Watered down Coffee over Ice, House Ice Coffee with Milk and Sugar
Country Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy, three Over Easy Eggs and Homefries
Sausage and Scrambled Eggs
Mama’s Stack with Whipped Cream and Strawberries
Long ago outgrowing the limited confines of their previous location, a visit in September of 2014 finding the small and narrow restaurant completely full, Mr. Mama’s relocated to the corner of South Jones and West Russell Road the following March, late Breakfast over two-years later still finding the mom ‘n pop place packing ‘em in from open to close with waits as long as an hour on weekends for food that is affordable and competent, no less and no more.
Inexplicably one of Las Vegas most heavily Yelped! Businesses, the only presumed reason being that low prices and big portions are a selling point for that particular demographic as the online deal offering $30 of food for a $15 pre-purchase expired long ago, it was with another adult plus a ten year old boy that the group checked in at the podium just past noon on a Saturday and waiting alongside four twenty-somethings who Uber’d from the Strip plus a couple passing through from Utah for nearly thirty minutes the scene was nothing short of controlled chaos, servers moving at a steady clip with a manager directing traffic while intermittently snapping pictures of another full house.
Eventually landing a table along the north wall of the restaurant, the current location not doing much to upgrade the décor but nearly tripling the number of seats with an equivalent increase in servers and kitchen size, it was by an identical menu from three years ago that diners were greeted, a few daily specials including Pancakes or French Toast slathered in canned Fruit Compote immediately passed over in favor of a two-plate and three sides order tallying just over $50 prior to tip.
Literally filled to capacity until their 2pm closing time, no waiting diners turned away but the Open/Closed sign flipped over and no further seating allowed after the designated time, it was with a small glass of Milk and two Iced Coffees that the table waited another thirty minutes after seating for the whole order to be delivered at once, the house “Iced Coffee” similar to McDonald’s in that it comes with Cream and Sugar already added while the Hot Brew poured over Ice is watered down and weak, though both are offered with endless refills for just three dollars.
Interestingly hiding prices on their website, an odd choice as most of the diner-staples ring in at a pricepoint similar to the big chains or other locally owned joints such as EggWorks or The Cracked Egg, it was with the table quickly flooded that pictures were taken and share plates were passed, the “Mama’s Stack” putting sides of Sausage and Scrambled Eggs on a separate plate as the fluffy triple-stack overlapped its dish with Strawberries and Whipped Cream strewn on top, the addition of Pure Maple Syrup from home again showing the Pancakes to be rife with Buttermilk, not too dense and among the best in town.
Moving next to the Chicken Fried Steak, not a typical order but considered to be one of Mr. Mama’s signatures and interesting enough in that regard to justify its $12.95 cost inclusive of three sunny-side Eggs, an unfortunately dry Biscuit and previously-frozen Homefries, suffice it to say there is nothing light about Sausage Gravy atop a pounded piece of deep fried Beef and although fans of the dish may say this is as good as it gets the fact of the matter is that it is certainly an acquired taste that did not go over well with 2/3 of the table thanks to the thick and largely flavorless Country Gravy.
Mistakenly ordering an extra Biscuit, the addition of some honey definitely improving things to at least a point of edibility, those looking for something far better would do well to order one of Mr. Mama’s famous $3.50 Cinnamon Rolls, the yeasty curl piping hot beneath thick frosting while a similarly priced side of Onion Rings is enough to go around the table several times with crisp batter and nary a hint of greasiness.
TWO AND A HALF STARS: A pleasant enough place, though clearly one who has generated a following by way of low prices as opposed to quality cuisine, Mr. Mama’s reminds one of the sort of diner food that spawns big crowds after church in a small Midwestern town where creativity is for lack and abundance matters most.
RECOMMENDED: Pancakes, Onion Rings, Cinnamon Roll.
AVOID: Biscuits, Coffee, Home Fries, Country Gravy, Fake Maple Syrup.
TIP: Those looking to use coupons would be well advised to expect a wait, math not exactly a strong suit for the staff and the middle-aged male cook with a pot-marked face who may or may not be the owner clearly a loud and greedy man who does not understand the idea of ‘fine-print.’
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.