It’s a one-of-a-kind experience in South Pasadena, offering the only self-pour beer, wine, and cocktail system in LA county, along with fresh, brick oven-baked pizza that you can order by the slice if you think the whole pie’s too big for you.
If you ask South Pasadena residents Steve and Jamie Inzunza, founders and co-owners of Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta, about any other unique quality that places the shop apart from other pizza joints in the Pasadena area, they’ll talk excitedly about how they’re keeping authenticity alive with a hundred-year-old tradition.
Steve explains, “We were inspired by the New York City cuisine scene, and we’ve leveraged that concept and added a fresh California twist to provide a unique product and service. New York theme, LA scene!”
Items on the Mamma’s menu are individually made to order, with 10 different pizzas offered “by the slice” all day long for people who need to grab-and-go. Their extensive selection provides something for everyone: delectable gourmet brick oven pizzas, 25 pastas, appetizers, calzones, sandwiches, salads and gluten-free and vegan options.
“We have a unique product here and services that you can only get here,” says Inzunza. “I mean, the things we come up with, blending that tradition with a fresh California twist… it’s really more and more becoming a destination location.”
On their website, the staff at Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta tells how you, the customer, can be the “talk of the town” when you serve their pizza or pasta at your next party. “Delight your guests with the same flavor you could only hope to find in the finest restaurants,” it proclaims. This certainly rings true for many residents, as the store’s many years of success can attest to that.
The shop is open to host diners at 1007 S. Fair Oaks Ave. in South Pasadena, where they have 150 seats inside, 80 out in the tent in the back patio, and 30 along the front street-side on Fair Oaks — a massive improvement over their original location, just a few blocks north, which could seat only 30, Inzunza said.
“We’re meeting people from everywhere, from San Diego to Rancho Cucamonga that are coming in, so it’s really been fun with that adventure of creating something special and unique that you can only get here in South Pas,” he says. “People are like, ‘God, I wish I had this in my town!’ and it’s just so neat to see. [Also] the employees too that we’ve worked with, they’ve grown, we see them [come in too]. They’re out in the world, and they’re coming by with their children… it’s a family. It’s just seeing the community come together, there’s just nothing better than that.”
Even before the pandemic, Inzunza and his staff have been using online ordering through their website, so other than in-store dining being closed for some time, there’s not been too much of an impact in the way they run things at Mamma’s.
“We’ve been doing it for 15 years,” Inzunza said. “When we started, it was a very small footprint, so by design we did a lot of takeout and delivery. That served us well with COVID, actually. We already had the software systems, we had the people, the drivers, so people will call in, or we have online ordering, which goes through the website.”
They’re also launching a mobile app, where people will find it a lot easier to order take-out, delivery, or just to reserve that slice of pizza for pick-up later in the day, an even further enhancement to an already speedy system. Reflecting on the flagship staple of their business, Inzunza notes, “With a better-quality product, the fermentation of the dough is important, as well as other aspects,” he said. “So it’s great for the grab-and-go environment, or you can come here, order at the counter and we’ll turn it around pretty rapidly.”
The store also has a Team Mamma’s VIP text club where they send key announcements and news about special offers. Inzunza says joining the text club makes the customer some sort of a Mamma’s favorite. One look at the menu and the customer will know they’ve “left ordinary pizza far behind,” the website says. The restaurant boasts everything from sun-dried tomatoes to pesto and goat cheese, testaments to fresh ingredients. They also boast a secret water recipe, dough made fresh daily and “aged to perfection,” hand-tossed, with no conveyor belt nor rolling pins in sight.
As for the self-pour beer, Mamma’s makes sure they do business with local vendors that are conscious of the community “where our roots are,” said Inzunza.
“We start with local, we look for best in class, and unique,” he said. “We have virtual beer tastings virtually online, and they’re really well received. It’s a one-of-a- kind experience, so I encourage anybody who hasn’t been here, far and wide: come in and find out why.”
To learn more about Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta, visit www.mammasbrickoven.com