Mamma Mia's has recently taken over the old Palermo's location on Magnolia. We've switched out Italian restaurants and I daresay, we traded up. If you'll remember, which you no doubt will, I was quite impressed with the scrappy little Palermo's. That dirty hole in the wall that had lasted for years on Magnolia even when little else was around. Now its gone, and Mamma Mia's has shown that location's true potential.
First, the restaurant has been redesigned. It's clean now. And the train tracks are missing. The walls have also been redone and the front entrance has been moved. The new seating arrangement includes booths right up against the front windows, there are a few little nooks for the local mobsters to cut deals in, and its BYOB.
When Palermo's first closed, it was like a death in the family. Albeit a distant third cousin I met once at a reunion who may or may not have hit on a second cousin. But then, after an appropriate amount of time for grieving, I built up the courage to go visit my replacement imitation third cousin. This cousin was much cooler, had better food, showered, and didn't hit on close relatives. DISCLAIMER: This blog nor its author has intended to in anyway impugn the integrity of Palermo's by insinuating, stating, writing or decreeing that Palermo's is from West Virginia or some other place where "kissing cousins" is the state motto.
But, after going to Mamma Mia's, I think its fair to say that Magnolia has benefited by the newcomer to the street. Mamma Mia's has been on Magnolia longer than Ellerbe's, but time is measured in blog posts in my life and therefore, its new to me.
On my most recent visit to Mamma Mia's, I had spaghetti with meat sauce. Many Italian places get by with oregano flavored ketchup on cold pasta. Mamma Mia's has a sauce which is full of flavor and depth. The sauce seemed to get better with each bite - which had nothing to do with whether or not I was hitting the sauce at the same time.
But I probably was.
The wife-ier half of the FWHITW conglomerate had the cannelloni which was allegedly filled with ricotta (curdled goat milk) and spinach. There may or may not have been opium in there as well. It was delicious, well flavored and highly addictive.
The rolls were hot and fresh as well. Which is a plus because when you've got a big bowl of extra spaghetti sauce, using your tongue to swipe up the excess is considered...West Virginian. DISCLAIMER: This blog and its author are implying exactly what is being written about West Virginia.
Another positive note had to do with either our well timed jokes with the waiter or standard protocol. We weren't charged for wine glasses or any sort of corking fee. If this is standard, Mamma Mia should score heavily with those of you who are lushes. If it was just because of our sparkling personality, then I'll start bringing screwtop bottles and straws.
Step by step, the new kid on the block is hangin' tough and showing that its got the right stuff [baby] to fit into the Magnolia scene. Good food, nice atmosphere, affordable food and its BYOB.
Mamma Mia's is located at 1000 W. Magnolia and gets a 3 hole rating for maintaining focus on the historical parts of the building, without attempting to overly fancify the place, and because its on Magnolia.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
Edit: Mamma Mia on Magnolia is a confirmed relative of Mamma Mia Italian Grill at Belknap and Race Street. The Magnolia location is BYOB and the other is not. They have the same menu and there is a flyer in the Star-Telegram today explaining all the details.