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.