Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vince's Spaghetti Express

Whenever I'm in the Temecula area and it's getting close to dinner and I'm getting really hungry and out of time, I head for Vince's Spaghetti Express, one of my favorite "fast food" options and order the spaghetti dinner for two to go. For $15.75 they offer a salad (just greens - good to add to when you get home), soup (a plain Jane minestrone), choice of cheese or garlic bread and plenty of the superb American style spaghetti and meat sauce. We can never eat it all. They also sell the sauce separately and I keep a couple of containers in the freezer for emergency meals. The salad, the soup and the bread are all unremarkable but part of this kind of American spaghetti dinner, so we enjoy it in the context of background for the very delicious spaghetti and meat sauce.

Vince's has been in business for over 67 years with the original store in Ontario and the second in Rancho Cucamonga. It's been owned and operated by the same family for the duration. The outlet in Temecula has been there for 8 years.

The first location opened in September 1945 as a 6 stool French Dip sandwich and orange juice stand. The spaghetti part of the business began by accident. According to Vince's website, one of the Uncles in the family was sitting there eating a plate of his mother's spaghetti and meatballs. A customer asked if the dish was on the menu. Well, no it wasn't but they started bringing it from "mama's" home kitchen and the business grew rapidly. They sold a plate of spaghetti and meatballs for 65 cents. Today they sell over 15,000 miles of spaghetti a year.

The meat sauce is excellent - rich and meaty with a caramelized flavor you achieve only by simmering the sauce for a long, long time.  Vince's uses steam jacketed kettles - they look like 50 gallon size to me. They pre-mix the spaghetti with a little sauce so the spaghetti strands are coated and don't clump up when you get it home and plop it on the plate. When you remove it from the container, it slides out in separate strands.

Most of their business in Temecula is to-go..they have a drive thru window and the experience at packaging the items so nothing leaks. All the hot things go into one bag stuffed together tightly so that they don't jostle around and leak. The cool things - the salad and dressing, napkins, cutlery and little packages of parmesan (we always ask them to leave them out but get them anyway) go into another bag. We're frequently disappointed with take-out food because of the stupidity of the packing..the food may be okay but when you get it home, somethings leaked. It's not rocket science and if you're in the to-go business, it should be done correctly. Vince's never leaks.

You can eat in and the service is efficient and friendly. This is not a glamorous place - a converted Taco Bell, but it's comfortable, relaxed and unpretentious.

Fast, filling, cheap, friendly!


  1. I was so surprised to see your review of Vinces. I had forgotten all about it being in Temecula. We did eat there once and loved it. But the surprising part is that it's nostalgic for Nancy and I as when we were kids and lived in Pomona it was our families' special "eat out" restaurant.(the one in Ontario) Also part of my 50th high school reunion was held there. All of Pomona loved Vinces (and probably still do) Thanks for reminding me of it.

  2. You guys always know about the good spots. What fun to have your high school reunion there!