RAISING THE ITALIAN BAR
By Allan Borgen
Located on the corner of Foothill Blvd. and Grove in a fairly large non-descript shopping center is the most enjoyable and affordably priced pizza joint called the Rockin’ Pizza Pub. As you enter the casual restaurant, you are greeted by a large black and white mural of iconic music stars, plenty of beer flags hanging from the ceiling and a small game room in the back (remember those?).
The menu is simple, offering a small variety of sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes and pizzas. The menu may seem like a trite grouping of your typical pizza joint—but the food totally rocks. The Meatball Sub features three large meatballs cut in half and drenched in a delicious rich marinara sauce that’s smothered with mozzarella cheese on a warm toasted roll. The homemade made meatballs are excellent and the perfect match for the robust herb-laden sauce and gooey melted cheese. Having just returned from eating my way through Philadelphia, I was anxious to see how the Rockin’ Philly Cheese Steak Sub fared in comparison to the original cheese steak sandwiches I devoured on my trip. The chopped and grilled onions, mushrooms and bell peppers along with a nice amount of thinly sliced steak with melted mozzarella cheese on a toasted French roll was good, even if the meat was a little dry.
The next item, the Lasagna, was a real hit. This classic Italian dish features five layers of lasagna pasta sheets with marinara meat sauce, parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella cheese and served with two slices of garlic bread. The dish is delicious and had lots of the restaurant’s fantastic, thick and rich marinara meat sauce with a ton of cheese. I highly recommend this pasta dish!
Now it’s time for some pizzas. I recommend the Spicy Chicano Pizza for thosse who enjoy hot and spicy flavors. This fiery creation consists of homemade pizza dough (made daily) with slices of Canadian bacon, sliced jalapenos, chorizo and mozzarella cheese. It comes on a flavorful and fluffy pizza dough, with crisp crust on the bottom. The second pizza I tried was the Pastrami Pizza, a unique pie with mustard, sliced pickles, a decent amount of pastrami and mozzarella cheese. The outstanding pizza dough made my taste buds dance for joy. No matter what pizza you decide to customize with your favorite toppings, it’s the dough that makes it oh-so-good.
I thought the Lasagna was the top choice—but then I tried the Calzone. This lovely gastronomical treat featured a medium-sized pizza dough filled with their scrumptious marinara sauce and a mozzarella and ricotta cheese mixture. For an extra 75 cents I added extra toppings of fresh spinach, onions, Italian sausage and mushrooms. The pizza is then folded over, topped with some Italian herbs and baked until the dough was crisp and brown. In this fashion, the calzone turns out perfect in every way. Once cut in half, the cheese and other goodies I chose oozed out and was indeed a pleasure to consume.
Owned and operated by Lily and her mother Bertha Valdez, it’s nice to see a small “mom and pop” pizzeria really take their food seriously while keeping the prices at a reasonable level for all to enjoy. Since nearly all of the food is made fresh to order, it can take a while for the food to arrive but believe me when I say you will not be disappointed.
Rockin’ Pizza Pub, 1490 E. Foothill Blvd., Upland, (909) 946-4000; www.rockinpizzapub.com.AE, D, MC, V.
Follow Allan on Saturday afternoon from 3pm-5pm on the Let’s Dine Out Food, Travel & Entertainment radio show on KTIE 590 am, on the Let’s Dine Out TV show Friday nights at 6:30pm on CH. 24, KVCR-PBS. You can contact Allan at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (909) 910-3463. Visit his web sites letsdineoutshow.com and Feedme411.com.