Old Spaghetti Factory Franchisee to Open Redwood City Restaurant
The Dariotis Group, operators of twelve Old Spaghetti Factory franchises in California and Arizona, is expanding again. A 330-seat restaurant is scheduled to open in Redwood City, at Broadway and Jefferson, in October. Michael Dariotis, co-owner and one of three brothers running the only franchises for OSF International, reports they opened their first outlet outside California, in Chandler, Ariz., last Nov. 22.
During these challenging economic times, many restaurants nationwide are closing. But the Dariotises dare to expand. “We will have created more than 300 jobs in two states within a year,” says Dariotis. He cites reasonable prices for freshly prepared pasta as the main factor in their continued success. “We are as close to recession-proof as we can be.”
The Dariotis Group runs its franchises with exclusive approval of the Dussin family of the national organization. The Redwood City site was suggested and offered by Chris Dussin, president of OSF International and a cousin of the Dariotises. It was Chris’ father, Guss Dussin, who conceived the idea of a family-style Italian restaurant in 1969. His concept would feature low-priced menu items in a vibrant setting. His wife Sally Dussin is responsible for design and decoration of all restaurants from the early days to the present. After that humble Portland beginning, OSF International has grown to 40 locations from Tennessee to Hawaii. When the Redwood City OSF opens, the Dariotises will operate thirteen franchises of the chain’s 41 total stores.
Traditionally, big structures of 7,000 to 15,000 square feet provide homes for Old Spaghetti Factories. Seating ranges from 350 to 425, and most offer banquet rooms. Banquet seating runs from 100 to 150 seats at each location. Their buildings utilize brick walls and extensive woodwork, creating an unusual, warm décor. Each is filled with fine antiques and historic posters from around the world. A centerpiece for most locations is a vintage trolley car, offering the most popular seating, especially for youngsters. Each restaurant has an ornate bar with complete cocktail service.
From the beginning, complete lunches and dinners have been priced low, usually around $10. Each dinner entree comes complete with green salad or minestrone, a loaf of fresh bread, a beverage of coffee, tea or milk, and dessert of spumoni or vanilla ice cream. A complete dinner of spaghetti with marinara sauce sells today for $7.99. They offer a half dozen tasty pasta sauces. Mizithra cheese with browned butter is a house specialty. “We go out of our way to cater to our guests,” says Dariotis. “Our pasta is 100% durum semolina spaghetti. We offer angel hair, whole wheat, and gluten-free pasta, too.”
While the staff is proud of its freshly made pasta, they offer more. Other dinner favorites are breast of chicken fettuccine ($11.25), chicken parmigiana ($11.50), spinach and cheese ravioli ($9.99), and baked lasagna ($11.50).
The Dariotis Group’s first franchise opened in California’s capital in 1978. Housed in a converted Western Pacific Train Depot on J Street in downtown Sacramento, that initial location has thrived for 33 years.. As business boomed, they expanded in the Sacramento market with new franchises in Rancho Cordova, Roseville, Elk Grove and Stockton,, plus another in Concord. In 2008 they purchased four existing California locations from OSF International: Fresno, San Jose, Rancho Cucamonga and San Marcos.
With their ten locations in 2008, The Dariotis Group employed 875 service employees. With the addition of two Arizona locations and the upcoming Redwood City restaurant, they will have about 1,325 employees. Busiest locations for the Dariotises are San Jose and Rancho Cordova. Dariotis says, “When we open in Redwood City, our thirteen locations will be serving more than 53,000 pounds of spaghetti a month. That’s a fact that isn’t hard to swallow.”
The Old Spaghetti Factory caters to families and groups, and is a favorite for youngsters. They even offer a kid’s menu with meals starting at $5.95.
The late Michael Dariotis Sr., whose wife Georgia was the sister of OSF International’s Guss Dussin, was a part-owner of that original Old Spaghetti Factory. He moved his family to Sacramento to open the company’s first franchise in 1978. The current owners are the sons of Michael Dariotis Sr.—George, Michael Jr. and Chris—and their mother Georgia.