Mama’s Expands to Williamsburg: Here’s How It’s Looking, What It’s Cooking

Tonight, the Williamsburg outpost of Mama’s, an East Village comfort-food fixture since 1995, officially debuts after having “soft opened” on Thursday. Last night at a private party, The Local sat down with Jeremiah Clancy, the onetime manager of Mama’s Bar who bought Mama’s Food Shop in 2007. Mr. Clancy, who grew up in Chicago and now resides in Prospect Heights, lived in South Williamsburg in the 1990s. “It reminds me of what the East Village was 15 years ago,” he said, smoking a cigarette at an outdoor table that looked onto an overpass of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, a street festooned with Dominican flags, and a playground where he said games of pick-up basketball are popular.

Inside, portraits of mothers – including those of the restaurant’s landlord and broker, as well as some belonging to local residents – hung on the walls. “I didn’t want to compete with Bedford or Berry,” said Mr. Clancy of his off-the-strip location. “I just wanted to provide good cheap food for the neighborhood.”

The menu, he said, hasn’t changed, nor have the prices or the counter service. “We yell at you to bus your tables,” he said. “Same thing [as at the East Village location].” But he admits that the atmosphere here is a bit different, owing in part to a beer and wine license that is expected next month (the original location is b.y.o.b.).

“The East Village space feels more like a 20-something’s apartment where you’re hanging out with your buddies, drinking 40s,” he said. “With this place, we wanted to dial it up a little bit and make it a little more refined – not insofar as changing any of the vibe, because it’s still about the fake notion of a dinner party (friends, alcohol, good food, hanging out), but we wanted to make it a little bit sweeter and more indicative of what our mothers did with their dining rooms.”

“There’s a little bit of a wink there,” he added, “because I grew up in the Midwest, so there’s a notion of company’s coming over – you have to have a fancy spread.”

The chef, Scott Morris, said he planned to start private Sunday-night dinner parties in January. Meanwhile, he has made some changes to the East Village location’s menu. Mr. Clancy said that a recent visit from Guy Fieri and his “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” show meant that the dinner offerings were unlikely to change anytime soon, but as of this week, the brunch menu has been revamped to include waffles, French toast, egg dishes, and the like. Intelligentsia coffee will also be served – a nod to Mr. Clancy’s hometown of Chicago.

See the new brunch menu, as well as the Brooklyn location’s dinner menu, below.

310 S. Fourth Street (Rodney Street); (718) 486-9606

Mamas Menu