram special.  While the pizza was fine, the service went way down hill and the lack of dinners when I went, even during what should be a busy time, proved how terrible the service has become!  One time I went there and once I got to the cashier, she was texting on her phone while I was standing right in front of her!  If that isn't the worst service!  I realize people love their phones, I don't care if servers/workers in restaurants use their phone AS ALONG there isn't a customer right in front of them!  Another time, nobody was behind the counter.  I have no idea where everybody was.  But, ONE person can't be behind the counter to take the orders?  I found out this week that this location closed early in 2017.  The reason given was bad plumbing.  I'm guessing the real reason-TERRIBLE service and the owners just didn't give a damn!

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria opened their first location in Westwood.  Then they opened up other locations in Santa Monica and LAX.  They moved away from the snotty westside and opened their Pasadena location, in Old Town Pasadena.  This is another addition to the wood fire pizza places in Pasadena, that includes the already reviewed the chain- Blaze Pizza, Luggage Room and Settebello.

800 Degrees took the place of Louise's Trattoria.  This is a design your own pizza or order one of their own designer pizza.  The narrow dining room is separated from the kitchen area, but the wall makes it hard to hear them calling your number when your pizza is ready.

800 Degree has a daily special on Instagram.  The Pizza of the Day for 50% off.  There are no substitutions or deletions for the Pizza of the Day, you must get it as prepared.   The day I went it was a marinara pizza, crushed tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olive oil, with shrimp and capers, $4.05.  Listed price for the marinara is $5.55, rock shrimp-$3, and capers $1.25. 

This combo didn't would have been better with cheese.  But, the major thing is that the sauce is lacking in flavor and depth.  They could make this bolder.  The shrimp was cooked very nicely and there was a good amount.  The capers added a very nice flavor.  

But, the best part is the nice, soft, chewy dough.  Now, some parts of the pizza are burnt or chard, which I don't like and doesn't need to be there if the pizzas are rotated. 

I also designed my own pizza.  I got the margherita, $6.95, crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, olive oil, and basil, with mushrooms-$1.25.  Again the sauce lacks flavor and the crust is great-though this pizza had a few more burned parts.  The toppings were fresh and flavor and the fresh mozzarella made this a very good pizza.

The main difference between 800 Degrees and Blaze is that 800 Degrees charges you for every topping, including cheese.  They do use slightly higher quality ingredients. 

Service was very good.  The people are all helpful and friendly. 

I had heard many good things about 800 Degrees.  It was good, but it wasn't the best pizza I've ever had.  I would go back, if I'm in the area but won't rush back.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Red Devil Pizza-Upland

Red Devil Pizza
907 W Foothill Blvd

Last week David Allen reviewed The Original Red Devil in Upland.  He, mentioned their $5 lunch specials and I decided to give them a try.  But, I had to go to the real original Red Devil in Covina, first.

The Red Devil in Upland is in the Sprouts Shopping Center, the same center as Johnson's Hot Dog, used to be.  Sadly, they closed.  While Johnson's wasn't the best hot dog, the owner was very nice and cared about his customers.

Red Devil is huge!  They must host a ton of little league parties and with Upland High School across the street, I'm sure many post game parties.  Most of the tables are communal picnic tables but they have a few booths near the front entrance.   But, the decor is all black and it's a very ominous feeling. 

I got the mini, 8 in, pizza with mushrooms and a drink for $5.  The pizza is good.  The same exact sauce, crust, and quality toppings as the Covina location.  This is a damn steal for $5! 

What wasn't the same was the service.  I don't say Hi, when I walk into a restaurant.  That's the job of the hostess/workers.  Every retail job I ever had, the number one thing they mentioned was greet the customer!

Well, I walk up to the counter and the girl didn't say anything!  At the Covina location, I was greeted the second I walked into the restaurant.  She barely said anything, except that will be $5.40.

While waiting for the pizza, I went back to my car to drop of their take out menu.  When I walked back, she said your order comes with a drink.  She was just going through the motions.  She wasn't rude or mean, she just needs to work on customer service, the first being, greet the customer!

I then went to the restroom, which are suppose to be renovated, and they really need to some TLC, when I got back a man, who I think is the manager, asks me if I needed help!  So there is somebody who cares about customer service at the Upland location.

I would only go back to the Upland location for their lunch special.  The $5 special for the pizza is a steal!  They just need to train their workers on customer service.

The Covina location is more convenient for me and they made a much better first impression!   The pizza is the same quality at both locations.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Red Devil Pizza-Covina

Red Devil Pizza
116 W Badillo St

The New Diner has been to the Red Devil Pizza in La Verne, and wasn't that impressed.  I knew about the Red Devil Pizza in Covina, but was always under the impression that they were owned by the same people.  I was wrong, the Covina and La Verne location are separate businesses.  So, I finally decided to give the Red Devil in Covina a try!

The sign says serving Covina since 1966, so the must be doing something right.  Located just west of Citrus and Badillo St., Red Devil takes up three spaces of the building.  There is a large banquet room, a dining room and a take out and kitchen area.

I ordered a small (12 inch) mushroom pizza, $11.99.  The mushrooms were fresh, not canned like some places, and very generously spread on the pizza.  There was also a ton of good quality cheese.  The sauce was very good-balanced, one ingredient didn't overpower others.  The crust was soft, crispy on the outside and chewy inside.  I was very impressed and wished I didn't wait so long to give them a try!

Service was very good.  I was greeted when I walked in and the guy was very friendly and helpful.  He  answered the few questions I had.  If you noticed the chairs and yellow tape in front of the store, it's for a Holiday Parade that was scheduled for later that evening.  As I walked around, the lady in the main dining area, greeted me and asked if I needed anything.   I told her I was waiting for my pizza and looking around.  She was very nice and encouraged me to look around.  The banquet room was all set for a party!  There must have been 50 boxes of pizza ready for people!  I know YMMV when it comes to service at any restaurant, I read the reviews from the jerk people on Yelp and one major compliant is the poor service.  I only experienced great customer service!

I would happily go back to Red Devil Pizza in Covina!  What a civic treasure!  Oh, there is a Red Devil in Upland and they are owned by the same people!  Check out the review of the Red Devil Pizza in Upland.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Neptune’s Net

Neptune’s Net
42505 Pacific Coast Hwy

I've always had Neptune's Net on my bucket list of places to try, but never made it out there.  I've been to other seafood places on PCH in Malibu like, Malibu Seafood and Reel Inn.  So, I finally made it to Neptune's Net.

Neptune's Net has basically the same concept like Malibu Seafood.  Communal picnic tables, great views of the oceans, and seafood!  The location says Malibu, but I didn't know Malibu continued in Ventura County!  When driving north on PCH, you see a sign- Entering Ventura County!  It's about a 30 mile drive from Santa Monica!  Neptune's Net draws a very diverse crowd; from the douchebag hipsters, to hikers-lots of hiking trails nearby, surfers, and bikers-more the wannabe Hell's Angels type than the hard core bikers!

Clam chowder, 8oz, $3.95.  Lots of potatoes, but clams were hard to find.  Nice creamy, hearty broth.  Not too impressed with this example of clam chowder.

Fried fish and shrimp, double combo with fries, $13.95.  The fish is wild Alaskan cod.  Two big pieces that had been sitting under heat lamps for awhile.  Nice, crunchy batter.  If I had to bet, I would bet the fish were fresh but I wouldn't be surprised if it was frozen.

I'm pretty sure the shrimp was frozen.  Six butterflied shrimp are nice and crunchy, but again, had been sitting under heat lamps.

I asked for fries to be well done, they weren't, again sitting under heat lamps.  As you can tell, I wasn't that impressed with the food at Neptune's Net. 

Service was good.  The lady who took my order was very nice and well trained.  She knew who kind of fish they used for the fish and chips, and if there was any bacon in the clam chowder; there isn't.  My order came out quickly, another clue it had been sitting under heat lamps.

If Malibu Seafood was a longer drive than Neptune's Net, I would still go to Malibu Seafood, at least for the fried seafood.  Food wise Malibu Seafood is slightly better, but neither are anything great.  Location gives both places are great advantage, but I don't think they are worth the drive.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hollywood Pies

Hollywood Pies
6116 1/2 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles

November 9, 1989 is recognized as the day the Berlin Wall came down!  Today is the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall!  This couldn't have happened without President Reagan, in June of 1987, telling those commie bastards to "TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!!! "  About two years later, the Berlin Wall came down and those commie bastards lost the Cold War!! USA!!  USA!! USA!!

Los Angeles has the largest section of the Berlin Wall, outside of Germany, across from LACMA and hosted by the Wende Museum.

What does the Berlin Wall have to do with Hollywood Pies?  Nothing really, expect that the Berlin Wall display is about a mile away from Hollywood Pies.  But, on such a historic occasion, people should remember the fall of the wall!!

When Hollywood Pies first opened up in 2011, they were making their pizzas in a rented kitchen and selling them through the back door, near the Beverly Center.  I went back to Hollywood Pies a few more times times at their Beverly Center location.  Then they moved to another similar setup on Boylston.   A third move saw them in West LA or the Culver City area, and finally they opened a sit down restaurant on Pico, in the Mid City area.  Then sadly, sometime within the past year, their Pico location closed. 

Two weeks ago, a friend told me he had Hollywood Pies for dinner the night before, and loved the pizza.  I thought he was joking or something.  But, sure enough I checked and Hollywood Pies Pico location is open!!  So, I finally go to Hollywood Pies sit down restaurant!

Hollywood Pies is on a very busy street, Pico, and the restaurant is small and easy to miss when driving.  There are four tables (two tables for four and four tables for two ) and a couple more seats outside.  You order at the counter and they bring your pizza to your table.  Call ahead, since a deep dish takes about 35 minutes to bake.  They are currently open from 1-9 pm on Sundays.  Other days they open at 4pm.  They are closed on Mondays.

Small Italian Garden ($16)-Whole milk mozzarella, sweet red peppers, baby bella mushrooms and onions.  I added spinach, which they did not charge me for.  A very nice thing for them to do!  The crust was the same, light, flaky and buttery.  Two toppings, spinach and onions, were loaded up.  But, the mushrooms and red peppers were few and far in between.  I would have preferred more mushrooms, but all the toppings were fresh.

Now, the sauce has changed.  It's more mild, lacking the boldness of their other sauce.  It's almost as though there wasn't any sauce.  Overall still a damn good deep dish pizza, but not something I would go rushing back for.

Service is ok.  The kid who took my order was pretty friendly and helpful when taking my order.  But, when my pizza was done, he just handed me the pizza.  No, thank you or come again.  And it wasn't like it was busy, I was the only customer there.

While I'm glad to know that Hollywood Pies has reopened, and you can actually dine in, I was disappointed that the sauce is different.  I won't rush back but will go back again.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sal & Sons Pizza & Pasta-Closed

Sal & Sons Pizza & Pasta
1520 N Mountain Ave
Ste A-101
(909) 984-2300

Yes, another review of a pizza place with Sal or Sal's in it's name!  This time it is Sal and Sons Pizza & Pasta in Ontario.  The other pizza places with Sal or Sal's in their name are, Two Sal's in Montebello-which is now closed, Sal's Pizza and Bagelry in La Verne, and Sal's Pizza in Alta Loma. I found out about Sal & Sons Pizza and Pasta from a review by David Allen.

Sal & Sons Pizza & Pasta is located in a very diverse shopping center just south of the 10 Freeway and Mountain Ave. exit.  There is also a Chinese, Mexican, and an American restaurant (A wings place called Wing Nuts.  I reviewed their Costa Mesa location, but have not been to this location) in that same shopping center.  There could be other restaurants, but those three I noticed.  Sal & Sons is a large sized, casual restaurant.  You order at the counter and they will bring your food to your table.  I was surprised how busy they were at about 3pm on a Sunday afternoon.

Sicilian two topping- mushrooms and jalapenos, $24.46.  This pizza had 16 slices, with lots of cheese and a mild tasting sauce.  There was a decent amount of toppings and the toppings were pretty fresh.  But, the crust was the worst part of the pizza.  The crust was too crispy for the slices from the sides and the slices from the middle were soggy.  

Service was good.  The lady was friendly and helpful.  But, one interesting thing about Sal & Sons is they consider toppings like broccoli and spinach as two toppings.  Not sure why because mushrooms are more expensive at the supermarket than broccoli and spinach!  

Standing on a soapbox now:  This is something I don't understand about the pricing at pizza places.  If you order a veggie pizza, the veggies are what the restaurant decides-most have mushrooms, bell peppers, olives and tomatoes.  Well, if most toppings are priced the same, why can't a customer substitute any of the toppings?  Say instead of olives, you want jalapenos?  I mean if you delete a topping they still charge you the same price.  So why not allow the customers to substitute a different veggie topping on a veggie pizza?

I thought Sal & Sons was ok.  Maybe their regular pizza is better, but I don't think I'll be back any time soon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


1414 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica

Yes, there are two reviews in one week on The New Diner!  Hope you enjoy!

I always wanted to compare the two Polish restaurants, Polka Polish Restaurant, and Warszawa in Santa Monica, in the LA area.  I finally made it Warszawa about three weeks ago, without a camera.  I wasn't that impressed with the food, but a friend invited me back for dinner, so I went to take pictures.

Located at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Lincoln Ave, Warszawa has been in business for 35 years!  Warszawa is a little more upscale and bigger than Polka.  It's really an old house converted into a restaurant.  I believe there is a bar at the very back, but I've only been in the dining area.

Campari tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, goat cheese salad, $8.  A good, refreshing salad with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, goat cheese, and romaine lettuce.  But, it was mostly lettuce and small amounts of mushrooms and goat cheese.  A bit overpriced, but this is Santa Monica.

Steamed wild mushroom and shredded cabbage pierogi, $5, as an appetizer.  You get two pierogies per order and a choice between steamed and fried.  A dinner portion is $17 with six pierogies and veggies and potatoes.  The pierogies are much smaller than Polka.  They were very bland and lacked flavor.

Service by the server was very good.  She was nice, helpful, and cared about providing good service.  But, a few minutes after getting our food, the hostess brought the check to our table.  When the server came by, she apologized for the error.  It wasn't a big deal- even though the hostess didn't say anything (Thank you?) when dropping off the check.

Warszawa is very average,  I really doubt I would go back!  I much prefer Polka, and think they are the best Polish restaurant in LA. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Petrilli’s Pizza

Petrilli’s Pizza
110 S Mountain Ave

Yes, this is an actual review by The New Diner!!  No, The New Diner has not reopened.  I just wanted to do a review about what used to be Petrillo's location in Upland!  I recently reread David Allen's review about Fratello’s Pizza and Pasta in Upland where he mentioned Petrilli's.  Two years after David's review, I went to Fratello’s Pizza and Pasta.   I emailed him and we decided to meet for dinner at Petrilli's.  Interesting that the last time David and I met, we went to another pizza place, Sal's Pizza!

I went to Petrillo's Pizza in Glendora and San Gabriel, and heard that they used to have a third location in Upland.  Apparently, the story goes, the Petrillo's in Upland was owned by Petrillo's but, they changed ownership and the name to Petrilli's about ten years ago!

Located in the same shopping center as, to my shock, the still open, Windy C's hotdog stand, Petrilli's is a small, mostly take out location.  There are two tables inside, if you want to eat there.

I got a small three topping pizza; mushrooms, onions, and jalapenos, $14.  On Monday and Tuesday, Petrilli's has a special, if you order a medium or large pizza, you get a small pizza for half price.  The offer is also good for salads and pastas.  

The pizza was heavy, which is always a good sign.  There were a ton of jalapenos, and onions, but not as many mushrooms as I prefer.  But, the toppings were fresh and tasty.  The pizza is loaded with cheese-a good quality mozzarella cheese.

But, I thought the sauce was lacking, both in flavor and quantity! I had to check and see if there was sauce.  Now, the crust-the weakest part of this pizza.  It was a cracker crust, which I do not like at all.  While it held up the toppings well, I would have much preferred a softer chewier crust.

Service is good.  The guy taking our order was friendly and helpful.  Something I noticed was that he was happy to see us take pictures of the food.  When I first started The New Diner, people would always ask why am I taking pictures of the food.  My normal response was "None of your damn business." but now with camera phones, most restaurants embrace people taking pictures of their food.  Unless you're a pompous asshole like the owner of Father's Office.

If you like a cracker-crust pizza, you'll love Petrilli's.  If you prefer a softer crust, go to somewhere else, like San Biagio's Pizza, just across Mountain Ave!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Future of The New Diner 2

For the past eight years or so, I've had a blast trying different restaurants and writing reviews on The New Diner and The New Diner 2.  I started The New Diner as a way for me to learn how to use the new digital camera I got in 2005.   Then, I couldn't believe people actually read my reviews!

Now it's 2014 and I've decided it's time to close The New Diner 2.   Maybe not completely close it, but there won't be many reviews.  If I find a really good restaurant, I may comment on it but don't expect pictures, since my motto is there is no I in phone!

Thank you to all the loyal The New Diner and The New Diner 2 readers. 

Added April 21, 2014

I'll try to keep the list of closed restaurants updated.  Usually what happens is that I'll be in the area and notice that a restaurant is no longer there.  For example, I was in Long Beach recently and  noticed Shorehouse Cafe and Sushi Saurus, were no longer there.