Old Spaghetti Factory on Ponce set to close on Sunday

By Maria Saporta

Sometimes restaurants become friends of the family.

So when one of those restaurants goes out of business, it closes a chapter of memories.

That’s the way it is with the Old Spaghetti Factory on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Yesterday, I got a call from my best friend, Francie, saying that the Spaghetti Factory was going to closing its doors at the end of the week.

It just so happens that her children’s grandparents — Joyce and Candler Lasseter — have been going to the Spaghetti Factory every week for years.

Back when my children were younger and my parents were still living, the Old Spaghetti Factory also was one of our regular haunts.

Maybe it was the chandeliers or maybe it was the reconstructed “Atlanta Streetcar” in the middle of the main dining room. Or maybe it was the fixed price menu that included a salad, tea or soda, a pasta entré, bread and ice cream all for about $10. Or maybe it was because Carmen and David loved the Spinach tortellini with Alfredo sauce. Or maybe it was the Shirley Temples served in souvenir glasses.

Whatever the reason, the Old Spaghetti Factory made my children feel as though we were going out to a special place for dinner.

As soon as Francie called, I called Carmen and David to break the news to them. Immediately, they said that’s where they wanted to go to dinner.

As we were waiting to be seated, we saw the posted notice announcing that after more than 20 years, the Old Spaghetti Factory in Atlanta would be closing on Sunday.

Employees got the news over the weekend. They were told that business was off — especially on weekdays, and the owners of the national chain had decided to close the Atlanta location.

Our good-bye dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory brought back echoes of the many times we had gathered at the restaurant. My parents would invite close friends, including the late Joe Amisano and his family, Narayan Sengupta, his wife, children, his mother, his father and step-mother.

One of my favorite memories was when my mother, my kids and I decided to have dinner inside the streetcar. Mama was in a playful mood.

When the waitress came up to take our drink order, Mama started asking her what time our train was going to leave. The waitress played along. So when Mama asked her what time we were going to reach our destination, the waitress said we were running a few minutes late.

The memories of past meals remind me how many close friends and family members have passed on.

Here we are in 2010. And this time, it’s the Old Spaghetti Factory that has reached the end of the line.

Good-bye old friend.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

13 replies
  1. Yanna says:

    I have worked there for years and will miss interacting with you and so many other guests that have become family. This trolley car has left the station…Report

    Reply
  2. Fred says:

    I met my wife on a blind date there almost 20 years ago. I was supposed to take my 7 year old daughter there on Feb 5th before we went to her father/daughter Girls Scout dance. I just told her and she cried. She loved the place. She was the cat’s meow when she got to sit in the trolley. My family and I will miss it. As my daughter just said, “We have history there.”Report

    Reply
  3. Lee says:

    Lot of memories in that place. I sat in the streetcar one night, looked across the table with a lump in my throat and asked my girlfriend’s parents for permission to marry their daughter. Thankfully they said yes.

    Hate to see it go. The food wasn’t all that great, but it was a landmark.Report

    Reply
  4. angela says:

    i am so upset about this!!! my mom and my aunt just left there today and called me up to let me know the place we loved to go is closed… so very sad about this…Report

    Reply
  5. Gigi says:

    I loged on for directions and I was sad to see that the factory is no longe in business. the OSP was a place where you would see people dressed in daily duds all the way up to formal locals feasting on a wondeful dish of pasta. My family celebrated many birthdays here, and we also took our out of town family and friends to go feast on a cheap dish of pasta in an intresting setting….. ..Farwell to the memories and food, it will be forever missed:(Report

    Reply
  6. michael thompson says:

    Morning,I was wondering if the old spaghetti factory is going to do anything with their unbeliveable antiques in the restraunt? If you know can you please pass the info onto me. THANK YOUReport

    Reply
  7. Michael Tiller says:

    Aw, no! Say it ain’t so! They’re really closed for good now? Aw man, that was such a great restaurant too! I mean the decorations, the food, even a train car in the middle of the restaurant where you could eat…man, that was so great. I even remember having a birthday party there back in the 90s, but I can’t remember how old I turned.

    That is so sad. I’ll miss it…:(Report

    Reply
  8. Rebecca DuVall says:

    This is Another Very Sad Loss for Atlanta and all the people who Loved The Spaghetti Factory . . . Our family has gone there countless times since the very beginning and has enjoyed celebrating special occasions along with dining there on just Any day, because we Loved it So . . . it will be Missed Greatly, but we will Always have our Wonderful Memories of times there . . .

    Thanks, Spaghetti Factory, for being part of our lives!Report

    Reply
  9. Ray says:

    I just found out the Old Spaghetti Factory in Atlanta closed. A buddy and I make an almost annual pilgrimage to Atlanta to see the Braves and this has been one of our stops for years. We start discussing what we will order while making the 5+ hour ride down I-85 from North Carolina. We’ve always had excellent service and great food. It seems all the best restaurants close and all we are left with are the mediocre ones. This is a true loss for the area. Guess we’ll have to search out something new on our next trip.Report

    Reply

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