There’s Only One Pizza Barn

March 13, 2009
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Mario, owner of Pizza Barn serves up tasty Italian food with some pleasing surprises.

Mario, owner of Pizza Barn serves up tasty Italian food with some pleasing surprises.

Is this a great city or what? Where else can you find an Iranian masquerading as an Italian who practically invented Taco Tuesdays in La Verne, a wildly successful promotion since imitated by several local eateries?

Not only that, he makes “Ultimate” sandwiches shaped like pizzas in five different sizes: personal, small, medium, large and extra large. Only these pizza-sized sandwiches come with two incredibly thin crusts – one for the bottom and one for the top. Inside their oven-fresh embrace are layers of roast beef, turkey, Swiss, mozzarella, provolone, avocado, pickles, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, dressing, and onions on request.

The man behind this cosmopolitan clash of culinary delights is Mario Mirbaha. He swung open the doors to the Pizza Barn on April 6, 1992, and after 17 years, he and his food keep getting better. Whatever you order here, you can always count on three key ingredients: quality, flavor and value.

Luncheon specials are amazing. Any six-inch sandwich with salad will set you back all of $5.49. His Philly steak and cheese sandwich is better than what they serve in the City of Brotherly Love. The rib eye steak is thinly sliced and comes with tomato, sautéed onions, mushrooms and cheese sauce. It’s worth dieting a week just to try one. Another personal favorite is Mario’s Grinder with its grilled mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and olives topped with meatballs, sausage, sauce and melted cheese, all tucked into a crispy roll. And if you’re two for lunch, try the medium pizza with two toppings and two salads for $12.99.

On the lighter side, the salads are crisp and delicious. The generous chicken salad is $6.99.

“The quality, the consistency, the ingredients, the freshness, you can’t beat it,” said J.J Haddad, who’s been bringing his family to Pizza Barn for 16 years. “We love it here.”

008Did we mention the Pizza Barn’s calzones, Stromboli, spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna and fettuccini Alfredo, again all fresh and cooked to perfection?  While Mario doesn’t do all the cooking you can trust that his chefs know his recipes well. They have all been with him for years, excluding the newbie Carlos, who’s been with him three.

Yet with all this delicious and authentic Italian food to choose from, Mario’s “Taco Tuesday” rules the week. “It’s probably our busiest night,” Mario said, “even better than Fridays and Saturdays. He says he doesn’t know if it’s the chicken, shredded beef and ground beef tacos that keep bringing people in or the $2 Mexican-brand bottled beers. (It must be the tacos because on Monday nights, bottled beers are just $1.50.)

Draught drinkers have plenty to choose from as well. On tap you’ll find American classics along with Fosters, Newcastle, Heineken and other imports.

Now about that name, Mario? Pizza Barn? Why not ristorante, bistro, villa, grille, Olive Garden? This is slightly upscale La Verne, after all.

“In the old country, small towns used to convert their abandoned barns into restaurants,” Mario said. “It felt very homey. That was the concept I wanted to create here.”

So now you know. Come to the barn for great food, great prices and a delicious time.

Open seven days, hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and noon to nine on Sunday. For take-out or more information, call (909) 392-5555. Pizza Barn is located in the Oak Tree Mall at 2021 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne.







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