The many fans of Gina’s Pizza & Pasteria are in for a big surprise
when they discover that the popular little Oak Street location on
Coast Highway has just doubled in size.
Taking over a defunct dry cleaning establishment next door several
months ago energetic principal, Alex Costa, immediately set expansion
plans into motion.
“We wanted more space for our large number of family customers and
more room for couples and singles,” Costa said, noting that 30 more
seats occupy the new space.
Posed atop beige Italian marble tiles with matching walls are two
booths each accommodating six to eight person. There are a couple of
twosomes and a long, elevated table invites instant camaraderie for
10 or so singles.
“We now have a giant 42-inch TV for sports fans to enjoy the games
while dining or snacking,” he continued.
Windows fronting the attractive corner site allow a glimpse of the
Pacific and the view will be further enhanced when a quintet of small
sidewalk tables are added as soon as exterior facings are completed.
Be assured, this is no fast food emporium despite the plastic
flatware and the fact that guests order up front rather than at table
via servers. Attesting to quality are the home-style recipes created
by Costa’s late Sicilian mother, whose passion for cooking inspired
the first Gina’s in Corona del Mar circa 1975. With an incredible
five units currently thriving, it is obvious that her promise of
“cooking in small batches our marinara and pizza sauces, baking
freshly made lasagna and ziti, rolling meatballs with fresh herbs and
spices” prevails to this day.
The personable Costa is rightfully proud of the enticing varieties
of pasta offerings which may be individually customized with a
selection of homemade sauces. The selection includes marinara,
alfredo, red pepper alfredo, red Sicilian garlic and meat sauces. All
are ready to order with a choice of baked meat lasagna, manicotti
prepared with spinach or cheese, spaghetti, mostaccioli, baked
spinach ziti and fettuccine alfredo. The latter two may be ordered
with chicken or a vegetable medley of broccoli, zucchini, carrots,
mozzarella, ricotta and garlic spreads. All, with a side of freshly
baked focaccia stix or garlic bread, are moderately priced from
around $6 to $7 at dinner, subtract $1 or so at lunch. A small salad
with any of these is $1.99.
Gina’s extensive menu also goes beyond the 16 famed pizzas
featured in four sizes, some available by the slice. Or you may
prefer to design your own toppings. Menu options include generous
servings of eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, chicken wings,
calzones, soups, salads, antipasto, hot and cold submarine sandwiches
plus such ala carte sides as savory meatballs and sausages. Popular
take out family packs of spaghetti or mostaccioli are $23.95 , add $2
for lasagna, ziti or manicotti. With accompanying salad, sauces and
garlic bread these will amply serve four hefty appetites. There is
on-tap beer, wines by the glass or carafe. Serve yourself dispensers
invite free refills for medium and large soft drinks.
Warm spirited Italian mottos inscribed below ceilings in the
quaint addition aptly express the philosophy of the hospitable Costa
family: “Viva Bene,” “Spesso L’amore,” “Di Risata Molto” and “Buon
Gusto.” Host Costa will be delighted to personally translate these
pearls of wisdom at your request any time.
* GLORI FICKLING is a long-time Laguna Beach resident who has
written restaurant news and views columns since 1966. She may be reached at 494-4710. E-mail email@example.com.