Almost a year ago I bought my first home in St. Paul’s North End. Located just east of Lake Como, it has a very small-town feel to it, and  it’s full of amazing people and wonderful family-owned businesses. One of my favorite places to eat near my house is at Mama’s Pizza Parlor on Rice Street. If you want to experience the authentic feel of an Italian trattoria, Mama’s is the place to go and has been for over 40 years! Their food is delicious, authentic, inexpensive, and comes in large portions. Best of all their customer service is probably the best in the Twin Cities. They were recently mentioned in Minnesota Monthly for their warm hospitality.

I have personally experienced that warm hospitality on many occasions. One particular time that I remember fondly was after my roommates and I had just finished our spring cleaning and decided to go to Mama’s to celebrate our accomplishments. We had worked up quite the appetite so we were pretty excited to get seated and order a bunch of dishes to share. Although the place was packed, they seem to always get people a table quickly and this time was no exception. Within a few minutes we were at our table with a carafe of red wine and warm bread. (Note: If you order wine, the best value is to get a carafe. It’s enough for about 4 glasses and costs about the price of 2 glasses.)

Although most of my roommates had been there before, a few of them hadn’t and their eyes were bigger than their stomach. Against my recommendations we ordered five entrees for the six of us. Their entrees are anywhere between $7-12 and serve anywhere from 2-4 people. I highly recommend the mostaccioli with meatballs and cheese on top! Mmmmm. So good. And there is something about their red sauce – it’s the best red sauce I’ve ever had, and I’ve been to Italy. I don’t even think we finished half our food. We had almost an entire pizza left over and we were so full! Our waitress joked with us and in an attempt to help us eat a little more, the manager filled up our carafe of wine on the house! By the time we had eaten and drank a little more we were feeling like one big happy Italian family! Our waitress packed up all our leftovers and added extra sauce to everything so they wouldn’t be dry when we reheated them – so smart!

As anyone that has been to Mama’s before knows – no dinner is complete without the complimentary ice cream! Our waitress brought us each an ice cream cone and we even convinced her to sit down and have an ice cream cone with us! She told us about the history of the place and how it had been passed down through their family. It was great getting to hear the story of such a wonderful neighborhood establishment. I encourage you to head over to Mama’s and ask them the story yourself. Grab a few entrees to share and a carafe of wine and enjoy one of the best Italian experiences in St. Paul.

As their slogan says – “My heart belongs to Mama’s!”