THE EATBEAT: Piquant aroma draws moviegoers to Mamma Maria’sSausage and Peppers Penne is the first item listed on the new lunch menu at Mamma Maria’s in East Grand Forks, so I decided to go for it. That was during the Christmas to New Year holidays, and I am still savoring the pleasing piquant tomato taste.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
Sausage and Peppers Penne is the first item listed on the new lunch menu at Mamma Maria’s in East Grand Forks, so I decided to go for it.
That was during the Christmas to New Year holidays, and I am still savoring the pleasing piquant tomato taste. The dish ($7.99) was made up of penne surrounded by Italian sausage, peppers and red onion sauteed in olive oil and garlic and then tossed with the Mamma Maria’s marinara.
The lunch pastas, which are half-size orders, include a salad or soup. Since I was hungry, I asked for both. And when Suzan Huus (SH) joined me, we also ordered a basket of the garlic knots bread that is a specialty of Mamma Maria’s. They actually make the meal seem complete.
SH ordered a spaghetti and meatball special designed for lunch at $6.99. It comes with the same spicy marinara that smells so good when you come into this restaurant just off DeMers Avenue and in the same shopping center as River Cinema 15.
We enjoyed the pasta along with a fairly good green salad. I also had a serving of the beef and barley soup that was quite good but not piping hot. In all, it was a good lunch and our server, Jacqi K was helpful, pleasant and knowledgeable about the food.
Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The menu offers several choices of Italian fare as well as soup, pizza and salad. The dinner menu offers a wide array of choices. Prices range from $12 to $17.
There are classic Italian dishes as well as seafood and steak. The antipasto items at the beginning of the menu include a mussel marinara and calamari frita as well as bruschetta and Italian nachos.
The pizza offerings include a Mamma’s Minion version that was ranked one of the two most creative in a local competition last summer. It features Mamma’s Italian Nachos on pizza.
The restaurant itself is inviting. It is laid out in an L-shape with two entries. I would advise sitting clear of the outside door on cold winter days because there is a cold draft when people leave or enter. I like the booths and tables.
It is dark but restful inside Mamma Maria’s. Hanging lamps add soft light. The chairs with high backs add nice style. There also is a meeting room that is much in demand. A bar at the rear of the restaurant is in the final stage of completion.
That is work done by the managers, Nick Hallerman and Chad Thomas, in their spare time. They started in business at the former Mamma Maria’s on South Washington Street in Grand Forks. Both have become creative chefs and businessmen. Thomas said they are looking to expand and establish a second restaurant in another town. Business has been good with a lot of word-of-mouth recommendations.
The busiest times at Mamma Maria’s are during the lunch hours and the dinner rush, from 6 to 8 p.m. The restaurant employs 25 full and part-time people.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 772-1055.