There are three kinds of restaurants out there:
- The reliable but vanilla chain. You can usually count on a good meal, but good is all you’ll get. Chains don’t specialize in remarkable, memorable food.
- The how-the-hell-did-these-people-get-into-the-restuarant-business restaurants. The food and service are horrible, and you wonder why the owners decided to waste their lives dumping mediocre eats ontp a plate and calling it a restaurant.
- The rare but coveted gem. A special restaurant where the art of food is taken seriously. The entire menu is delicious, the service is great, and the owners are passionate about what they do.
Unfortunately, Restaurants One and Two are the most abundant in America, and I find this problem to be especially prominent here in CNY. I’ve yet to experience a truly remarkable restaurant here, despite the large number of them present. However, this predicament does have one teeny tiny perk: when I do find an exceptional restaurant, that makes it all the more special.
Mama’s is one of the few truly incredible restaurants I’ve encountered in my lifetime. Located in Hackettstown, NJ, Mama’s offers one of the largest, most mouth-watering menus my hungry eyes have ever seen. Don’t be surprised if you become overwhelmed while scoping it out. There is literally something for everyone. It doesn’t matter what you’re in the mood for; Mama’s has got it.
As a vegetarian, I hardly find menus that offer me endless options. Mama’s, however, has so many tantalizing choices for me that it makes my head spin. And if you’re gluten-free, I’ve got good news for you. Mama’s has a gargantuan gluten-free menu, big enough for them to run a restaurant on that alone. I know firsthand from a gluten-free friend that it’s all wonderful. So whether you’re a carnivore, a vegetarian, or gluten-free, you’re bound to find a plethora of palate-pleasing options at Mama’s.
Since I was in New Jersey this weekend, I made sure to stop in at Mama’s. I’d already been there once before, and after that trip, I couldn’t get it out of my head (hear all about my first trip to Mama’s here). I had to go back! I am pleased to say that my second visit was just as wonderful as the first. Everything was great from start to finish. The hardest part was deciding what to order.
Mama’s starts you off with complementary bread. I love when restaurants do this. We’re talking major brownie points. The bread was warm and fresh with a crusty exterior and tender, fluffy interior. It came with an incredible aromatic garlic olive oil for dipping. I think I could’ve slurped that stuff straight up. It was the perfect compliment to the bread.
Next, I ordered the Pizza Fries for an appetizer: crispy french fries topped with melted mozzarella cheese and served with marinara sauce. I love cheese fries topped with mozzarella, so this was a winner for me. Plus, Mama’s makes a mean marinara sauce. It’s awesome. My only complaint is that I could’ve used a little more cheese.
I also sampled my mother & sister’s appetizer. It was a trio of mozzarella sticks, fried ravioli, and onion rings. They got to select their three appetizers from a list of mouth-watering options. I don’t envy having to make that decision! But the choices they made were all delicious, perfectly fried to crispy perfection.
For my entree, I ordered the Spinach Ravioli with Rosa Sauce. I fell in love with Mama’s Rosa Sauce on my first visit when it came with my AMAZING Eggplant Rollantini. It’s a smooth and creamy blush sauce with beautiful flavor and just a hint of indulgence from the cream. It was incredible on top of the tender homemade raviolis. My only issue is that I was left wanting more sauce. The raviolis themselves were just delightful. They were fresh, clearly made with love, and stuffed with a generous amount of spinach and cheese. The primary cheese of choice was ricotta, which Mama’s does homemade. I’ve got to tell you, once you have their heavenly, creamy ricotta, you will never want store-bought again.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the Tiramisu I ordered for dessert since I devoured it in the car on the way home (stuff happens). I can, however, promise you that it was delightful. The mascarpone cream was smooth and fluffy; the ladyfingers were perfectly soft and soaked with espresso flavor. It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
If you’re in the area, please make it a point to stop at Mama’s. I promise you’ll find a myriad of fantastic foods to order on their menu, something to satisfy any eater. You will love the warm environment and accommodating waiters, but most of all, you’ll love their delicious food. They take care with everything they make. It’s quality eats. Stop in soon, and let me know how you like it!