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“My Oh My”
Review of Mama J's Kitchen

Mama J's Kitchen
Ranked #5 of 1,607 Restaurants in Richmond
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Kids, Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine
Dining options: Brunch, Dinner, Lunch, After-hours, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“My Oh My”
Reviewed 15 April 2014

Mama J's definitely does not disappoint! Having read all the reviews, the bar was set very high and they hit and surpassed it. I opted for a salad as I'm watching my waistline but there was plenty to steal from on the other plates. My chef salad was delicious, plenty of bacon, ham, chicken, cheese and egg to balance out the lettuce! We started with the friend shrimp and the catfish bites appetizer - don't miss the pepper sauce on top of the latter! Was lucky enough to sample the fried chicken too.

The service was friendly and fast, as other reviewers reported. MamaJ herself said hello and welcomed us. All around awesome place to swing into!

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank MomOf2_K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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610 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Waldorf, Maryland, United States
Level Contributor
41 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Phenomenal Soul Food”
Reviewed 5 April 2014

I have been here visiting from Maryland. A group of us VPs decided to get some soul food. The chicken wings were amazing. The grilled pork chops were tender and juicy. The macaroni and cheese wasn't as cheesy as normal and the server said it depends on who is cooking. The server had a less than welcoming attitude, but the food was worth the lack luster service. I will try again with a different server.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank DrLaurie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
Level Contributor
206 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Must eat here while in Richmond.”
Reviewed 4 March 2014

I was in Richmond for a week and this was the best place we ate at. Great service and amazing food for an amazing price. If you're looking for great southern food, look no further than Mama J's.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Rich S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
199 reviews
97 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
“Smackyourmamagood!”
Reviewed 14 February 2014

I'm perplexed by the less-than-glowing reviews for this place. Our first visit was AWESOME. This little hole-in-the-wall scores high in the genre of Southern homestyle cooking. Hubby had yummy fried fish (and I don't particularly care whether it was catfish or Swai--it was excellent!). His sides included some of the tastiest greens ever and homemade mac and cheese good enough to dance off the plate and sashay out the door! I had beef tips with gravy over rice, which scored as nothing short of a food-gasm. Our only problem with the place was that we ate way too much and paid for that sin for the rest of the evening. There is no off-street parking; you gotta polish up your parallel parking skills and maybe walk a block or so. But hey, this is the city, folks! You want easy parking??--head to the suburbs, but you won't find anything like Mama J's there! (I'm already putting together my entourage for Christmas 2014's limo-tour of Richmond's famous "Tacky Lights"--and you'd better believe that MAMA J'S will be on the itinerary.)

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank dstclair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond, Virginia
Level Contributor
65 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great Food, Just Lacking Everywhere Else”
Reviewed 10 February 2014

It had been three years since my last visit to Mama J's. Today, I took a leap of faith and went to Mama J's for lunch. On Sundays, they open the doors at 12:00pm. But just like with church service, I arrived about 20 minutes early to get a good spot and get a place in line. By the time the doors of the restaurant opened, there were roughly 30 people in line. So here is the review.

The Good:

Service at Opening of Restaurant- The 30 people in line plus the stragglers that came along were all seated at once. After everyone was seated, our server came to the table, had a smile that could light up Las Vegas and was very friendly. We ordered our food and she brought it out in literally 10 minutes. Food was hot, fresh and she happily refilled our drinks without being asked to do so. That was a major plus.

Taste- Aside from my Mama B's cookin, Mama J's comes a close second. This is what soul food is all about. The Fried Catfish was battered to perfection, seasoned nicely, the Mac n Cheese was so rich I could feel my arteries clogging up as I took every bite and the College Greens (yes they are supposed to be called Collards) tasted so good, I knew the trip to the bathroom later on would be well worth it.

Portion Size- Very huge portions. If you eat here, you will not be hungry afterwards, depending on what you get of course.

The Bad:

Nickel and Diming- When ordering at Mama J's, everything is pretty much separate. If you order an entree, you have to order your sides separately. The fried fish cost $9 for two pieces. Throw in two sides at $2.50 a piece and taxes, you are looking at a $15 bill should you opt not to order a $2 soft drink or $4 piece of cake. I mentioned the prices because if you go to Soul Appetit, you don't get the same quality of food or service, but you get pretty much the same meal that I ordered for $7 less. If you go to the Croaker Spot, you can get the 2 piece fish boat with house potatoes, corn bread, mac n cheese and greens for the same price and with much bigger portions. At the end of the day, its about how you want to spend your money.

Limited Space Inside- The inside of Mama J's is small. If I had to estimate, I would say the inside holds about 50 people give or take. About 10 minutes after I took my seat, 15 other people showed up outside the restaurant and had to wait because there were no more seats available. Some of those people opted to order takeout and others found a nice seat and made themselves feel comfey. I didn't leave for another 30 minutes and those same people that initially arrived were still waiting to be seated. Had I arrived when they did, I wouldn't have had the patience to wait 30+ minutes to be seated at a restaurant. If you suffer from Claustrophobia or have a pet peeve regarding hearing the conversations of people sitting near you in a restaurant, you may want to think twice about going here. In the future, I would recommend that Mama J's expand their restaurant so they can accommodate more customers.

Service During Peak Hours- Service during peak hours or times where customers have to wait 30+ minutes to be seated is horrible. From other times that I've been to Mama J's, turnover of very slow, food takes a long time to come out and there just is no sense of urgency anywhere. Because of this, the restaurant loses customers.

Overall, food is great, portion size is great, service is great depending on what time you go, but my frugal nature prevents me from giving this place 5 stars. I shall be going back again, but it will be when the restaurant is least busy. THREE STARS.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Jon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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