A search for warm comfort food took us to Mamma Mia Tuscan Grille on a cold autumn night this week.
Their soft opening last Thursday was so soft you may have missed it altogether, but the town's newest Italian restaurant is officially open for business in the location formerly occupied by Fortesa.
The space has been remodeled and brightened up from its last occupants. The wine room with the capacity to eventually hold 1,000 bottles of wine remains; there's also executive chef Derek Murray, formerly of Fortesa.
Solid Italian fare
Mamma Mia is owned by the same corporation that owns Paint Creek Tavern. Having a sister restaurant right next door comes in handy while working out the kinks of a new business, like how to fill that order for chocolate milk.
Although the two restaurants are under the same ownership, Mamma Mia's menu is truly its own, offering up traditional Italian fare.
I ordered the Four Cheese Baked Lasagna, after my waitress Liz described it as "to die for." It was a melty, meaty masterpiece that was big enough to make two meals for me. My favorite part was the melted cheese around the edges that I scooped up with the homemade bread. The lasagna is $14.99.
My husband needed only one sitting to finish every bite of his Frutti de Mare. With scallops, mussels and calamari served with poppardelle pasta in a red broth, the dish had a nice heat to it. It is $20.99.
In addition to pasta and artisan pizza, the menu also includes chicken, veal and fish dishes. The Shrimp Mamma Mia — with fresh garlic, lemon, white wine and cream sauce served over angel hair pasta— was called out as quickly becoming a local favorite. It's $18.99.
The House Specialties include filet mignon, steak, lamb chops and veal chops all served with rosemary roasted red skin potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
For the kids
When we dined at Mamma Mia, they did not yet have a printed Kid's Menu but offered grilled cheese, chicken fingers, mac-n-cheese and spaghetti to young diners. The mac-n-cheese got raves, in fact the word "awesome" was used. Both that dish and the chicken fingers—three chicken pieces on a pile of fries— were each $7.99 including the beverage.
Mamma Mia is located at 543 N. Main. Its hours are Monday through Saturday 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. for the kitchen. The bar remains open until 2 a.m. On Sunday the restaurant is open 1-9 p.m. Call 248-402-0234 with questions.