Located just down the street from the historical Wigwam Motel on Foothill Avenue in Rialto is Brother’s Pizza, a quaint restaurant-cum-pizzeria that dishes up a mean lunch. Brother’s hails itself as the “best homemade pizza in Rialto,” and I think that’s indisputable. I mean, can you name a better homemade pizza joint in the city of Rialto off the top of your head? But here’s the thing: Brother’s sells itself short in that modest claim, as it has some of the best homemade pizza in the entire IE (hand’s down, hand-tossed)—it’s been that way since it opened its doors in 1984.
You don’t reach your 25th Anniversary unless you’ve got the goods.
At the current location on Foothill (where it’s been since 1997), there’s a welcomeness to the vibe as you walk into the dark and air-conditioned cool of the front room, especially when you’ve been in the hot sun on a nuclear bright-white day—the kind which always hinder that area in rife summer. The lunch crowd on a given weekday (like the Thursday I went) is a diverse one, ranging from business people to families to couples to sports teams. There’s a muted soap opera that can be seen on the corner television. Hanging from the walls are painting canteens, and there are dark green curtains to keep things real, real dimmish—with sunlight only breaking through in shards and trickles. Such a place is always achatter, much like the famous Casa Vega in Studio City; it’s that type of ambiance.
On the day I went, Brother’s was near full to capacity for lunch. And, as a servant of habit (and to you, dear reader), I deferred to whatever our waitress suggested. In this case she pointed up the Brother’s Supreme as an uncontestable pie—“you’ll really like it”— and the sausage and peppers sandwich—“it’s really good”—for menu variation. We ordered those and sipped ice-cold refreshments while waiting, which could have been a bottle of sweating beer or a mug of cascading Michelob, but, being early afternoon, was fizzy cola. And you know something? Sobriety has never been better rewarded.
The Brother’s Supreme was brought out and set to the center of the table on a pizza-stand, and as a “small” pizza ($8.95) it would have been enough to sate Rabelais after a nine-day fast. Heaps of sausage, bacon, mushrooms, bell peppers, white onions, black olives were a visible swarm, with sub-formaggio pepperoni and Canadian bacon in thin layers revealed at the bite. This was followed immediately by The Aforementioned Sandwich ($7.25), a homemade roll open at a 45-degree angle, steaming with split Italian sausage and peppers in sauce. My friend jabbed a fork at it, just to see what could be done. I slid a Godfather’s hand under a slice of pizza and tried to keep the ingredients from toppling off to the side. We were both semi-successful. For the next 21 minutes, we grunted approvals eleven-hundred times and spoke only in monosyllables—“wow” and “so good” and “dig it, man,” the most elaborate.
As for the pizza, the hand-tossed crust was excellent, and there was no bad chemistry between the toppings. Be forewarned on portions, though—two big fellows like my friend and I took home half the pizza in a box, so if you order the extra large ($19.95), the large ($16.95) or the even the medium ($13.95), you’d better have more numbers than the Union Army at Appomattox. We did split the sausage and peppers sandwich, though, and managed to leave our plates empty save for a smudge of sauce—the sausage in this “bad-boy,” as my friend called it, was lean and crumbling-soft, the bread flattening to the sauce and weight.
Repeat: You don’t reach your 25th Anniversary unless you’ve for the goods. And Brother’s does.
We’ll leave it for another visit to try the pastas or the calzones or the parmigianas, as glimpses of these at nearby tables couldn’t help but pique the imagination. In the end, we waved off ice cream-cake temptations and loosened our belts, the sure sign of one-more-bite-and-I’ll-burstedness, which is a fine American way to be.
And it was all well worth the discomfort!
Brother’s Pizza, 142 E. Foothill Blvd., Rialto, (909) 874-3300. Open Sun., noon–9pm; Monday–Thursday, 11am-9pm, Fri.–Sat., 11am-10pm. Dine-in and take-out only; catering available. Lunch for two, approx. $20. AE, MC, V