Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Vintage New York Presents: Meet Your Mama in Manhattan

Dining in New York could always use a little more of Mom's Cooking
By Mitch Broder

If you need to be reminded to remember your mom on Sunday, for shame. But walk around the city and you'll be reminded.

Having just established that Manhattan has its fair share of Joints, I thought this the time to establish that it has its fair share of Moms. That includes, of course, Mamas as well as at least one Mamma, though apparently no Mothers, despite what you would think.

Most are in the form of restaurants, which poses a dilemma if you honor the life rule "Never eat at a place called Mom's." But this is New York. Here you break rules. Here you eat where you want. Though I'd still honor the companion rule "Never play cards with a man called Doc."

Here's a sampling of Manhattan Moms and Mamas, including the Mamma. It's not quite all of them.  But I know that the ones I left out will forgive me.

Everybody thinks their mom's cooking is Mama's Famous, but this New York restaurant truly is famous.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner! Burgers, pizza, gyro! Free delivery! Grade A! Now that's Mama! Of course, it may not be your Mama. But if it's not, there's always Mama's Famous Ristorante, on the Upper West Side. Mama's Famous Specials include two hot dogs and a soda for $4.75. And needless to say, her kitchen's open all day.

As for Mom's Cooking, at the top, it's across Eighth Street in the Village from Pop's of Brooklyn, so you can see Pop without springing for more fare. Mom serves soups, salads, sandwiches, and stews, while Pop makes hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, Buffalo chicken, and cheesesteaks. Just like at home.

Mama Sbarro's vs. Sbarro is there a difference when dining in New York

According to the signage, Mama Sbarro's in Times Square is also a just plain Sbarro, which led me to ponder the distinction between a Sbarro and a Mama Sbarro's. Evidently, a Mama Sbarro's has more Italian dishes, though when I called the company and asked what the difference was, the woman I spoke to said: "Nothing."

Mamma Mia draws Mama fans from all over the world to see this New in New York show.

The rare triple-M Mamma is represented by the rare quadruple-M Broadway musical "Mamma Mia!" This Mamma's been running twelve years and has been loved by millions. ABBA, of course, is an acronym for the pop group's members, but it also means father, which means that, once again, Mom and Pop are together.

Wow Mama even makes empanadas at the aptly titled New York restaurant Empanada Mama

As a rhyme purist, I believe that this restaurant needs to be either Empanama Mama or Empanada Mada. But clearly my beliefs don't matter, because the place, in Hell's Kitchen, gets packed. Along with the eponymous pastries, it serves Mama's Meals, which include Palomilla a la Plancha and Chuleta Empanizada. Let's see Mama rhyme those.

Don't Tell Mama will have listening to someone tickle the ivories while dining at this New York restaurant.

As the sign suggests, Don't Tell Mama began as a piano bar. It has since added a restaurant. It's on Restaurant Row, and is not to be confused with La MaMa, the downtown theater center, or MoMA, the uptown art museum, not to mention Mama's Food Shop on East Third Street.

Looking for Chinese dining in New York?  Look no further than Charlie Mom

One of the managers of Charlie Mom told me that in China, Charlie Mom means "thousand-mile horse." Fortunately, this Charlie Mom is in the West Village, where Mom still means Mom, more or less.

Hunting for American Chinese food will lead you to Charley Mom on the Upper East Side of New York City

I assume that in China, Charley Mom means the same as Charlie Mom. Either way, Charley Mom is on the Upper East Side. Both Moms serve good old-fashioned American Chinese food, but unlike you and your mom, they are not related.

Japanese dining in New York can be found in many place, but a touch of Mom can be found at Momoya.

At Momoya, they told me that Momo means "peach" and not "Mom-o." Then again, there's a good chance your mom-o is a peach. If so, you could take her here for Japanese food. It's on the Upper West Side. And like a good mom, it serves warm chocolate cake.

And for the Pops in the crowd, don't forget to chow down on a cheesesteak at Pop's of Brooklyn

On Mother's Day remember Mom, but don't forget Pop.


  1. And a happy mother's day to you Mitch! I'm sure the Moms of the area appreciate your attention.

  2. I loved each and every mom but especially "...there's a good chance your mom-o is a peach..." Will there be a "dad-o" in June?

  3. "At Momoya, they told me that Momo means 'peach' and not 'Mom-o.'" So....what does "yo" mean? In Japanese, not New Yorker, of course.

    Empanada Mada...absolutely. Agree. 'Sup with rhymers these days?