Vince’s Spaghetti: A Local Staple
If you live in the Ontario area you have probably heard of Vince’s Spaghetti; a restaurant that has been serving up Grandma Rose’s Sicilian recipe since 1945.
My family has been eating up their rich and hearty meat sauce and one-of-a-kind meatball subs for four generations. It might only take one plate to see what keeps customers lining up and out the door, but what you might not know is the rich history of this gem.
A hero by the name of John Cuccia was sent off to battle in World War II. He protected tanks, and served under General Patton in the Battle of the Bulge. After a serious shrapnel wound in 1945, John was honorably discharged with a Purple Heart and sent home. Originally from Chicago, John and his family including his mother, referred to as Grandma Rose, had moved to Ontario. By 1945 they had started a fruit stand. “It was all almost entirely by accident,” recalls John’s grandson Luke Cuccia, talking about the stories he heard about Grandma Rose. “Customers would show up to buy fruit and French dip sandwiches and smell the spaghetti brought to the family member working at the stand. The next thing you know the customer would want a plate of spaghetti, that is how the idea started.”
Back then the spaghetti was always served without meat sauce; in fact their meat sauce hadn’t been created yet. Instead, each plate was served with their fine tomato sauce and two hearty meat balls. Another problem they had was the kitchen. It wasn’t attached to the restaurant, because there wasn’t a restaurant yet. Grandma Rose would carry the spaghetti from the kitchen of her home 50 yards away, and the customers were coming in fast. So John and his two brothers George and Vincent started a spaghetti shop. “The name ‘Vince’s Spaghetti’ was kind of a no brainer. It was the only name that sounded Italian,” said John’s son Buzz Cuccia about the name. “That was about the time they created the meat sauce. Could you imagine being one of my aunts up all night rolling meat balls? Just drove them crazy and one of them eventually just decided that there had to be a better way.”
John built the kitchen for the restaurant at their original location on Holt in Ontario, next came the patio, and on and on until the final construction of their banquet hall. By 1968, John and his family had built the largest spaghetti restaurant in all of California; seating over 400 guests at a time. As a regular I can tell you that on busy weekends and holidays those seats are full. By 1984 Vince’s Spaghetti opened the second location in Rancho Cucamonga with seating for 330, converted from an old Chinese food restaurant. Vince’s was expanding and each brother wanted to run their own operation. After some time the brothers all found other things to do and sold their portion of the company back to John.
Vince’s Spaghetti is now a staple in both communities. There is no other way to look at it especially when you consider filling over 700 seats at a time, and serving up enough spaghetti to stretch from here to the moon each year! Yes, that is a fact. They didn’t let that stop them from innovating and changing; such as, their green movement with solar panels on the roof of Rancho Cucamonga restaurant.. Though innovation is important to the Cuccia family who still own and operate the restaurant today, it proves a bit challenging. Changing with the times can be hard for a company that prides itself on their rich and hearty tradition. The same fixtures and atmosphere from 1968 shines through today as much as it ever has. This restaurant continues to welcome returning families from all over the world.
So what’s next for the Cuccia family in keeping with tradition and moving with times? The family has been busy developing an app for Android and Apple users. This app will will let you cut through the crowd on a busy day change to Customers can use the App to order online. Soon you will be able to get the old world taste of true Sicilian spaghetti, hot and ready to go without having to wait in line; That’s just one more way Vince’s Spaghetti will continue to grow and change, yet always stay the same — an authentic staple.