Restaurant of the Week: Barboni’s Pizza

CLOSED

This week’s restaurant: Barboni’s Pizza, 7270 Victoria Park Lane (at Base Line), Rancho Cucamonga; also 9792 19th St. (at Archibald).

I’m a flexible diner, rarely so gripped by desire for a particular cuisine that I can’t be waylaid by something else. Case in point: I was in northern Rancho on Thursday at lunchtime and figured I’d head east on Base Line past Day Creek to Nodaci (?), an out-of-the-way sushi bar I’d once seen a sign for. So, I’m there at the quaint Victoria Park neighborhood center, walking under the awning toward the sushi place, when I see the B in the window.

While I’m not totally opposed to eating at a B, it did give me pause, especially for raw fish. Barely breaking my stride, I veered a few feet to the right and into Barboni’s Pizza.

This is a new-ish second location for Barboni’s, with the original location on 19th. According to the menu, they’ve been in Rancho Cucamonga since 1986, which makes them practically historic. I’d never been there. The menu is slightly broader than most pizza parlors’, with more than a dozen pastas, all said to be prepared fresh daily.

I ordered the half lasagna lunch special ($6), which comes with a salad, garlic bread and drink, and took my seat. The dining room is spartan, well-lit and set up for families and sports teams, with most of the seating picnic-style on long tables with benches. A women’s softball game played on the flat-screen TV that dominated one wall.

As for the food, I wasn’t blown away, but for a six-buck lunch it was pretty good. A simple salad of shredded lettuce and mozzarella was improved by the oily Italian dressing. The lasagna came out bubbling in a teardrop-shaped dish. And I mean bubbling aggressively. It continued bubbling for 1:15 (I timed it, fascinated). My expectations dropped. But the sauce had some kick to it and in the end I wasn’t displeased.

Service was indifferent even though at 1:45 p.m. I was the sole customer.

Like a lot of places I visit, Barboni’s is a neighborhood restaurant, not one worth driving across the valley to try. But if you’re in the neighborhood, they may be worth investigating. Even if you thought you were in the mood for Japanese.

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  • Scott in R.C.

    Going from possible sushi place to pizza place, you obviously have no problem shifting gears!

    The old pizza joint that was in that same spot was called Mr. C’s Pizza. They had the same type of service, which was essentially a “couldn’t care less if you were there or not” attitude. They expanded the place to include the next door section which made up the “sports” area with the bench seating, televisions, pool tables, juke box and video games. The food was decent and usually you had no problem finding an open table, even on a Friday night.

    After many years of doing business, they closed down about a year or two ago.

    My fond memories of Mr. C’s include my wife and I walking there with our neighbors from our old house in the area and pushing my daughter’s stroller, loaded up with my daughter and some adult beverages while our neighbors pushed their stroller (also loaded up with beverages) with their son down to Mr. C’s. We would then fill up on pizza and more adult beverages and afterwards walk uphill back home. Funny how the pizza always seemed to taste great when combined with a pitcher of said beverage.

    Good times.

    [Thanks for the history, Scott. -- DA]

  • Desdave

    Coming from someone who is “in the industry,” you DO NOT want to eat at a place with a ‘B’ or worse in the window unless first asking to see the most current health report… it should have the same date as the ‘B’ in the window. I promise you that after you see the report you will leave.

    I have inspected many a place that had an ‘A’ proudly hanging in the window that I would never consider dining at.

    An ‘A’ does not automatically qualify an establishment as not being nasty… but a ‘B’ outright ensures it!

    You (all) have been warned.

  • Gloria

    The original Barboni’s has been owned by the current owners for approximately four years. We have been going there ever since we moved to Alta Loma nine years ago. Every Sunday after Pop Warner football our team would meet to celebrate our win, or drown our sorrows in beer with a loss. During high school it was where we also went after the games. The pizza is very good (order well done with extra sauce) and a lot of people really like the spaghetti (I’m not a spaghetti person myself). Haven’t been to the new location, we like the old one.

    [Thanks for the added info, Gloria. -- DA]

  • Shirley Wofford

    A few years ago, I dragged my friends all over L.A.’s Chinatown looking for a restaurant for us to have dinner. They were so exasperated with me, because I refused to eat at anything not rated “A”, and they were tired of walking. When we finally did get one I would accept, the food was very expensive and not that good. I say, “Stick with the Chinese restaurants in Montclair. They are reasonable and good.”

    On Sunday, I heard some sad news from my son in Washington state. He said that several hundred employees of the Chili’s restaurants in the Portland area had gone in to work and found out their respective restaurants were shut down and they were out of jobs. They had received no prior notice. I had not seen anything in the headlines so I looked into some Portland area stories. Much to my dismay, I found that the stories are true.

    This has got to be a huge blow to the economy in Oregon. I can imagine how those workers are going to feel when they get their government stimulus checks. We have a Chili’s here and I fear the worst is going to spread. The parent company is also the owner of Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

    [Ah, yes, Macaroni Grill, which shut its Rancho Cucamonga location (while retaining its Montclair location) back in March. -- DA]

  • Shirley Wofford

    David, right after I wrote, I decided I was hungry for Chinese. So, we headed to my favorite Chinese restaurant, and as we started to walk in, staring at me in the window was a great big “B”. I took a quick turn-around and headed my husband off to another resturant in the development. What a comeuppance!

    I hesitate to name the restaurant, but if you post this, they might get the idea that they need to make some changes.

    [At least you remained true to your "A"-grade convictions. -- DA]

  • Jim L

    I visited a restaurant in Rosemead once that creatively attempted to disguise their rating. It was a hole in the wall Chinese food restaurant that had their menu options and prices painted in the window. Only on close inspection could one notice that the large “C” used in combination “C” was actually their rating card. They were closed permanently shortly thereafter.

    [The "C" also stood for "creativity." -- DA]