Address: 715 Saddle Creek Rd
Genres: pizza, american
Check Constraints: None.
Chain: Local.| More Omaha Locations: Yes.
- Italian Cheese Bread ($4.50, 4 slices)
- Breaded Raviolis ($5.25)
- Onion Rings (Full order, $6.75)
- 4 oz Creamy Garlic House Dressing ($1)
- Medium Garlic Chicken Alfredo Pizza ($13.50)
- Medium Spicy Italian Sausage with Red Pepper (Special, $13.50)
- 2 Pitchers (Diet Coke, Root Beer, $5)
Before we hit the food, a moment to talk about the place itself. Mama's has a reasonably unique ordering setup, where you order your food actually at the bar, and pick it up at a window when the kitchen crew's done with it. This sort of thing would never fly in Indiana, but since Nebraska's a lot looser on letting kids into the "bar area", it works pretty well. It certainly means you save on a tip. Since there's no Keno, there's no smoke, and thus it really doesn't matter whether you sit in the bar area, or in the area outside it. Well, that's not entirely true. There aren't TVs outside the bar, so you'll miss your soap operas otherwise. The place in general reminds me of pizza parlors of the days of yore (of my youth, anyhow), possibly because it actually has an arcade! All the pizza places of my youth had arcades, because really, if you're waiting for a pizza, why not be sinking quarter after quarter into a large beeping machine? The selection of games wasn't ideal, especially because the Simpson's game - if you remember that old beat-em-up - was out of order. That would have been a great trip down memory lane.
One last note about the building - apparently, up until 2002, the place had red shag carpeting on the walls. They kept a piece and framed it, is how I know.
The time for the pizza to be done wasn't overly long, and they called us for one before the other arrived, so it wasn't just sitting there getting cold. And the appetizers, of course, came out first. I don't have much to say about them, except that the onion rings were unique and delicious, and that their house dressing is good, but not all it's cracked up to be. The pizza itself was very good. It's not the best I've had in Omaha, but it runs a pretty close second, and it definitely beats out anything I could get from a non-local chain. The alfredo pizza was smothered in cheese, and though it was very good when I got a bit where I could taste the alfredo or chicken, it tasted primarily of cheese.
So naturally I put parmesan on it. And red pepper flakes. Don't look at me like that, it's pizza, it needs parmesan. Anyhow, it was pretty good. The spicy sausage pizza was even better, though the sausage came out more like meatballs and there was way too much sauce on it to properly eat it without a fork. And yes, it tasted even better with red pepper flakes and parmesan.
At a sum total of $51.55 after tax, Mama's is good food for a nice price, though I still wish they'd have fixed that Simpson's machine.
The Simpsons arcade game was Konami. I'm not sure if Konami used Capcom's infamous self-destructing arcade boards or not, but it's possible that it simply -can't- be repaired. That would be a tragedy.
I refrained from trying the sausage and pepper pizza, mainly on the basis of the peppers looking disturbingly like cooked whole tomatoes, which, as many of you know, I cannot stomach due to a tragic childhood incident.
The alfredo pizza, on the other hand, was pretty good. It could have used more garlic, and did well with more parmesan. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try the alfredo pizza at Roman Coin, but I wouldn't mind having this again, even though it did give me acid reflux. That's pretty common for me after pizza, though.
The appetizers were surprising. The onion rings were definitely done in-house. I'm not a big fan of onion rings, but the breading was well done, in my personal favorite style of ultra-smooth breading. The cheese bread was above average, but not amazingly so. What was impressive was the breaded ravioli, which Cham got for some inexplicable reason. It was golden brown, soft, moist, and just all around head and shoulders above any I've had before. This place knows how to do the ravioli.
The ravioli, I agree, were the best appetizer. ND said it well. The cheese bread was more like cheese toast to me. Buttered toast with cheese on top. Pretty good. The onion rings were on the odd side of unique for me, but they weren't bad. I don't think I'd need to get them again though.
The chicken alfredo pizza was good. Like was said before though, it was heavy on the cheese and light on the sauce. Both the pizzas we got were pretty heavy on cheese, which I consider to be a good thing. The large sausages in the sausage/pepper pizza were fun, if a little difficult to eat. That pizza also had the added difficulty of tons of sauce. It may have been a bit too much sauce. Since the sausage/pepper pizza was a specialty pizza not on the menu, we wondered if the sauce level was the same for their other pizzas. We're unable to make any real comment on typical sauce levels though. The menu does have a good variety of non-pizza options too, which I thought was pretty nice. None of us tried the other main dishes this time around. What we did get was great, though.
At $10 a head, you can't beat the price. I didn't get a chance to try the breaded ravioli, so I'll have to assume it was very good. The onion rings, I will contend, are the best I've ever had. They were all good-sized rings--none of the endcaps. The breading, as ND said, was very smooth. It wasn't the coarse breading that you sometimes see. The best part was this powder on the outside that was reminiscent of popcorn salt. I'm not sure if it was something they added afterward or an artifact of the batter, but it added something I've never seen before with onion rings. A++. Will eat again. I agree with the others on the cheese bread. It just wasn't special enough for the price and quantity.
I really liked the specialty pizza. It was very saucy and the chunks of sausage were pretty big, so it was more like a spicy meatball pizza. The chicken alfredo pizza was pretty disappointing. It tasted mostly of cheese. I recall a couple of vague hints of alfredo and chicken, but that was all.
All three of the appetizers were reasonably solid, although the onion rings and ravioli were definitely the standouts. The ravioli was full and not done to the point of super-crispiness, unlike many places, and Maple covered the onion rings in reasonable depth. It's worth noting that the breading didn't fall off in a slimy fashion either. They put together some solid rings. (And I maintain that the salt in the breading is good, although a little saltier than necessary to sell more soda. ;)
The alfredo pizza really did have trouble punching through with the alfredo sauce's flavor instead of the cheese, but I'm not the world's largest fan of alfredo flavoring anyway, so I wasn't too bothered. It wasn't bad, though, even with that. The specialty pizza was better, in my mind, with large meaty chunks and the peppers being very strong in the taste component. The big 'problem' that both of those hint at is inconsistency in flavor, where you get some bites which are nothing, and then some bites which are everything. That's not uncommon in pizza, but I prefer a bit more consistency than this place gives (at least with those two.) I don't think I'd go with it as second for taste, but it's definitely a strong contender, especially with it being farther away from the normal haunts than either Roman Coin or Zio's, making it a much closer and fairly enjoyable option for people in that area. Also, it wasn't super-busy, so that certainly could have helped the speed with which we got our food out.
As for what we didn't do, the bar was mentioned above, and we didn't play with that any, although I didn't see any big notes about 'specialties', so they probably focus on beer. There are a number of other things to eat there, such as sandwiches and salads, and we didn't get to any of that, as Moogle mentioned. Still, little to be sad about foodwise here, and that price point is very worth a consideration or two.