Atmosphere: The restaurant is in a small space and is always packed with people enjoying the best pizza in the North End neighborhood of St Paul. The custom mural painted on one of the walls is bright and cheerful and helps make the room seem bigger.
Menu: Appetizers and side orders include Mini Pizzas, Mini Italian Fries, Cheese Bread, French Fries, and Onion Rings. Salads include dinner salad and antipasto.
Sandwiches include Hot Diego, Meatball, Italian Sausage, Chicken Patty, Fish, Cube Steak, BLT, and Hamburger.
Italian Dinners (comes with fresh Vienna Bread) include Spaghetti, Mostaccioli, Ravioli, Lasagna, Veal, and Stuffed Shells.
American Dinners (comes with salad and choice of fries, spaghetti, mostaccioli or ravioli) include Shrimp, Grilled Pork Chops, Fried Chicken, Tenderloin Steak, Hamburger Steak, Cube Steak, and Deep-Fried Fish.
Pizzas come either large or small, ingredients include Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Banana Peppers, Green pepper, Onion, Green Olive, Black Olive, Bacon, Mushroom, Shrimp, Canadian Bacon, Pineapple, Cheese. Italian Fries are also an option….pizza crust covered with cheese, with sauce served on the side.
Price guide: Appetizers $3-6 Sandwiches $3-9 Italian Dinners $6-10 American Dinners $8-11
What I ordered: To start off, a couple of my companions and I each ordered a slice of cheese bread, which was thick and crunchy on the bottom. There was a decent amount of cheese baked atop a light spread of melted butter, but I could not detect any garlic on the bread. It was served with a side of marinara.
Our visit was during lunch, so one of my companions and I decided to share the Special Hot Diego Sandwich. This version of the Hot Diego comes with sauteed onions, green peppers, mushrooms on top of a ground beef/Italian sausage patty and is smothered in sauce with mozzarella cheese baked on top. I thought the sandwich was good, but not as good as other Dago sandwiches that I have tried recently. The meat patty was very thick and a little on the tough side. The texture seemed to be dense, my guess is that there are little or no bread crumbs used to make the patties. The sauce was very good, as were the veggies, however the veggies were chopped into fine little pieces so their flavor was more subtle.
Two of my companions ordered a pepperoni and green olive pizza and thought it was very good. The crust was very thin, crispy, and loaded with sauce. There was also a nice amount of cheese on the pizza, but it didn’t cover all the way to the edge of the crust.
Another companion ordered a California Cheeseburger with a side of onion rings. The cheeseburger was a standard burger, but at just $3, you couldn’t find a burger this size anywhere but a fast food place! The onion rings were about 1/4-1/2inch thick and had a crispy breading on them, also a generous portion for only $3. (NOT included in price of burger).
One of the best things about Mama’s is that at the end of the meal, everyone is given a complimentary baby ice cream cone (tastes just like the ice cream at DQ).
Service: It was packed during the lunch hour, but my party of five got there early enough to find a table big enough to accommodate us. Our server was very friendly and the food was served in a reasonable amount of time. The cook/owner was full of smiles; very welcoming.
Overall Impression: Friendly service and good Italian food at prices that can’t be beat! Complimentary mini-ice-cream-cones is a sweet bonus :)