Friday, 21 January 2011


First Wings of 2011!

I felt like grabbing some take-out. Chicken Wing take-out. There weren't any wing nights this night in my area and I didn't feel like delivery. So I hit the streets, looking for somewhere I never had been to before. Block after block, I couldn't find a place to eat. I was about to give up at a burger chain, when I saw a Canadian pizza chain I have never eaten from before.

Mamma's story starts in 1957 when Mamma, or Lidia Danesi, who immigrated to Canada and opened the first Italian restaurant in Toronto. People started to call her "Mamma, Queen of the Pizza's" and eventually the chain became Mamma`s Pizza. On thier website it has part of the menu listing of a medium Deluxe pizza costing $1.75. A whole pizza. Over 50 years later and many more pizza types later, and a Mamma's medium pizza ranges from $13.45-$19.75.

It was a Sunday night, and the streets were empty when I went in to this location. There was table seating, a counter that wrapped around the outside edges with big picture windows looking out to sit at, and a mini-bar area that looks like a classy pub. The staff were hanging out in the pub area, while one patron seemingly just hanging out, looking out the window, who I later overheard was satisfied with his food.

The guy I delt with at the counter was seemingly not happy to be there. I think it might have been having to deal with another customer at the end of the night. I scanned over the big board above the counter for wings. Nothing. I was surprised that there were no wings. Oh well I guess. I pointed to a slice of pepperoni pizza in the display case, paid my bill and waited while it was put in the oven to reheat. While I waited, I leafed through their take-out menu, and there it was, wings. Why would they not have that up on the board? Huh? Why? So I got an order of wings too.

It didn't take long for my pizza to come out. It was one slice cut into two length wise. It was cheesy, very light on sauce, and about 4 full pepperoni slices on top. It was a very mild flavoured pizza, so I went and doctored it up with chili flakes and hot sauce.

It was an incredibly long slice, and incredibly thin. It was so long and thin, you really needed two hands to eat. While I like thin pizza, I was not overly impressed with the pie. Crispy crust = good; super mild sauce/pepperoni/cheese = not impressive. This wasn't a bad slice of pizza, but it did not wow me.

When I asked about the wings, my Mamma's Pizza representative did not look enthused to make them. I mean he did it, and effeciently, he just didn't seem want to. I saw him get my wings from a plastic tub that went into the oven, and in 10 minutes I had a plate of wings.

Mamma's wings are pre-marinated in a bbq sauce, baked, and then tossed in your sauce of choice. The wings come in orders of 10 or 20 wings. Since I was dining in, they brought my 10 wings on a disposable plate right to my seat.

Those wings were quite small. A bit longer than my thumb, they were not impressive in length, but they were quite meaty. Also, very tender meat. It fell off the bone quite easily. But, they were not crispy at all. At all. Tender but no texture.

The sauces are pretty standard, but I was happy to see they had a suicide. And when they came I was very impressed with the heat levels. I mean the wings were right out of the oven, so they hurt to touch, but they also gave my mouth a little blister from spice heat. I thought their mix of bbq basting and suicide made for a unique tasting wing, but I was taken aback by the heat. I asked my unsmiling counter buddy what they made their suicide with; "Frank's X-Tra Hot" he said. I was a little embarrased that I got a good sting from Frank's, but hey, it worked. Clearly I need to get back to eating spicier foods.

FINAL SCORE: While meaty, these were tiny wings. While tender, they were not at all crispy. They were spicy and I did enjoy the flavour, but I don't see myself ordering these any time soon. I liked the size and thinness of the pizza, but the sauce wasn't right and the pepperoni could be kicked up a few notches. I wonder what Mamma's used to be like . . .  3/9

Mamma's Pizza
118 Yonge Street, Toronto ON (and other locations)


Jason Wayne Riddell said...

Have you tried the new fully sauced wings at pizza pizza, here in Hamilton we were the test market- they just went chain wide last week- and they are shockingly pretty good as long as you order them well done. And at 50 cents a piece if you buy any pizza it's not actually bad cost wise. I was completely shocked since the reg Pizza Pizza wings are sub par at best.

Teena in Toronto said...

It's been a while since I've been to Mamma's.

Indianguy said...

Yes? Hi! The best eating pizza from the chains is the Panago or the Piaziallo.

Chris said...

I hate hate hate customer service experiences like that.

Lord of the Wings said...

@Jason Wayne Riddell - I have (will have a review soon) but it was because I read about them on your blog that I even heard about them.

@Teena - its gonna be a while before I go back.

@Indianguy - have not tried either. Do they have wings?

@Chris - What is up with that?