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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The White Rose Spaghetti House - Masury, OH

I have a penchant for “hole in the wall” family restaurants. I love their ambience, their history, and the local flavors. So I had heard rumors about a spaghetti place in Masury, Ohio, that was supposed to be pretty good. WHERE? In Masury, Ohio!!! For those of you who don’t get around much in our little corner of the world, Masury is one of a plethora of small political subdivisions which are the curse of this part of Ohio and Western Pa. It is located on Rt. 62 between Hubbard and Sharon. If you take Ohio Route 82 to Sharon, you exit right into Masury and drive through it for about 1/8th of a mile.

The White Rose Spaghetti House has been serving the locals for since 1940. It is located on Standard Road. Driving in from Hubbard on Rt. 62, if you reach the PA line you have gone too far. The road is off to the left just before the state line, and looks more like a driveway than a street. You have to look for it. The street goes up a tiny hill, and at the pinnacle of the tiny hill is the White Rose. You can see it from 62.

Let’s be honest. The outside is less than attractive. It looks like kind of a dump. The parking lot swings along the street, and it is a tad confusing how to get into the place. The doors are these old wooden things. If you are looking for a period place to eat, this is it in spades. It kind of creeps you out.

Inside is something to behold. The overall initial impression is that of an old college dormitory cafeteria. It is a big room with booths around the walls and all of these tables in the center lined up in perfect order. The tables are these period wooden things with old time formica tops. You can’t cross your legs under the tables because of an edge. The seat coverings on the booths and chairs are vintage. The floors are old style linoleum, like your elementary school in the early 1950’s. The walls are decorated with murals of Italia on the top, and faux stone work on the bottom. And on each of the tables is a Chianti bottle with a candle sitting on a red plastic dish with matches so you can light it. All you can say is “Oh, my!”

There is the dining room, and then there is a bar area with tables. The bar is classic with old style metal and cushion bar stools. This place is hard core, bare boned. Separating the two rooms are two pieces of heavy HVAC equipment the purpose of which is unknown. Music blasts from a radio in the corner of the dining room playing Top 40 stuff. But the place was busy for a Wednesday night, and the locals must love it.

So, is this quintessential cheap place to get a spaghetti dinner? Not exactly. When the server brought over the combination placemat/laminated menus, my teeth almost dropped out of my mouth. This place is not only NOT cheap, it is downright close to being expensive. The spaghetti dinners are priced right around $10.00. The same with the lasagna! There are some grilled chop and steak items pushing the $20.00 range. And portion control is definitely practiced.

The sauce is about as mild a tomato sauce I have ever had. It might be described as delicate. My family came from a part of Italy that cooks like this, so I am used to extremely mild Italian food. I think this is the only part of Italy that thinks garlic is a dirty word. We use it sparingly if we use it at all. If you want a hardy sauce with gusto, go someplace else.

I had the lasagna. It was very good, and very mild. A little cheese sprinkled on it plus some black pepper helped give it some flavor.

Let’s cut to the chase. The food here is good. It deserves its reputation. The service is good compliments of friendly servers. Their house dressing is outstanding and the bread is great. But at these prices…you can get a better meal with a 1000% better ambience at CafĂ© Capri.

But I think that people who frequent this place do it for reasons other than the good, albeit expensive, basic Italian fare. I had family that lived in Masury, and I spent many of my childhood national holidays there. This is a close knit community, and places like the White Rose represent maybe a simpler time. Right down the bottom of that tiny hill on Standard Street used to be GATX, General American Transportation. The company built refrigerated railroad cars and provided a good income to several of my uncles and cousins for most of their lives back in the day.

At the White Rose, back in the day is still here.

My rating: 3 meatballs.

The White Rose
802 Standard Avenue
Masury, OH 44438-1227
(330) 448-8823


elecpencil said...

I love places like the White Rose. I first went to it with my Grandparents so I have fond memories. I have been going for over 40 years. When I took my wife to it she loved it so I knew she was the one. I don't think it is that expensive as I have always got a decent sized portion of pasta. Top notch steaks also. Thanks for the review and keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

A fair review. Many a foodie in the region claims this joint as their "secret special place," including members of my family.

Personally, I've always found the food to be decent, but nothing special. It's good that these family-run, non-franchise joints still exist, but I think the "aura" of the place causes people to overrate the food.

Frankly, my own lasagna blows theirs outta the water ... ;-)


a3e0a394-8067-11e1-986c-000bcdcb471e said...

This is a wonderful restaurant! Want a "special place" go to the White Rose. Excellent sauce!!! Excellent waitress!!! If you stop in- ask for Betty and tip her well! She earns it- she is absolutely excellent! The best there is!!! I just love this place. It's hard to find good food and good service anymore. Stop in and ask for Betty! Not sure how they decide who gets who- but she is good!

Anonymous said...

I had a horrible experience at the White Rose this evening. While I must admit, the sauce and greens were delicious, I was shocked to overhear the server and cook referring to my elderly father as "to dumb to understand what Thursday means" when he inadvertently ordered a dinner that was a "Thursday only special item". Furthermore, my spaghetti was served dry with sauce in a small cup on the side. The spaghetti had clumped together in a gummy mess and was inedible. All other guests at our table had their sauce on their pasta and I am unsure why mine was not. I could eat only two bites and was forced to pay for this meal even though it was not eaten. I would never recommend this place to anyone, let alone someone who is dining with the elderly, as it is obvious "respect your elders" is not a view upheld by the staff. Two thumbs down!