Since it’s been around for an impressive almost 47 years, I think it’s safe to say the world-renowned Old Spaghetti Factory has proven itself—and then some. With a warm atmosphere, a caring staff, and a simple but delicious classic Italian menu (including the brand’s famous, über affordable 3-Course Meal), it’s a beloved local hot spot that’s busy on- or off-season, and one that’s as suitable for a celebratory family dinner as it is for a romantic first date.
With each of the chain’s various outposts given generous leeway to do its own thing—while remaining well within the company’s credo, of course—our very own Rancho Mirage OSF has a lot more going on than unbeatable pasta, sauces, salads, garlic bread, and vino and cocktails. For example, recently, at the Second Annual Tip a Fire Fighter event (the third is already in the works for next year), local firemen replaced the usual wait staff for one night only, earning the gratuities but donating all of it—more than $2,000—to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. And later this fall, OSF aficionados can look forward to a series of wonderful wine dinners, kicking off with an evening starring Kendall-Jackson Vineyard Estates.
But for my money, the most fun I’ve ever had at OSF is attending Murder Mystery Night. Gathered in the restaurant’s stately central rotunda, some 50 guests sit down for a three-course meal during which a trio of actors imported from Hollywood stage a murder and eventually solve it—with the help of the diners assembled, of course. As the evening unfolds, a handful of guests are assigned dramatis personae and given a binder with notes relevant to their character. The fun really begins when all other guests roam the room, questioning the “cast” of pros and amateurs so as to pick up clues with which to find not only the killer but his or her motive! The winning team gets a prize, with honors for Best Actor and Best Actress also being given. If you’re a theatrically inclined foodie, make sure you call OSF to reserve for one of the next two Murder Mystery Nights, to be held October 15 and October 29. This fun, family-friendly event is always a sell-out.
You may ask how I fared on the evening I attended and participated. Well, I can’t say I successfully sleuthed any crimes, but I did leave with a very happy, full stomach.