Mama Louisa's: one of the very best Tucson Italian restaurants (Arizona, USA)
by Ken Orabone
I grew up in the middle of a huge Italian family in Rhode Island and amongst many Italian restaurants. I lived in Tucson for 18 years during and after going to college there. I discovered Mama Louisa's about 6 years ago when we bought our first house near there.
The first and many subsequent times I went there, I had Joe's Special. I was hooked. Here it is straight from the menu:
Joe's Special (our signature dish for over 50 years). Fresh, homemade Linguini topped with hot pepper & fresh chopped garlic, then topped with special cheese & baked.
And, if like me, and you really like garlic, asking for extra garlic would get you extra fresh shaved garlic over the dish. Loads of garlic, fresh pasta, homemade sauce, garlic-infused olive oil and cheese - amazing. I often walked away having eaten waaaaaay too much, but something like that is almost magical in the way it makes you keep eating for the utter joy of the experience.
The salad bar is filled with homemade items like pickled beets with onions, various pasta salads, etc. All wonderful fresh ingredients taken care of and refilled often. Usually there are two fresh soups, one of which was almost always Italian Wedding Soup. Again, fantastic!
I had other dishes throughout the years, but always kept coming back to Joe's Special, especially at lunch when you could get a small entree and the salad bar for cheap, good eats.
During those 6 years or so, I found myself at Mama's at least twice a month, if not several times a week and was never bored by the experience.
Mama's has been in business for over 50 years and it is easy to see why. The food is great, the staff very attentive and the prices are awesome, especially for homemade pasta, sauce and an awesome fresh salad bar.
My father used to visit us from Rhode Island and it was his favorite Italian restaurant of all, beating out those in the Italian-land of RI. Having now moved back to Rhode Island myself, I still find myself craving something like Mama Louisa's and it will be my first stop whenever we go back.
Mama Luisa's Italian restaurant
2041 South Craycroft Road
Tucson, AZ 85711-6622
Tel: (520) 790-4702
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