Pasadena's venerable Dino's Italian Inn closes its doors for good on Sunday night after a 57-year run. I've only been a customer for the last five of those, but it quickly became my favorite neighborhood spot, and everything you could want from a truly old-fashioned red sauce joint. Not truly fine dining or haute cuisine by any stretch, it has simply served up well-executed versions of classics such as chicken parm and veal marsala, lasagna, and the ultimate minestrone soup.
I made one final visit last night (the house was packed with regulars also in for a goodbye meal), and was not disappointed. Our waiter brought us complimentary glasses of some dessert wine afterwards. I will really miss this place.
Supposedly, it will be re-opening in a few months as Scarantino's. I don't know the details, but apparently some family dispute (the two businesses are owned by different family members) has led to this sequence of events. I can only hope that the new proprietors can maintain the level of quality and consistency that has made Dino's a neighborhood institution for more than half a century. Things I've read make me skeptical, but I'll remain hopeful.
So if you're a Dino's fan, or simply want to savor a bit of local history before it's gone, you'd be well-advised to get over there tonight or tomorrow.