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Monday, February 01, 2010

Nonna Pizzeria - South Pasadena

To be fair, the day after eating at Mamma's Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta - South Pasadena, cousin Q and I went to Nonna Pizzeria, which supposedly features the recipes of the original owner of Mamma's Brick Oven, to compare differences. The nonna (Italian grandmother) featured in this restaurant used to be pictured in the original Mamma's Brick Oven logo. Nonna Pizzeria is owned by the granddaughter of the nonna pictured, and is the daughter of one of the original owners of Mamma's Brick Oven, the one who gave allegedly sabotaged recipes to the new owners of Mamma's Brick Oven. Got all that?

Nonna Pizzeria - South Pasadena 1

I don't know if the current owner of Nonna Pizzeria was mixed up in the whole Mamma's Brick Oven fiasco or not, so I tried to keep an open mind when we dined there. The menu was similar with pizzas by the slice, pizza rolls, and garlic knots.

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We got an artichoke, tomato, and spinach pizza slice for $3.50.

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Three garlic knots, $1.75. These were bigger and softer than the garlic knots at Mama's Brick Oven, but we only got half as many for the same price. I did like the bread roll-like softness of these more.

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Sausage stuffed pizza, $3.50.

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And a pepperoni stromboli, $5.50.

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While it was the late afternoon, the restaurant was completely empty. So far, the dueling restaurants were neck and neck in terms of menu, price, and taste. There wasn't any huge difference to set one above the other. Until a delivery came.

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As she was filling a drink for the delivery man, the owner made some comment about him not going to her competition down the street.

Are you kidding me?

Let's recap per the Pasadena Weekly article shall we? The partners of the original Mamma's Brick Oven were forced to sell their business, and along with the sale, were supposed to hand over the restaurant's recipes. Except the new owners were given recipes that didn't work. So one partner had to sneak them the real recipes, except by then, the new owners had hired a pizza consultant who gave them supposedly better recipes. Then the other partner's daughter opens Nonna Pizzeria just a block away and down the street from her father's original restaurant, presumably using the recipes he refused to hand over. Whether that's unethical or not I won't get into, but while dining at Nonna Pizzeria, to hear the owner badmouthing her competition, especially given the circumstances, well, that quickly made up my mind to take my business to Mamma's Brick Oven.

Other South Pasadena posts:
Bistro De La Gare Restaurant & Wine Bar - South Pasadena
Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain - South Pasadena
Farmers' Market - South Pasadena
Gus's BBQ - South Pasadena
Mamma's Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta - South Pasadena
Mike and Anne's Restaurant | Bar - South Pasadena

Nonna Pizzeria
818 Fair Oaks Ave.
South Pasadena, CA
11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

1 year ago today, Lunasia Chinese Cuisine (Dim Sum) - Alhambra.
2 years ago today, Nuoc Rau Ma (Vietnamese Pennywort Juice).
3 years ago today, some of my favorite restaurant and business names.

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