Turning 50, Mama's Pizza is proving it is more than a memory.
On June 11-17, all six Mama's locations will feature 50th anniversary specials. Some days, pizzas will cost as little as $5, or $15 for a giant "Mama's size." On June 15 only, the daily lunch buffet will cost $5.
"We're traditional pizza," said Jordan Scott, in his 15th year as owner of a legacy founded in 1968 as a sideline for a Fort Worth schoolteacher. (He also owns the local Creamistry.)
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"We grate our own cheese and we use plenty of it. When you carry out a Mama's pizza, it's gonna weigh a couple of pounds," Scott said.
The original owner, retired teacher Ed Stebbins of Arlington, said he wanted to serve something like his Italian family served in Connecticut. Not the cheap, cracker-crust pizzas of Pizza Inn or Pizza Hut chains.
"Everything back then was flat and flimsy," he said last week.
"I had an Italian grandfather in Connecticut with a combination barbershop and pizza place. So we made it his way, with a soft, rising crust, hand-rolled around the edge. It took off and people just loved it."
At first, there was no "Mama." Stebbins chose the name to contrast with the popular pizzeria of that day, Papa's Pizza Parlor, a Shakey's-esque family restaurant with a player piano.
But the woman everyone knew as Mama was his mother-in-law, Catherine Biggs, who ran the former Texas Wesleyan University flagship store for 18 years.
Biggs had just retired when Scott started as a teenager at the old Mama's on Camp Bowie Boulevard. Now, the newer Mama's nearby at 5800 Camp Bowie Blvd. is his company's No. 1 location, followed by an Arlington location at 1200 N. Fielder Road.
"We're surrounded by pizza now" — Olivella's, Campisi's — "but we still do great here," he said.
(The orders have changed. Fewer double-cheese-supremes, more thin-crust pizza Margheritas with chopped tomato and basil.)
Mama's plans a new Hudson Oaks location near the H-E-B grocery now under construction, Scott said
Here's the rundown of specials: June 11, $5 medium; June 12, $10 large; June 13, half off (except the lunch buffet); June 14, 50-cent breadsticks; June 15, $5 lunch buffet; June 16, $15 20-inch "Mama's" giant; June 16, $19.68 for two larges.
Scott owns the Mama's on Camp Bowie Boulevard, North Fielder Road and the oldest location, 1813 W. Berry St. Franchise locations also are in Cityview, Mansfield and North Richland Hills; mamaspizzas.net.
$1 burgers, 70-cent CFS at Jake & Dorothy's
Also celebrating an anniversary June 11-16: Jake & Dorothy's Cafe, an American classic marking 70 years in Stephenville.
Watch for $5 lunches, $1 burgers, $6 sirloins and $7 catfish on different days, but take particular note of the 70-cent hot, open-face chicken-fried steak sandwich with waffle fries after 5 p.m. June 16.
Bartaco brings 14 kinds of tacos
Bartaco, a Latin-fusion tacos-and-tequila chain known mostly for stellar bar food (guacamole, chili shishitos, churros or rice bowls with chcken, pork, duck or portobello), is open in the WestBend shops along the Clear Fork near the zoo.
Bartaco was founded in New York along with a "Barcelona" tapas concept, but Bartaco serves tacos along with plantains, tuna poke and a garlic-rosemary rotisserie chicken.
The menu has 14 kinds of tacos, from redfish or pastor to tamarind duck or cauliflower Romesco.