Mamma Maria adds a la carte menu, gelato shop

Mamma Maria, the red gravy stalwart that has been serving a prix fixe menu at 1637 E Passyunk Ave. for 21 years, has finished renovating and added an additional a la carte menu. Plus, there’s a new little gelato shop that will stay open until 1 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The lounge seating outside is new too
The lounge seating outside is new too

The standard prix fixe menu, at $55 a head including free wine and after-dinner limoncello, will still be offered in one half of the dining room. But in the other half, owners Maria DiMarco (Mamma) and her daughter Paola Chiavatti are now offering elements of that feast on an a la carte basis, plus a selection of sandwiches and other smaller bites (see the full menu below).

Both sides of the restaurant are still BYOB.

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The flavors of gelato, shipped in from Italian maker Bindi, include hazelnut, vanilla, dark chocolate, pistachio, mint and strawberry, plus lemon and orange sorbetto “ripieno.” That means the sorbetto comes served in a hollowed-out piece of the fruit.

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This is the gelato shop, which will also sell espresso drinks


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Lemon sorbetto ripieno

Chiavatti closed her Center City lunch spot Pasto, which was across from the east side of City Hall, a couple years back and just recently began helping out her mother. She said the a la carte menu is aimed at grabbing the younger arrivals to the neighborhood, who she says are more likely to steer clear of gut-busting seven-course meals.

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This side, the right half, is for the prix fixe menu
And this half, including another 20 seats or so behind the curtain, is for the a la carte menu
And this half, including another 20 seats or so behind the curtain, is for the a la carte menu

Chiavatti was also the one who decided to remove the old signs and install the two new banners, including the one that says “Stay hungry, my friends.” And yes, that is a deliberate reference to the Dos Equis commercials. Chiavatti said that Mamma, who doesn’t drink, is as full of life and passion as that most interesting man in the world.

mamma signs

But those signs are meant to be temporary. The restaurant had initially been signed up to complete PARC’s facade improvement program, but pulled out this year. Chiavatti said she hopes to renovate the entire front as part of the program next year.

Check out the website for the prix fixe menu, but here’s the new a la carte one.

mamma maria menu2

mamma maria menu1

2 thoughts on “Mamma Maria adds a la carte menu, gelato shop

  • July 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Frozen shipped gelato? Good luck competing with Capogiro.

    And FIFTEEN DOLLARS for spaghetti in garlic and oil?!!!

  • July 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I think the Passyunk Capogiro location is the only one in the city where they don’t make the gelato on site. Big ole’ bummer. Someone please correct that.

    Bindi, I think, may manufacture in Jersey as opposed to Italy, as is suggested here:

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