[Foodie Friday] The “Pasquini’s Problem”

“I liked Pasquini’s before it was cool.”

My dad grew up in Denver, around Mississippi and Umatilla, which is really close to the original Pasquini’s at Louisiana and Broadway. When I was younger and my grandparents still lived at that house we would go to Pasquini’s and get spaghetti and meatballs to go for a big family dinner. To me, this was what good pasta was. For years and years I went there for every birthday dinner or any sort of special occasion.

Simply put, Pasquini’s has always been my favorite. Which is why it pains me to say that I don’t really claim it as my favorite anymore…..

There is this problem that sometimes arises when neighborhood family-owned restaurants become popular. Inevitably the demands of more customers end up diluting the original essence of the place- in the name of “progress” of course. As I was listening to the Pasquini’s commercial (!) on the radio, I couldn’t help but feel like they are the perfect example of this problem. Therefore, I must now dub this the “Pasquini’s problem”.

You see, the original Pasquini’s was adorable. It was a tiny cramped old building with mis-matched tables, plates, etc. When you walked in the owner’s mom was in front folding silverware greeting you with a smile. You sometimes had to wait a long time, but it was worth it because you got the feeling that you were in their home. And the vegetarian lasagna was life changing. Key word = was.

Pasquini’s is different now. The demand for more customers lead them to significantly increase their clientele by adding five more stores and expanding the original store. These new stores all look the same and they are very clean cut and “suburban” looking. The menu is exactly the same at all of them, but the quality has sadly decreased. This is not to say that it is bad- it is still a million times better than Olive Garden and the like- but it is not the spaghetti and lasagna I fell in love with as a little girl.

I feel bad for hating on Pasquini’s, because I am happy for their success. I’m sure 35 years ago when the first restaurant opened they had dreams of expansion like this…. and I’m sure they are happy with what they have built from the ground up… but I just can’t say it is my favorite anymore.

It probably makes me an uber hipster for having these thoughts, but whatevs.



One thought on “[Foodie Friday] The “Pasquini’s Problem”

  1. I feel like this change has happened recently though. When Hap and I first started dating, we used to go to Pasquinis all the time. We moved and there was no Pasquinis in our neighborhood, so we stopped going. We recently went back, and it was completely different. The menu, the taste, the service. Everything. I was so disappointed that it is a different place than what I remembered.

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