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San Biagio's Pizza: There Is Hope For The Inland Empire

Chino Wayne | Sep 23, 2002 09:20 PM

The first order of business is to acknowledge the 'houndly field work of Willi Rossli, who posted about this establishment last week. Willi you have a good nose for delicious chow.

Both the Mrs. and I happened to be working from home today, so around about three this afternoon I invited her to take a late lunch with me. I think the Mrs. is starting to take on 'houndly traits, not only does she now periodically ask me if I have gone "chowhounding" lately, but she passed a critical test today. I asked her if she would like to 1) try a new pizza place, 2) go to Chili's, 3) go to Olive Garden; 4) go to Sizzler. And lo and behold, she said "let's try the pizza place". This is a major breakthrough for her, as her usual response to a suggestion to try a new place would be "no, you try it first".

So off the Mrs. and I went in Herman, out in the triple digit heat (it was so hot that it burned off all of the cow shit smell in Chino today) on our junket up to Upland.

San Biagio's is in a little storefront in a shopping center at the corner of 7th Street and Mountain Avenue in Upland, a half a block north of the 10 freeway. It is about double the size of D'Amore's in Sherman Oaks. Where D'Amore's has room four about four tables, San Biagio's has a whole dining room on the side. The ambience at San Biagio's is very similar to D'Amore's, a no frills pizza joint, where you order and pay at the counter, find a table, and they will bring your order to you.

We ordered an 18 inch pie with pepperoni, an antipasto salad and a pitcher of Bud.

The salad was composed of torn iceberg lettuce (with plenty of green pieces, as opposed to a lot of places that only seem to have "white" iceberg lettuce), some bits of tomato, slices of black olive, some very thinly sliced ham, cappaciola and pepperoni, and shredded mozzarella. The Mrs. asked the gentleman to hold the onions. A squirt bottle of oil and vinegar based Italian dressing and a squirt bottle of creamy Italian dressing were brought with the salad. The salad was nice and fresh and with the oil and vinegar based dressing and some added pepper, was very tasty. The creamy Italian dressing seemed to be very bland.

In addition to salt and pepper, other condiments on the table were shredded parmesian, pepper flakes and dried chopped oregano leaves.

The pie arrived fresh and hot out of the oven. An 18 inch pie, in the classic New York style of thin crust and very large slices (8 wedges from the 18 inch pie). The crust as I said, was thin, and a bit "spongy", but not in a bad way, but in a good way. When I bit in to it the crust had some "tooth" to it, and then some "chew" to it. The crust worked very well as a foil for the toppings. As in a classic New York style pizza the toppings were not overdone. A very thin layer of a very nice tasting tomato sauce, a thin layer of perfectly melted and melded cheese, and some thin slices of pepperoni.

I am one who believes that a pizza should not be overpowered by its crust, and this was not. Just a perfect ratio of crust to toppings.

When I asked the Mrs. how she liked her pizza, she was fairly non-comittal, she said "OK". But that "OK", and the fact that she subsequently picked up a few more of those very large slices, and after the first slice gave up on her knife and fork, and just used her hands, was indicative that this pizza, did indeed satisfy her.

The beer was nice and cold, and we both thoroughly enjoyed this bit of respite from the workday. I will rerturn here for pizza in the future.

This was by the far the best pizza I have encountered in these quarters, and I would recommend it to other 'hounds in the area or passing through.

In order to give other 'hounds some perspective, if I were comparing San Biagio's to D'Amore's, I would have to rate D'Amore's as the better pizza, but San Biagio's comes close, and comes a million miles for a joint that is situated in The Dining Wilderness That Is The Inland Empire. I would rate D'Amore's a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, and I would rate San Biagio's an 8.5. In my opinion the D'Amore's crust is better, more like a cracker, and with some nice bubbles from the oven. But since D'Amore's is about a 60 mile drive from the old homestead, I am perfectly happy with San Biagio's.

And unlike your local pizza chains, San Biagio's business card lists "Biagio" as the General Manager, "Claudio" as the Assistant Manager and "Enrico" as the other Assitant Manager. Which inspires a lot more confidence than some local chain where "Johnny Whitebread" ineptly serves you.

San Biagio's also serves Calzone, Stromboli, Meat Ball Sandwich, Brooklyn Zeppoli (not sure what that is), spaghetti with various toppings, Manicotti, Linguini With Clams, Baked Zitti, Ravioli, Gnocchi, Spinach Tortellini, Meat Balls and Sausage.

Lunch for the two of us came to about $24.00.

San Biagio's
1263 W. 7th Street
(On the northwest corner in the Mountain Green shopping center)
Upland, CA 91786
(909) 946-9277

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