Rubino’s Pizza is The Monster’s idea of heaven and if he had to pick a last meal it would be here. So there’s this place that has no atmosphere, not much functioning air, doesn’t even so much as offer a menu (since it’s on the wall and everyone knows what they want) yet it’s perfect.
Is it the Ms. Pacman along the back wall? The pinball machine the kids in little league jerseys jockey over? The fact that the place hasn’t changed since Papa Monster used to come as a child? Or for that matter since they opened in 1954? That prices reflect the Nixon administration moreso than now? That they only take cash and the register is older than The Monster? It’s all of those things and more.
Rubino’s Pizza is The Monster’s childhood, it’s his brothers, his cousins, his friends, his fathers, his community. It is a place that defines place and time and happiness and family.
It is a measuring stick of how much has changed and yet how immutably things will remain the same. It will be the same for the next generation and the one after that. Rubino’s Pizza is the heartbeat of Bexley just like Bexley is the heartbeat of small town America. That’s it’s sandwiched in one of the largest cities in the country is pure Ohio.
The Monster remembers Frank behind the counter, shouting Bino’s as he popped the phone to his ear, taking take-out orders on his yellow legal pad with one hand while wrapping up another order to-go in their famous tee-pee shaped white paper in the other. He remembers fist fights in the parking lot during junior high. He remembers kisses behind the building as he entered high school. He remembers walking to Bino’s after football games on Friday nights. A ritual that continues to this day in Bexley.
It’s such a cultural icon, so much in the lexicon of central Ohio that when celebrated author and newspaper columnists Bob Greene gave the commencement speech at The Monster’s high school graduation in 1994 (he too graduated from Bexley High School) he paused midway through, called Frank and ordered a pie to go.
He got a standing ovation.
When people from out of town return home many are eager to see family and friends. Just as many want to stop off at Bino’s for a taste that will never be duplicated.
Cracker thin pizza with provolone cheese loaded with onion and green pepper and a small salad dressed with their homemade Italian with extra hot peppers is not just a perfect meal it’s a reminder of where The Monster came from and who he is.
For those pep lovers, Rubino’s is pure perfection. That used to be The Monster’s go to order as a child. And as a kid there was always a pie or two in the Glimcher’s freezer waiting to be devoured. Wonder if they still have them…
Why go? It’s simply the best.
Monster rating: 5/5 Monsters