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Old Spaghetti Factory Coming to the Downtown

Business owners have mixed feelings about the new restaurant.

Updated 2:10 p.m. with comments from a manager and owner of two other businesses.

As part of the City Council's plans to bring more businesses downtown as part of the , the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant just finalized plans on opening a new location on Broadway in Redwood City.

“We are very excited about this” Mayor Jeff Ira said. “The restaurant will be a great addition to the city and a perfect fit for the location.”

There is no word on when the restaurant’s opening will be, but it is many months off.

The restaurant will occupy the two vacant spaces that are located in the cinema/retail complex on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Broadway. The development includes a 20-screen movie theater, 85,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space and a public parking garage. It is the first time those spaces will be occupied since the cinema opened in 2006.

“It is hard to find businesses that go well with the theater,” Ira said. “They have to be reasonably priced and family-orientated; the Old Spaghetti Factory is both.”

Although the city does not own the cinema property, it played a major role in attracting the new restaurant.

“We played a number of different roles. We are providing redevelopment monies and being a bit more proactive about everything,” Ira said.

Ira thinks it is important to “look at all aspects of the opportunities before us and see what it will take to make things happen.” He also said a new philosophy and “can-do attitude” is sweeping through City Hall. “We are asking how we can make it work with this or that project,” he said. “Facing the challenges of a proposed project and asking what it can do and how it will benefit everyone.”

But many in the downtown area feel there are too many restaurants already and another one will just cut into everyone else’s business.

"This does create more competition because people are initially going to want to try out the new restaurant," said Adam Ocegueda, manager at on Broadway. "But we feel confident enough in our food to know that even though there are more choices, they won't stop coming to our restaurant."

Others welcomed the new addition.

“Keep ‘em coming!” said Executive Chef Donato Scotti of . “It can only benefit all the businesses by bringing more people to downtown city.”

“Good business people know the more they surround themselves with good businesses, the more successful everyone is going to be,” Ira said. “Everyone should be excited about this.”

Other downtown business owner shares Ira’s excitement. Diane Cusimano, who along with husband Renato owns the on Main Street, thinks “the more the merrier.”

“We are all trying desperately to get more people to come to our downtown and having another quality business is great,” she added.

The City Council recently approved the city’s downtown precise plan that will allow 500,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of retail space. The plan will also allow 2,500 residential units and 200 hotel rooms.

The Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant chain has 16 other locations in California and is owned by the Dussin Group, which owns and operates a portfolio of distinctive establishments.

Eggbert February 21, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Is this a news story or an opinion piece? Nothing labels it as commentary, but it launches immediately into opinion/analysis: "in what can only be seen ...". Only? Granted, most readers might agree an anchor tenant signed for a vacant downtown building is indeed a big step. That sentence still doesn't belong in a news piece. Readers might well question the veracity of what follows. And indeed, what follows reads as an endorsement disguised as reportage. The sub-headline notes "mixed feelings" about the plans. What are the concerns, specifically? Who has them? What are they based on? We don't learn those points. Instead we're treated to the bane of the pseudo-news story, "many feel", with vague assertions about "too many restaurants". ONE sentence, assertion rather than fact. Legit journalism demands fleshing out and probing these concerns. Interview and quote a named person who feels this way. The science of business is thoroughly studied; ask a academic or disinterested downtown planner for an analytical take. Instead, after that single, undeveloped "many feel" sentence, another pro-restaurant quote from the mayor cuts the issue dead. The only other named source weighs in on the same side. I have no opinion on the topic. My concern is good journalism. This story wouldn't pass muster in a school news weekly. That's without even considering its multiple copy-editing errors. If Patch wants to be taken seriously as a news entity, let's see some vigorous editing.
Dee Eva February 21, 2011 at 04:27 PM
I'm thrilled The Old Spaghteei Factory is coming to downtown Redwood City. There is always room for more choices when it comes to dining
Kathryn Bedbury February 21, 2011 at 04:28 PM
I think that it's a great plan to open the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant downtown! I think it will draw more people to our downtown area.
George Sliter February 21, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Hey Eggbert -- Nice lesson on journalism. I agree it appears that Steve Penna had his op ed hat on when he wrote it. Stacie Chan would do well to give her readers her viewpoint and going-forward policy on articles. In this transition period between traditional newspapers and who-knows-what-the-new-"standard"-might-be, we all need to be a little flexible and understanding of what we're reading in a new-fangled "newspaper" with electrons rather than ink. I personally welcome some home-spun articles from non-journalists. How ironic that you you jumped all over a professional journalist! PS, Eggbert -- If it were I chiding about "copy-editing errors," I would have checked my comment more carefully (a academic..(sic)) before clicking "Submit."
George Sliter February 21, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Oops. For those of you who don't know, Mr. Penna is the long-time editor of our local ink rag, the Spectrum. I think it's a fine "rag."
Augcam February 21, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Eggbert - I agree on every comment. I had no idea where this article was going.
Linda Coltman February 21, 2011 at 06:32 PM
The Old Spaghetti Factory will bring some more folks downtown guaranteed!!
Laura Whittaker February 21, 2011 at 07:29 PM
I am very excited about this new restaurant in the downtown area. We are always wanting to do more downtown and don't care for the empty store fronts and dark buildings at night. I hope this is an indication of as Mayor Ira says a new "can do" attitude at city hall. Can not wait to see what else is coming. As far as the comments on the writer, I, like most in our community, am used to Mr. Penna's opinion columns and have to say he provokes a lot of conversation around town and is usually right on the spot. I thought the story structure was good as well as the content. I was surprised however that there was not any opinions opposite of the ones quoted as Penna is usually the first journalist to give us that. I guess everything does not have to be controversial? Overall the story was good and informative. The Old Spaghetti Factory will be great!
Eggbert February 21, 2011 at 09:29 PM
George Sliter: guilty as charged. I'll ask Patch to withhold my check. ;) Laura, the issue isn't who wrote the column, or what that individual may have written in the past. It's the presentation of the item as "news". The bright line between editorial/viewpoint items and straight news reporting is a key measure of legitimate journalism. If that's what Patch aspires to, that's what its writers and editors need to stringently maintain.
Stacie Chan (Editor) February 21, 2011 at 10:17 PM
First I want to thank everyone for their comments. I believe the best part about online journalism is being able to spur discussions like this one, not just about the article content, but about journalistic integrity. Eggbert, I believe you were right to be critical about the opinionated slant in this article. The first sentence in the lede graf was biased and I have edited that to reflect more objectivity. However, overall, I believe Steve Penna did a solid job of providing history on the City Council's downtown revitalization efforts, so publishing this article was noteworthy. Especially in this economic recession, bringing a restaurant of this notoriety to our downtown is big news that will generate more traffic to the downtown area. In the sub-hed, I noted that there were mixed feelings about this new addition. These opinions should have been made more explicit, so I ran an "update" with remarks from the business manager and owner of two Redwood City establishments. My apologies for the lax approach I initially took to editing this article. But as always, I welcome the comments (and the criticism) because it does help to better Patch as a news organization. We publish news pieces as well as opinion pieces from people of all backgrounds, whether they are "professional" journalists or not. I believe journalists are no longer elitist "gatekeepers" of news, but we as a society have a responsibility for contributing valuable information, degree or no degree.
Nicholas Kibre February 21, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Sheesh! I'm not sure what exactly people expect from an article announcing a new restaurant! Ok, I have an actual question: Other Old Spaghetti Factories have old trolley cars as part of their decor. Will this one?
Steve Penna February 22, 2011 at 09:22 AM
Thanks for the feedback positive or not. It all helps one way or another. Thanks for taking the time to do so . . .
Steve Penna February 22, 2011 at 09:26 AM
Nicholas - I have called the corporate offices but due to the holiday no one has had the opportunity to get back to me. Patch and I will update the details as we get them. I hope they do have the old trolley cars in one format or another. Thanks for taking the time to send a message.
Ian Bain February 22, 2011 at 09:29 PM
While the debate on journalism is mildly interesting, it's unfortunate that the point of the story is lost in these comments. The point is that a popular family restaurant is filling a space that has been vacant since 2006. I believe it will draw even more people to downtown and will have a snowball effect. You can see it in all the other OSF locations. They draw crowds and other businesses spring up around them. There's no controversy here. This is a great thing for Redwood City!
Eggbert February 22, 2011 at 11:33 PM
Stacie, thanks for your responsiveness and your fixes to the story. Ian, Nicolas: I'd rather discuss and form an opinion on Patch's credibility on a less-controversial, lower-stakes topic than down the road on a divisive, hot-button issue. That's not the best time to try to figure out whether a journalistic source is trustworthy. Patch is integrating into the community as we speak. Right now we as news consumers are establishing how high our standards and expectations are - even when, yes, discussing a restaurant. Thanks to all for an invigorating discussion!
Phyllis McArthur March 03, 2011 at 12:42 AM
25 years ago, I went to the Spagetti Factory in down town San Jose, (alot) I hope this one is as good at that one, the cheese cake was to die for.
Miss Courtney October 18, 2011 at 10:34 PM
I usually avoid downtown RWC due to ghost town buildings, nothing to do after 9pm, and parking issues before then. Spaghetti Factory might be the thing to draw me down there again. I appreciated the conversation about journalism as well - it's good to see a criticism dealt with a civil discourse.
Stacie Chan (Editor) October 18, 2011 at 11:18 PM
Hey Nicholas, the trolley cars will be there! Here's a photo. http://redwoodcity.patch.com/articles/two-weeks-till-the-old-spaghetti-factory-opens#photo-8044896. And as Ian Bain mentioned in his "A Day in the Life of..." candidacy video, the OSF worked with city historians to incorporate some of Redwood City's history into the look and feel of the trolley cars. http://redwoodcity.patch.com/articles/video-a-day-in-the-life-of-ian-bain
Jim Clifford October 19, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Old spaghetti? Sounds gross. Can't the factory make fresh spaghetti?
Phyllis McArthur October 19, 2011 at 04:08 AM
Jim, very funny
Phyllis McArthur October 19, 2011 at 04:24 AM
Jim, good answer! If this product is as good as my first experience in the 80's you will love it
Jim Clifford October 19, 2011 at 04:56 AM
Phyllis: I'm sure I will. I walked by the OSF today and was reminded of those San Francisco eateries that are known as much for their history as their food. Glad you appreciated the humor.
Gene Firpo February 22, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Eggbert Have you worked for a new source? Learn how to spell...

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