Fire House Express, 121 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Euclid), Upland
Rather than a fire station with express firefighting service, Fire House Express is a casual pizza and pasta restaurant in a shopping center storefront by Vons. Pizza is baked in an open fire oven, probably accounting for the name.
It’s a clean, sharp looking place with modern design and a couple of TVs hanging in the corners. You order at the counter and return to a booth. (A server brings the food to your table.) They sell pizza, sandwiches, fried chicken and pasta. I stopped in for dinner this week and had the lasagna ($7.99) as a dinner with salad and soda ($2.99 more). Later in the week I returned for a pizza slice lunch special with salad and soda ($4.99).
The salad comes in a transparent takeout container but isn’t bad for what it is. The lasagna was made while I waited and was essentially a plate of noodles, sauce, cheese and sausage, rather than a tightly layered concoction. Still, I liked it enough to return for the pizza. It’s not a high-volume slice place. The chef, who was making a pizza as I ordered, asked what I’d like on my slice. What the heck, I requested sausage and mushrooms.
What arrived was a wide but stubby slice, apparently one-fourth of a small pizza. The crust was airy, almost fluffy, the toppings generous, the sausage especially good.
Overall, Fire House Express was a pleasant surprise. I wouldn’t recommend going there for dinner unless you like solitude — over the course of 90 minutes one evening, I was the only customer — but it’s a good lunch spot if you’re anywhere nearby.