AP NEWS

Restaurant family touts giant pizzas, Texas pride

March 20, 2019

Mamma Mia’s, a restaurant on Pasadena’s border with Deer Park, exists because of an immigrant family’s desire to be in Texas.

Brothers Alex and Ozzy Memedi, along with their father Steve, opened the restaurant 11 years ago. Before that, the family bounced around between states and countries.

“I was born in Macedonia in 1977 from Albanian and Sicilian heritage,” Alex Memedi said. “We moved to Dallas when I was 2 before moving back to Albania when I was 6. Then we moved to Jersey when I was 9.”

The Memedis decided that the moving would stop and that Texas was the place for their family and for their restaurant.

“The constant moving made it hard to adjust in school especially having to learn two languages,” Alex Memedi said. “My brother and I just knew Texas was the best place to raise a family. The people are kind, and we have a relaxed atmosphere here unlike New Jersey, where everyone is rushing around and distant. You can literally go 20 years without knowing your next-door neighbor in Jersey. Our restaurant came about from these sacrifices.”

While people can get Sicilian-style food other places around Houston, the Memedis believe they have found their niche.

“We make these recipes from scratch,” Alex Memedi said. “They are our own recipes made by our own hand. I think the one thing that makes us unique is our dough, and our bread is never frozen. It’s fresh daily and everything has a unique touch to it. Almost everything in our restaurant is made to order so almost everything is customizable.”

The restaurant offers Mediterranean fare, specialty pizzas — including one so large it can’t be handed through the carry-out window — and American favorites like Philly cheesesteak and meatball subs.

Customers can get veal parmigiana for around $15. Subs start out at around $8 and pizzas start at around $12 and go up from there depending on size and toppings.

The marinara and alfredo sauce is made daily, Alex Memedi said.

“Our community is our family. I think are most important role is just being there for everyone. Family is where you can call home — you know your next door neighbors your community is a big family. You have to take care of it are we always try to give back by giving back to our churches, our schools and, our first responders. We strive to provide the best that we can for anyone who walks through our door,” he said.

Mamma Mia’s is at 8200 Spencer Highway, Pasadena, 77505. It is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page or call 281-479-4477.