Oh good. I was getting worried. We hadn’t seen Montoni’s in what feels like FOREVER and I was starting to wonder if Batiuk had forgotten about it, just like he forgot about Wally Jr or Crazy Harry’s children.
I said once that I thought Lisa’s Legacy was the Axis Mundi around which this entire universe turned, and while Dead St Lisa is certainly the spiritual heart, the physical center of the Funkyverse is this stupid little pizza joint. Monk’s Cafe in Seinfeld, or the Central Perk in Friends pale in comparison to this monolith.
As many of you know, Montoni’s is based off of the real restaurant Luigi’s located in Akron, Ohio. So, today’s strip instantly raises the question, does Luigi’s sell salad dressing. After a little digging using that internet Dinkle loathes so much, I found out that yes Luigi’s does offer bottled Italian salad dressing for sale in store. Seven-fifty will buy you this little number.
Really, looking at Luigi’s, they should be insulted by the Montoni’s comparison. Sure, they share a band box, and a counter with stools, but Luigi’s looks like a decent place, with a much more inviting and charming interior. By all the accounts I read, this place is almost always packed, and with a line waiting outside.
They do have weird idiosyncrasies, like not accepting credit cards, instead having an ATM in the back that doesn’t print out cash, but prints out a receipt to use up front. And the monstrosity below is their interpretation of a salad.
Weirdest of all, while scrolling through pictures of Luigi’s looking for salad dressing, I found what must be the inspiration for another old Montoni’s friend. See if you can spot it.
42 responses to “A Dressing Down.”
“Montoni’s Salad Dressing”…the woeful tears of the downtrodden, flop sweat and freezer-burned mozzarella…the three great tastes that put Westview on the map, together at last! And now, a recipe for all you gourmands out there.
Westview Autumnal Salad
One bowl leaves, freshly fallen
Montoni’s salad dressing
One whole pepperoni pizza
Comic book, Silver Age
Place freshly fallen leaves in large bowl. Throw pizza slices in there. Top with salad dressing. Serve with comic book placemat. Serves one.
It’s always so weird when Crazy reappears. He used to be a major character, you know. And furthermore, he was almost sort of likeable. But alas, times change.
I found a video about the place:
Now I’m hungry.
This seems like a good place to link the research I did the other night on Luigi’s physical location. I think that in the video, when the owner talks about “when…access got a little difficult”, he might be talking about when the SR 59 highway was built. I’m not sure.
The section of street where Luigi’s is was cut off when the Y- bridge was built and so you have to cut through a side street to get there and if you don’t know where you are going you would think that there is no way a pizza place nearby.
I noticed the green pitcher on the counter! But notice their counter is used as a bar for beer and wine, not coffee.
Definitely a step back in time, but the food is not worth the wait.
Ah, local knowledge! So what did the landscape look like before that bridge was built?
Also, I don’t know how to feel about the fact that the bridge right next to the inspiration for Montoni’s is a famous spot for suicides.
That was before my time, but essentially North Main Street continued north up the steep hill to the “North Hill” area of Akron. The bridge was built over the Cuyahoga Valley to eliminate the steep grade and this cut off a portion of the old Main Street.
And yes, the bridge had enhanced fencing added some time ago to prevent suicides. The bridge is also famous for wrong way drunk drivers going on the opposite side against traffic.
Back in the day the North Hill neighborhood was a predominantly Italian neighborhood and much better pizza and restaurants could be found there. Luigi’s is neat if you are into nostalgia, but the food is nothing to rave about.
Also, the area around Luigi’s is much different than it was back when I lived in Akron. Batty must surely have shed a tear when the hipster Northside Lofts went in just around the corner from Luigi’s. Rumor has it that Chrissie Hynde has a pad there for when she is in town visiting family.
Wow, does that man sound sad. He’s riding a tiger called Luigi’s.
See what? The plastic barf bag? The wall of photos? The black Christmas wreath? The Santa who looks like Ed Crankshaft? Oh, the puke-green pitcher. Of course.
Yep, it’s gotta be the pitcher. What else could…hey, what’s that on the counter? They look like…body parts? Yes, body parts belonging to the Pizza Monster! Good Lord! Choke!
Now where’s the bar’s wipe-down rag?
You mean Holly?
Yeah, it’s the green beverage thing.
Many kudos for doing such yeoman work. We should all wear hazmat suits.
The green pitcher, the jukebox, the band box…the Holy Trinity of Montoni’s. It must be really weird for the real Luigi’s, I mean they know Montoni’s is based on them yet they’re really the only ones (other than us) who know that, so when you think about it what good is it? They’re the basis for almost five decades of running gags yet they get no publicity at all out of it. It almost makes me want to go to the real Luigi’s, just out of sympathy. But then again there are like eleven pizzerias within ten minutes of here so f*ck it.
I could almost imagine Crazy Harry saying that he wished to treat Donna to a night of well-lubricated depravity, but, well, the Funkyverse.
Fantastic research today, CBH. Gold star with pepperoni clusters for you. I come for the snark but I stay for the incredibly obscure and arcane knowledge.
“Not accepting credit cards”…LOL, oh man, that’s just so Batiukian. “We don’t serve your kind here, with your technological plastic card chips and whatnot, so why don’t you take your fancy “debit card” back to your highfalutin big city pizzeria, techno-boy”.
My neighborhood cheesesteak restaurant in the northwest corner of Philly–recognized as one of the city’s best–likewise refuses to accept credit cards and has an outside ATM (or did. It was blown up last month during some protests/riots and may not have been replaced yet). It seems counter-productive, but for a lot of one-or-two spot local eateries “Cash Only” is more efficient and cost-effective that taking plastic and paying fees.
That being said…it amazes me how Battyuk cuts the legs out from under his own half-arsed punchline today. As if we couldn’t get from Funky’s droopy-eyed scowl that he thinks Harry is a demented cheapskate (I wonder what he thought of Wally and Rachel having a “date night” at Montoni’s?), TB had to have him state the obvious in the last panel. Just let Harry say his piece with an incredulous Funky looking on. It’s like Billy, Dolly and Jeffy saying “Ida Know” who spilled grape juice on the sofa, only to have Thel go “Oh, you all know. You’re just saying that as an excuse so I don’t punish you.”
Oh, and maybe there’s a line at the real-world Luigi’s, but notice once again how they couldn’t be bothered at just draw a customer head or two to imply that somebody other than strip regulars ever eats at Montoni’s (why not have a cameo by the ICE agents?).
My local pizza place is cash only, but like Luigi’s, they have a steady stream of customers and so they could easily absorb the credit card fees because taking cards means more wine and beer consumption. It’s really an inconvenience to the customers.
Now at my friend’s donut shop he only took cash, but the average check was around $4 and so that makes sense. But he also took personal checks and interestingly enough, in 25 years of business, he never got a bad check.
The green pitcher has been my favorite character in this strip for years, but I rather feel bad for the real one. No one deserves depiction in this comic hellscape.
None of the most beloved characters in the strip are human. The green pitcher, Buddy, Zanzibar, the polonium, the pinned-up sleeve…see?
Haiku of the Day
Harry is lucky
He can’t understand this tongue
Dripping joyless words
I wonder what led TomBa to do this strip. Other than Les promising Cayla the as-yet still pending trip to Hong Kong I can’t think of another instance when a wedding anniversary was recognized. And I’m sure Funky gets Holly comic books for their anniversary.
I like how the artwork shows him paying with the only dollar bill he has.
That’s a good point about Harry’s last dollar. According to TomBa, Harry and Donna have four kids, with Maddie being the oldest. Harry was laid off from a good paying job at the post office and is working at DSH’s comics store, which can’t possibly pay him anywhere near what he was making. So Funky’s Crankshaft-like judgmental remark is really uncalled for.
I guess it was too much to hope that he’d spare Funky from becoming a jerk.
Harry is the worst shithead father anyone ever had.
And like a lot of shithead fathers, he thinks he’s a lot funnier than he really is. His every facial expression just screams “Look at me! I’m so wacky! I have a long beard and buy unorthodox gifts for my loved ones! Don’t get too close, I might squirt you with my squirting flower!” Then he gives you a $5 gift card and drinks $20 worth of booze.
The guy who blew his kids’ college funds on Tarzan comics (with the Jungle Jim toppers) gets his wife a bottle of salad dressing for their anniversary. Sounds about right.
Shouldn’t the women of Westview demand better from their men?
I’ve wondered how TomBa came up with the name Montoni’s for his pizza place. An Answer may be found in this ad from the Daily Kent Stater from September 27, 1968.
“Young men with cars for delivery. Apply in person Montoni’s Pizza 108 W . Main.” – Page 11 Advertisements Column 3
And I though ‘I’ had done my research! I stand in line good sir!
It was a lucky find. All of you a SOSF are the real researchers (and, both fittingly and ironically, custodians of TomBa’s legacy).
Meant that to be an upvote Gerard!
Wow, that is a fun fact. I’m not too familiar with Kent, Ohio. Altieri’s was the only pizza shop I can recall as they were also in Akron.
“an ATM in the back that doesn’t print out cash, but prints out a receipt to use up front.” That’s gotta be some kind of scam.
Scrip is legal. Gift cards are basically the same concept. Casinos run on scrip now; you only handle money at the cashier’s window. Even some communities, like Ithaca, New York, issue their own scrip that many local businesses will accept.
My guess is that Luigi’s aim is to (1) save money on credit card/ATM fees, (2) stick people with money they can only spend at Luigi’s, and (3) be quirky. I guess they’re enough of a local institution they can get away with it.
It reminded me of what a local Popeye’s used to do; it charged a “service fee” of 75 cents, but then gave a “convenience discount” of 75 cents for paying with cash or credit card – i.e. there was a 75-cent fee for using a debit card, presumably to cover the fee the restaurant had for debit card transactions (and equally as presumably, debit card surcharges for the customers were illegal).
Yeah, they are just being jerks. They have enough business to accept credit cards.
That is weird. And a web search doesn’t bring up anything matching that description.
$7.50 for a cup and a half of piss-colored salad dressing with smattering of seasoning (probably all parsley)? It better come with a chaser of magic beans!
We used to call their salad a “cheese salad” as all you could taste was the salty cheese on top.
Italian dressing is so easy to make, my Italian Grandmother would whip up a batch in a few minutes. Fun fact, my grandma came from a region in Italy where they always made their pizza with pecorino romano cheese instead of mozzarella. It was like a tomatoey focaccia bread…delicious! Even better was her garlic pizza with olive oil and artichoke….
1) Wow, Crazy Harry ordered something other than a coffee for once.
2) “Well Funky, it’s not as if Montoni’s has a house wine or an anniversary special or anything other than the coffee mugs I’ve been sneaking home for years.”
3) Luigi’s looks like an alright kind of local place, but do THEY have Snidley Whiplash and Bill Clinton on their celebrity wall?
Is that an aquarium there in panel 3? If so then we know where Montoni’s gets their anchovies from.