Family Restaurant Review: The Old Spaghetti Factory

If I ask my 3-year-old what she wants for lunch/dinner on any given day, there's a very good chance that her answer will be "noodles!"

She loves noodles - penne noodles, spaghetti noodles, plain noodles, noodles with sauce, noodles sprinkled with parmesan cheese, macaroni and cheese...she loves it all.

the old spaghetti factory logoNeedless to say, I had a feeling she would like The Old Spaghetti Factory, an international chain with a rich history (est. 1969) and 39 restaurants across the country (in AZ, CA, CO, GA, HI, ID, IN, KY, MO, OR, TN, UT, and WA), plus five locations in Japan.

I was right.

The best part about OSF is that every meal is a "Complete Meal." All meals include soup or salad, fresh baked bread, an entrée, milk, coffee, hot or iced tea, and a scoop of spumoni ice cream. Meals like Lasagna Vegetariano, Spaghetti w/ Sicilian Meatballs, and Chicken Marsala run between $9-$12. The food isn't gourmet, but it is tasty, filling (the portions are huge!), and sure to please even the pickiest eater.

old spaghetti factory kids menuThe Just-For-Kids menu features kid-friendly classics for $4.99 (that cost includes applesauce or salad, a drink, and ice cream or a juice bar for dessert). There's also a Kids' Birthday Club where kids can get a free meal on their birthday.

The restaurant also offers the Rewards of Reading Program. Every child who reads five books receives a free kids meal.

And there are other fun promotions throughout the year as well. For example, any child (10 and under) who wears a costume to The Old Spaghetti Factory on October 31st will get a free meal (with purchase of adult meal).

parentMag_best_family restaurant chainsWith all of the kid-friendly hoopla, it's no surprise that Parents Magazine recently named the Old Spaghetti Factory as one of the top 10 Best Family Restaurant Chains. The list includes Claim Jumper (one of our family's favorites), Denny's (ICK!), and 7 others.

The location that we visited in Seattle didn't have a changing table in the women's restroom, but they did have one in the men's restroom (hmmm...maybe that's not such a bad thing). I was assured, however, that a table was on-order for the women's bathroom.

All in all, we had a great experience at The Old Spaghetti Factory. I would go back again - and next time I'm going to order an Oreo milkshake (I wanted to this time, but I was STUFFED...and our girls were getting sleepy/grumpy so we had to say adieu for the night).

YOUR TURN: What is your favorite family-friendly restaurant? What do you wish restaurants would do for families?

WIN IT! One winner will receive dinner for four at The Old Spaghetti Factory (any US location). To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Wednesday, October 14th at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

*UPDATE* The winner is #103 Kathleen S. Congratulations!

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132 comments on “Family Restaurant Review: The Old Spaghetti Factory”

  1. We really like Applebees restaurant. They have great salads there. I like it when restaurants have things for the kids to do, whether its crayons, games, something.

  2. We go to Chilis all the time. It's got great food for the adults and the kids items are good too. We live in a State where there's no smoking in any public building so that solved my main complaint for restaurants.

  3. I love all kinds of restaurants but my favorite family friendly one is Red Robin. It's a great place for kids, they have an arcade, balloons, and of course "Robin" certain days of the week. They're so great with kids there. I like that they have crayons and things for the kids to draw on. Makes it easier for Mom and Dad to get some food in!

  4. My favorite family friendly restaurant is TGI Fridays. There's one at the ballpark down there and it's a lot of fun to go to. I wish that they had more booths that can hold big families so that mom and dad can trap the kids on either side!

  5. I really love Applebees. I wish there could be "sides" of restaurants where kids could be a little louder and not disturb other patrons.

  6. White Fence Farm here in Lakewood,. CO. Family style meals, petting zoo and just plain fun for everyone. Thanks for the contest (OSF is great)

  7. Chili's is a good place to bring kids, but when you mentioned The Old Spaghetti Factory, it brought back great memories of the family going out for a Sunday dinner. Since there is one only about 25 minutes from my house, I'd love to revisit the place I remember as the fun restaurant and bring my own kids now!

  8. I haven't been there in years. Used to be my favorite. Would love to share with my daughter like my Mom did with me.

  9. My family loves Cheesecake Factory...the Old Spaghetti Factory definitely seems like a chain restaurant we would like to try. We'll be traveling to areas where we can try it next year. Would love to win here to help pay for it!

  10. My fave family friendly restaurant is Red Robin :D I do love the Spaghetti Factory a ton and I was just telling my kids that I need to take them there!!! I wish restaurants would give kids more to do, I rarely see that these days! I would also like it if they had a 'big kid' menu cause my kids still prefer the same type of food but the portions are way too small and sometimes I have to get my son two of them lol!! Thanks for this great giveaway.

  11. Our favorite family restaurant is either IHOP (the one near us has been recently remodeled, the staff is friendly and my kids love the food) or one of our local Mexican restaurants where they know us and where they have a great kids' menu.

  12. Old Spaghetti Factory brings such good memories. My family has gotten together for many holidays and birhtdays over the years. Would LOVE to win this

  13. I really hope that I win this. I love the old spaghetti factory. I went there as a little girl. We used to have one here in Hollywood but it went out of business. We actually ate there like three nights before the closing. It was sad. But there are others not too too far away. I just love their food.

  14. We have an OSF near us but haven't been in a while. This would be great to get us there! Our family family restaurant is probably Bob Evans. It has a kid's menu with games and crayons too! They also get a fun straw with the kids drink. Plus there are quite a few kid friendly options which include breakfast any time of day. Thanks.

  15. I love Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant. There is one about two miles from my home that has excellent food and great furnishings. Would love to win the prize.

  16. I love Souplantation. It has something for everyone in the family and is really good quality for a fair price. I love the spaghetti factory too, so yumm! Thanks.

  17. I enjoy family dinners at The Old Spaghetti Factory. We've had some really large groups there, too. The food is always crowd-pleasing and I like that I can end my meal with some tasty spumoni ice cream.

  18. The Old Spaghetti Factory is one of my favorite places to eat! There's one right next to my college, and we used to eat lunch there almost everyday. The food and atmosphere are great! And their stuffed ravioli's are to die for.

    [email protected]

  19. In my mind, the ideal family restaurant is Sizzler. The service and menu are dependably predictable (predictably dependable?) and I can always get a steak! 'Nuff said.

  20. Sounds good. I didn't realize we had one near us but when I looked up locations link, we have one not too far...Yeah!!

  21. Haven't been to OSF yet, but I hear it's great for grown-ups as well as kids. My current "family"-friendly dining spot is Applebees, where the menu variety assures everyone can get a nice meal. And there I appreciate that kids are not the FOCUS of the restaurant, so the noise and chaos of, say, a Chuck-E-Cheese (gasp) are not a deterrent to adults. I do wish the restaurants would cut out the automatic serving of fries on the kids' menues and offer veggies and fruit instead. Wouldn't it be nice if they pioneered ways of cooking and serving veggies that made kids look forward to eating them? Thank you for the giveaway!
    wandapanda[at]live[dot]com

  22. My favorite family friendly restaurant is a small cafe we have in our town called The Creamery. They are so nice and really treat the kids well. Plus everyday during the week (M-Th) kids eat free with any adult entree. What could be better than that.

  23. We love the Spaghetti Factory and go there everytime we go to Nashville. It's the only place I would order spaghetti! Love the ambience also!

  24. The Olive Garden, have individual dinning booths that have high partitions so you cant see all the other customers.

  25. We love the Spaghetti Factory...ours is in a restored part of St. Louis and is wonderful. We just got a second one in the western part of the county too...haven't been there yet.

  26. Ah, I haven't eaten here since I was young! I love this place and it would be perfect to treat my parents to for their 30th anniversary. :)

  27. For American Mexican food On the Border is good. Their kids meals include dessert...which is always good to use to coax the kiddos to eat everything on their plate. They also have a basket of toys and games at the front of the rest. and you can take them to the table with you to entertain the kids. It's a nice extra.

  28. My family loves Red Robin. They are kid friendly, they have ballons, kids menus and free b-day meals. Not to mention they serve bottomless steak fries, that keeps the kids busy from the minute we sit down.

    We do love Old Spaghetti Factory too. Ours in Denver has an old train car that is used for seating. We alway hope to be seated in the train.
    Thanks, Lisa

  29. Old Spaghetti Factory is a favorite of ours as well. It is a great value. Another great value and family favorite is Texas Roadhouse.

  30. I wish there were family friendly sections, where it's ok to be noisy. Kind of like the crying room at church.

  31. My favorite family restaurant is a local one--Asiana, but I do like Spaghetti Warehouse. There is one in Tulsa, but because of its location, it is not a place that we go very often (out of our normal travel area, not that it is a bad spot!). However, if I were to win, would definitely make the effort!

  32. I did not realize that we even had this restaurant anywhere near us us until visiting your site. Sounds like somewhere my family would love. We usually go to Outback, Ruby Tuesdays, or Cracker Barrel. We will definitely have to try this!

  33. My favorite family-friendly restaurant is TGI Fridays. My kids love all the activity and it still has some grown-up elements to it.

  34. We love eating at the Denver location when we visit the grandparents with the kids - great food and very family friendly

  35. My favorite resteraunts to eat with kids is IHOP. The waitresses are wonderful and because the girls are entertained we can eat in peace

  36. We almost always have a long wait at The Old Spaghetti Factory, one of our favorite family-friendly restaurants. There are plenty of cool things to look at while you wait, but it would be nice if more of them were at eye-level (and safe and appropriate) for the tiny members of families. Thanks for the cool offer!

  37. I haven't been to The Old Spaghetti Factory in years! It would be nice to go back. Our favorite family restaurant is Old Chicago. Very good food there.
    cherriblossom25[at]gmail[dot]com

  38. I haven't been to the Spaghetti warehouse in years. I miss it. I remember going with my mom and dad. I love the food there, everything is delicious. I would love to win this to have the opportunity to take my family and make life long memories for them

  39. i have my own reason to love SF. My daughter loves pasta and she is allergic to wheat. SF is the only restaurant I know which serves gluten free pasta on request

  40. We had some favorite family restaurants when we were back home but one place we have found to be one of our family favorites is Boston's Gourmet Pizza. Good food, sports to watch and a treasure chest toy box for the kids to hit on the way out. We have also come across a couple of places here that let the kids build their own pizzas. That is something that they really enjoy doing, especially my son. He loves pizza but thinks it is extra special because he actually made it.

  41. My favorite is a local pizza place. It is never super crowded which is always great if you have tired/hungry kids. :)

  42. We really like Red Robin because it is a loud place and the one close to us seems to really cater to our kids. I do wish that all resturants included dessert with their kids meals. That is one thing my family loves about The Old Spaghetti Factory.

  43. We love to go to get breakfast at a diner called Pete's. I think that is is the people who make a restaurant family friendly and their waitresses always fuss over our boys.

  44. Like others, I think Red Robin is a great family-friendly restaurant. I've always liked the OSF - there is one close to work and I used to go there for lunch with a co-worker (who moved away!).

  45. My favorite is a restaurant called the Barbecue Shack. It has a section for families with children that has video games and toys to keep the kids busy while they wait. I wish restaurants would have more healthy food choices for children.
    smchester at gmail dot com

  46. I remember going to the old Spaghetti factory as a kid in downtown seattle. Now I have kids of my own and would love to take them to enjoy the same experience.

  47. I cant really think of a family friendly restaurant off hand. I wish restaurants would have free meals for kids.

  48. Hmm, I can't think of my favorite family-friendly restaurant, but there was one we went to in California a couple years ago that gave us a small kid's plate of snacks as soon as we sat down so that she wouldn't get antsy waiting. It had carrots and apple slices, two things she loves! I thought it was brilliant. We also love the Spaghetti Factory and Olive Garden. Mmm, this is making me hungry!

  49. Our current favorite family restaurant is Bob Evans. They offer kids meals at great prices and the adult food is yummy too!

  50. I like Appleby's as a favorite family restaurant. I wish restaurants would have more reasonable prices so that families could eat out more often and give mom a break.

  51. My favorite would have to be Friendly's. They have amazing sundaes by the way. I always look for a place that can make kids feel happy and adults feel satisfied. The best of both worlds.

  52. My friends are always talking about the spaghetti factory but I have to admit I've never been. I would love to see what all the talk is about.

  53. My family and I have been enjoying the Spaghetti Factory in Cincy for a number of years. Two generations of Spaghetti Factory lovers!!!!!

  54. I haven't been to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Louisville Ky yet, but have been to the one in Cincinnati many times. Large portions at a reasonable price, and the food is great. I don't normally like spaghetti, but I like theirs.

  55. We usually go to the olde spaghetti factory twice a year, when our favorite hockey team comes to Nashville. Since it is a 4 hour drive we make an overnight trip of it.

  56. My favorite family restaurant is Easy
    Joes in North Bend, WA. They cater to kids so the adults can enjoy an easy evening out.

  57. I went to the spaghetti factory for my sophomore homecomming wearing this corset-ed dress with this massively POOFY skirt. I think that was the last time i actually ordered spaghetti because of how difficult it was to eat and not spill. Now i go for penne.

    ferriza2(at)yahoo(dot)com

  58. I've never been to the Spaghetti Factory before, but Italian food is my favorite. Also my daughter's. When you ask her what she wants for her birthday dinner it's always lasagna.

  59. Spaghetti Factory is one of my favorite places to eat! I only wish ours was a bit closer. We were spoiled when we lived in California, we had one about 15 minutes from our house. Now we have to head to SLC which is about 40 minutes away, but I love it!

  60. We have an OSF in downtown Minneapolis and my husband and I have dined there often. Especially when we were poor college students in a need of a cheap date. But I can't say we've ever taken the kids there. It's good to hear that it's so kid-friendly. We'll have to check it out.

    P.S. The one in Minneapolis resides in an old fire station making the atmosphere as much fun as the food. Are all OSFs decorated so cool?

  61. Haven't been to the Spaghetti Factory since spring break of '99 in Calgary. Yep, spring break up north while everyone else was going south.

  62. I like Old Spaghetti Factory and Applebee's. I like it when they have a kid's menu--it makes things so much easier.

  63. I pass The Old Spaghetti Factory every day on the way two and from work and usually completely forget about it as a dining option. Thanks for the reminder.

  64. My favorite family restaurant is Red Robin! They have the best food and I never get sick of it. I have been to the OSF a few times and I also really like their food. I really have nothing to add beyond that because I don't have kids yet.

  65. I went once a long time ago... this'd be a great excuse to go back! My favorite family-friendly restaurant, though, is either Red Robin or Red Mill, because both have awesome burgers!

  66. We have a local Mexican restaurant that accommodates our needs by letting us sit in the back corner every Sunday! They save the table just for us! When my son nursed, he could nurse without us being on display! Plus, if my kids get loud, we are tucked away disturbing as few people as possible. They also know our regular order, and many time, put it into the kitchen as soon as we walk through the doors... that way we don't have to wait long for our food! They are super fast anyway, but that takes a couple of minutes off of our wait time. :)

  67. My favorite family restaurant is Red Robin because they have birthday and a kid's menu. The food appeals to every family member regardless of age so that everyone can have a satisfying meal experience. I plan to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory when I go back to CA.

  68. How fun! Our local Applebee's is a favorite
    restaurant of our family. On certain evenings,
    they have a balloon man that makes great creations!
    I like when they have the activity books for the
    children, also! Children's menus are always a
    big plus. Many thanks, Cindi

  69. Oh my gosh! We love the Old Spaghetti Factory. I remember going there when I was little, and I loved (and still love!!) their Italian sodas!

    Our favorite place currently is Red Robin. They are so accommodating and friendly, and I love the fact that there are so many other families with young children there usually.

    I am not sure what I wish that restaurants would do for families -- maybe have soundproof dining rooms? ;) The only thing I really worry about when going out is a toddler meltdown and the stares from other folks as we try to calm her or take her outside to walk around.

  70. My favorite family friendly restaurants are Denny's and Ruby Tuesday's - I have never been to OSF before, but it sounds really great and I would love to try it!

  71. I just moved to Atlanta where we have an OSF. I was told that it would be a great place to take people from out of town because of the ornate architecture. I didn't realize you get a complete meal here! I knew it was family style, but knowing I get dessert makes this place that much more attractive! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  72. actually - our favorite place to eat is the Old Spaghetti Factory. I crave the pasta with the shaved white cheese (can't spell it or pronounce it, so I won't even try). The price is right and I love that you get a little ice cream at the end of the meal.

  73. We enjoy O'Charleys', because of Kids Eat Free. We also like Red Robin. It has been years since we have been to the Old Spaghetti Factory.

  74. My favorite family-friendly restaurant is TGI Fridays. My kids love all the activity and it still has some grown-up elements to it. I haven't been to The Old Spaghetti Factory in a long time, but I remember it was yummy!

  75. Our favorite is a local pizza place. It is hip, fun, yummy and LOUD! Very family friendly. We also like CPK for a chain restaurant that is kid friendly. We don't eat out often because it is just not relaxing and enjoyable with a 15 month old.

  76. oh, I haven't been to the spaghetti factory since the kids were little. We went to the one down by the Arch....not even sure it is still there...lol

  77. I haven't been to Old Spaghetti Factory in years but I do remember my parents taking the family there a few times due to the fact that it was kid friendly and not too pricey either!

  78. This sounds like my kind of restaurant - I like it that everything is included with the meal - including desert. We really don't eat out much so I haven't found a family-favorite restaurant yet. I know that I'm looking forward to visiting Walker's in Oakland, CA when I go "home" for Christmas this year!

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