No matter how long you have been in town, you do not want to miss out on these great restaurants.
When I first attended University of La Verne, my first and most important concern was, and still is, food. What am I going to eat? What will I have for dinner? What restaurant can I afford, and what restaurant will cook food that I will actually find tasty? Why can’t I just be close enough to mom for a home-cooked meal? After a few years of hunting and fulfilling my appetite, I have found three restaurants whose food is not only delicious, but affordable as well.
The first restaurant, which I discovered last year, is Pizza n’ Stuff. It is owned by two brothers of Italian decent, Rick and John Mannina, who worked in their father’s pizza restaurant. In 1982, the pair decided to take over the restaurant, and have created a place where people can dine in a friendly atmosphere and enjoy Italian food.
The restaurant, which specializes in pizza, has over 20 appetizing choices to choose from, ranging from $6.60 to $22.95 a pizza, depending on the size and toppings. The fresh, hot and crispy pizzas consist of classic cheese and pepperoni to the jalapeno hot peppers and pineapple toppings. Any variety you choose will keep you going back for more.
In addition to the pizza, the restaurant is also famous for its Italian pastas, especially the lasagna. Pizza n’ Stuff has lunch specials that include six different spaghetti choices, such as meatball, sausage, beef ravioli, cheese ravioli, meat sauce and marinara sauce. The lunch specials, which include soup or fresh salad and fresh garlic bread, all fall under $10. Any dish on the menu can be ordered vegetarian, and it is very common to use the marinara sauce to replace the meat sauces.
Pizza n’ Stuff is located at 1532 Foothill Blvd. and is open daily. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner runs from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
If you are more in the mood for some homemade, mouth-watering Mexican food, Casa Garcia’s Grill is the place to go. This restaurant, which is located on 2124 Bonita Ave., specializes in all categories of traditional Mexican food. You can find anything from a burrito to a shrimp cocktail as well as the all-time favorite in-house specialties. The tiny and hidden eatery, which many don’t know exists, is owned by Teresa and Juan Garcia, and has been open for almost six years.
When you arrive at Garcia’s, the miniature restaurant automatically gives you a warm vibe that makes you feel right at home. The homemade sign standing outside the front door advertising the specialty of the day is only one of the many choices Garcia’s offers.
There are 14 different lunch combinations every day, which include Spanish rice and beans. Some of these include enchiladas, tostadas, taquitos rancheros, chimichangas and chile rellenos. Lunch specials can be purchased Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for less than $5, drink not included.
In addition to the lunch specials are the main dish categories, which consist of different dishes such as enchiladas covered in green tomatillo sauce and topped with sour cream, fajitas with your choice of steak, chicken, beef, shrimp or veggies and seafood combinations. However, Garcia’s is traditionally famous for the $8 Garcia burrito. The burrito is a flour tortilla filled with rice, beans and carne asada topped with tomatillo sauce, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, green onions and melted cheese.
A couple important things to keep in mind when going to Garcia’s: they only accept cash, and the hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m to 8 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you are spontaneous and like to try new things, The Grapevine, located at 1204 Foothill Blvd., which specializes in fine Mediterranean food, is the third eatery you shouldn’t skip out on. Built of stone, the restaurant has indoor and outdoor dinning, which makes it an inviting place to visit. The lighting, ornate furnishing, cozy booth seating, hookah bar and ethnic music in the background definitely add to the Mediterranean flavor.
You can find a variety of hot appetizers, all costing no more than $8. A few include sambousek, which is homemade dough, ground beef, onion, spices and pine nuts; falafel, which has fava beans (Mediterranean beans similar to lima beans), garbanzo, garlic, onion, and spices; and fried kibbeh, which are egg-shaped shells of beef and burgol (which is wheat that has been crushed, cooked, dried and stuffed with ground lamb), pine nuts and onions. In addition to the hot appetizers, the restaurant also has a great selection of cold appetizers, most under $5.
The Grapevine offers combination plates, which I recommend for first-timers. The combo grill, $14.99, is a mixture of beef kebab, kafta kebab and chicken kebab. A vegetarian combination plate is also offered, as well as Mixed Grill for Four for a larger variety. Moreover, there are nine different entrées, all served with freshly baked bread, grilled vegetables, rice or potatoes. If you are a seafood lover, don’t fret because you have not been forgotten; the restaurant also offers a mixture of dishes which include grilled shrimp and fish, topped with the chef’s special sauces, ranging from $13 to $20.
The Grapevine is open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and 5 p.m. to midnight. On Saturdays and Sundays, it is open from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. The kitchen closes Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m., and Friday through Sunday at midnight.
Now that you know the taste of La Verne’s best, don’t waste time deciding what you’re having for lunch or where you’re going to eat dinner. Instead, take some advice from someone who has spent years looking for these tasty places, and check the restaurants out for yourself. Enjoy!