Mama Louise Flourishes as a Proud Representation of Its Namesake
Since opening its doors in December 2015, Mama Louise Restaurant has welcomed families of all sizes — from young children to young-at-heart grandparents. The Dr. Phillips community has embraced Mama Louise’s homey and comfortable ambiance, coming back time and again for its truly authentic Italian dishes. Owner and chef Joe Esposito has been a restaurateur for more than 40 years, pouring his talent and experience into Mama Louise, as it is not just another restaurant for him.
Mama Louise Restaurant owner and chef Joe Esposito continues to grow the restaurant he started as a promise to his late mother, Louise, and named in her honor.
It all started in chef Joe’s mother’s kitchen. Louise raised her sons on dishes made from family recipes, often telling the boys to “shut up and eat,” a phrase that became the slogan for Mama Louise. Chef Joe put his heart into the restaurant, opening it as a promise to his late mother and naming it for her. He creates Italian meals that combined her recipes and his own special touch. He strives for a fun family atmosphere, where people can come and immediately feel at home.
Each guest is treated like a friend from the moment they walk through the doors. Chef Joe is known for visiting tables and introducing himself or saying “hi” to regulars. He holds a great amount of respect for family matriarchs, even going as far as to pay for the meals of grandmothers over the age of 90 who visit his establishment. Keeping the restaurant a family destination with a hometown feel is at the center of chef Joe’s vision for Mama Louise. Every aspect of it is a testament to the love he holds for his late mother, from the slogans on the walls to the ingredients used in each meal to the red-and-white checkered tablecloths. Chef Joe makes sure that everything, including the staff, is run in such a way that his mother would be proud.
“The guys in the kitchen have been with me for years and know the expectation of running a kitchen,” chef Joe said. “And I have all the confidence in the world that Mama Louise would approve of them as well.”
One of chef Joe’s favorite dishes to serve is the Mama Louise Baked Lasagna, a steaming masterpiece that keeps customers coming back for more. The layered pasta is stuffed with the traditional blend of sausage and ground beef, ricotta cheese and marinara sauce. Restaurant-goers are transported to Italy with staples, such as baked ziti and chicken marsala, or they can choose from an array of pastas, like the penne shrimp fra diavalo and spicy chicken rigatoni. For pizzas, chef Joe has perfected the process of getting the crust just right in order to reflect the New Haven, Connecticut, pizzas he grew up with.
Chef Joe continuously tries new ways of making his customers happy. From dining specials and happy hours to mom’s night outs and paint nights, there is always something fun happening at Mama Louise. Weekdays feature a happy hour from 4-7 p.m. with two-for-one deals on wells, draft beers and house wines. Kids eat free on Mondays. On Tuesdays, customers can buy one pizza and receive the second one at half off. For Wine Wednesdays, guests purchase a bottle of wine and receive the second one at half off. Thursday nights are Mama’s Night Out with happy hour prices from 7-9 p.m.
The restaurant that started as a son’s promise to his mother has become a neighborhood staple. Chef Joe is thrilled with the way families are choosing to visit time and again. He cherishes being able to provide people with a local go-to Italian restaurant and sharing his love of food and family with the community while keeping the loving spirit of his mother alive.
“I feel truly blessed, and I know my mother would be proud,” chef Joe said. “Not only are people coming back, they are bringing their friends and family members. And what really warms my heart is that they are bringing their mothers.”
Mama Louise Restaurant is located at 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd. in Orlando. For more information, call 407-345-1000 or visit www.mamalouiserestaurant.com on the web. ♠