Minella’s: A Local Landmark in Need of an Overhaul

Thomas Hughes

Minella’s is considered by many to be a local monument. It was established more than fifty years ago and is somewhat of a North Star on Lancaster Avenue as it is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Its hours along with its lengthy menu make it a default choice for many as a place for late night eats. However, Minella’s is not a restaurant that should be frequented.

While some view Minella’s lengthy menu as a major advantage, it is more indicative of a character flaw. Having a menu longer than most John Steinbeck novels demonstrates an inability to make any single dish that well. The Minella’s menu is a war of attrition waged against its customers. Not happy with the bland greasy entree you ordered this time? Come back next time and try one of our other 98 offerings! If you gave the Minella’s ownership truth serum they would most likely admit that they wouldn’t blame a patron who successfully ate through the menu not wanting to return. 

Given its prominent location on Lancaster and old timey diner feel, Minella’s also exploits a nostalgic desire for the diners of yesteryear. However, there is a reason that many diners have closed their doors over the past few decades. Subpar offerings at moderately expensive prices should not be the recipe for a restaurant that stands the test of time. While it is moderately endearing to have an establishment that is open for decades, Minella’s has grown complacent. They have rested on their laurels similar to AOL in the early 2000’s and will eventually suffer the consequences for their self satisfaction.

Go to Minella’s in the early hours of the morning and you will likely be greeted by a raucous contingent of party going college and high school students. We should not condone this behavior by Minella’s. Nobody is willing to say it, but Minella’s preys on inebriated adolescents. They trap impressionable teens with the promise of tasty feel good eats delivered in a timely manner, but fail on both accounts. If there is a choice between calling it a night or prolonging it to a jaunt to Minella’s, choose the former and skip the late night meal, as the latter will only lead to misery.

Patronizing Minella’s between 2:00 A.M. and 5 A.M. is one thing, but eating there during hours when dozens of other restaurants are open for business demonstrates a preposterous error in judgement. Villanova students are a generally intelligent lot and should be above dining at such a shoddy eatery. 

Some students have even resorted to asking other students their opinion of Minella’s as a makeshift Rohrshach test. When asked, if somebody replies with vociferous support for Minella’s, challenge them. If after being challenged, they resort to making statements like “Minella’s is Minella’s” or “it’s good for what it is,’’ you are dealing with somebody who is insecure and will be a fairweather friend, here today, gone tomorrow. Somebody who has the courage to tell it like it is, and admit what nobody else is willing to, that Minella’s should be avoided at all costs, is somebody you should try to befriend. This courage is demonstrative of a strong sense of self and a friend that will stand the test of time.

A hunger strike against Minella’s will be difficult at first. Old habits die hard. But, it will lead to an improvement for future generations, as they will be forced to condense the menu to a reasonable amount of dishes that they can make at a  higher quality. Pay it forward and don’t patronize Minella’s.