Gregg Hunter’s Newspace

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Paty’s patio hangout is marking 50 years at 10001 Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake (with time out for IRS closure in 1999). Fortunately, current owner George Metsos saw the possibilities and rescued Paty’s, still recalled by old- timers as Gaby’s in its early years. Metsos correctly sensed that he was acquiring a piece of neighborhood history

A long parade of celebrities has shared coffee and conversation here and the walls are covered with autographed photos. A new generation of show biz faces comes in from Disney and other nearby studios.

The first piece I did on Scarantino’s Italian Inn back in 1967 was typed on an E.C. Smith typewriter, set in lead type, proofread, corrected, rolled on the noisy presses and matted for reference. The newspaper production technology has changed drastically over the decades, but the specialties served up at the family owned landmark, located at 1524 E. Colorado Blvd. in Glendale, are much the same as when current owner Jim Scarantino’s colorful uncle ‘Chef’ Jesse Scarantino established the business. He did it his way and if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

The best and worst I can report about Scarantino’s is that nothing noticeable has changed. If prices have escalated it’s not noticeable. This is still a solid value dining experience with generous entrees, Minestrone soup and salad with a basket of fresh Italian bread

My favorite dish is the baked stuffed lasagna: layers of pasta, ground beef, mozzarella and ricotta cheese topped with meat sauce; yes, a fulfilling meal at $11.

The choice of my dinner companion was the popular homestyle cannelloni: crepes filled with fresh, creamy ricotta, ground beef, served on a plate with meat sauce and topped with Mornay Sauce, $11 with side dishes and bread basket.

I also savor the meatless fettuccini alfredo: noodles in a creamy butter sauce, $11 with soup, salad, and a bread basket.

There are several pizza toppings from $7.95 for an 8-inch, $9, for a 12 inch.

There’s a sensibly tagged wine list by the bottle, liter or glass. Sweet satisfaction includes Italian pastries, $4 and Spamoni, $5.

And so it goes. Countless choices and friendly service in a cozy setting, with meticulous maintenance and an adjoining self-parking facility and nearly all items are packaged to go. Dinner is served from 4:30 and Sundays at 3. Scarantino’s now also serves lunch weekdays from 11:30 ‘til 2:30. I only wish every family restaurant maintained Scarantino’s high standards.

“Buen Appetito e Salute!”

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The Curious Palate

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