Restaurant of the Week: Sal’s Pizza and Bagelry

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Sal’s Pizza and The Bagelry, 2095 Foothill Blvd. (at D), La Verne

I’ve passed this combo restaurant on Foothill at D Street probably hundreds of times, but for whatever reason it never occurred to me until a couple of weeks ago that I ought to actually eat there sometime.

I had been inside once. Circa 1998, for a feature story, a photographer and I spent a day driving around the Inland Valley to check out banks that had been converted into other commercial uses. I don’t have access to that story, but the La Verne building had been some sort of a bank — anyone remember which one? — and the main entrance was then The Bagelry. Sometime in the past few years, Sal’s Pizza was added.

(The sign out front advertises the building’s two less-visible businesses, Taco Factory and Juice Stop. Because of the strange spacing, I always read the sign in jest as Taco Juice/Factory Stop.)

Anyway. The restaurant seats 87, plus another 20 or so on the patio, so it’s quite large. It’s pleasant enough, tiled everywhere. A lot of restaurants would envy the generous patio. Speaking of generous, the sprawling menu has bagels, bagel sandwiches, salads, sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, pizza and pasta, and there’s an espresso bar.

I had the Route 66, a sandwich of turkey, swiss, tomato, onion and pickle, and got it on a plain bagel, toasted ($5.95-ish), and an iced tea ($2-ish). I didn’t expect great things, and didn’t receive them, but the sandwich was acceptable. There were several customers, including a young guy on a laptop at the espresso bar and an older couple in a booth, each reading a paperback as they ate silently.

Anyone tried the pizza?

* Update, March 2014: I came back for the pizza: the Sal’s Special (small $14.45), which has sausage, bacon, green and red peppers, pepperoni, onions and mushrooms. The thing was a beast: the toppings generous, the crust bready but crisp on the bottom. The large chunks of sausage were especially notable. I ate half and got two light meals out of the other half. Sal’s would not be my go-to pizzeria, but I would go back. (By the way, Taco Factory and Juice Stop are both gone.)

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  • Eric

    Was the bank a First Interstate? I believe that was what it was, but difficult to say for sure.

    Yes, the pizza is outstanding. Interesting story: Sal, the owner, used to own and operate Sal’s Red Devil in La Verne over 10 years ago (former Vons/CVS center on Wheeler and Foothill) and sold it to Roland Monaco, whose family still owns the Red Devil and now also runs Monoco’s Pizza in Rancho Cucamonga, a place you visited back in March.

    Anyways, once Sal sold the business, there was a clause that he could not operate another pizza place within so many miles for 10 years. Once the 10 years were up, Sal purchased The Bagelry and added pizza to the menu.

    The fact that Sal was not allowed to make pizza in the vicinity should tell you something. It is fantastic. I highly recommend the Sal’s Special. Sal may not be the most personable man, but he sure can fire a pizza.

    [Wow! Great story. Maybe I can go back for a Sal's Special sometime. Thanks, Eric. -- DA]

  • Tad Decker

    I will throw out a guess that the building you mentioned was originally a Security Pacific National Bank.

  • Three J

    I’ve only eaten there once. Had a bagel and I don’t remember what else. But there was an couple, in a booth, silently eating and reading paperbacks when I was there. Wonder if it was the same couple. I didn’t refer to them as “older” since to me they may be “younger.”

    [Forget whether it was the same couple. Wonder if it was the same paperbacks? -- DA]

  • Gene Harvey

    Tad has it right. That building was a Security Pacific Bank.

  • Charles Bentley

    GREETINGS:
    First, yes, I believe it was Security Pacific Bank.

    I certainly recommend the The Bagelry’s breakfast offerings, although I admit I’m partial to Miss Donuts & Bagels in the center on the NE corner of Fruit & Foothill (great bagels, donuts and morning breakfast sandwiches).

    You tend to see quite a few commuters/local students in the A.M. at The Bagelry, probably because of its proximity to the 210, Bonita HS and the university. There is certainly lots of space and a cozy atmosphere, especially during the morning hours.

    Can’t say that I’ve tested the pizza, but knowing how popular Sal’s Red Devil was back then, I’ll give it a try. There are a lot of pizza & pasta options in the vicinity, including Pizza ‘n Stuff (on the west end of the newly revised Vons Shopping Center, SE corner Bonita & Wheeler) and Warehouse Pizza (D Street in downtown La Verne, a tradition for generations of ULV students and alumni).

    [And there's a Miss Donuts at D and Bonita in downtown LV, let's not forget. Their donuts are excellent. -- DA]

  • Dave East

    I had not eaten there before because of a bad review. My granddaughter said it was a great place to eat. I was invited by a friend and decided to try it. I was pleasantly surprised. There was no rudeness and the food was awesome. I just came back from there tonight (7/14/09).

    I had the Ham Hot Dip and my wife the Beef Hot Dip. Both were delicious. I recommend it highly and will make my own decisions from now on.

    [Every restaurant (and movie, book, etc.) is somebody's favorite and somebody's least favorite so all opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. Glad to hear you liked it. -- DA]

  • DAve

    Their pizza is great and frankly this is my new go-to place now that Warehouse has gone downhill so badly.

  • DAve

    Update: after a few stern talking-to’s, Warehouse has returned. And unless the owner is involved, Sal’s pizza seems to be inconsistent in quality and quantity.