As you will see below I really liked this place.
It really upsets me to say that I stopped by Joe Mama’s last week and alas, it was closed. They may have fallen victim to a variety of issues that plague small business owners but that shared common problem, makes it no less painful. Not enough money.
There is the most common challenge, which is “Underfunding.” This most often means that somehow, through shear will and sweat equity the owners are able to benefit from a little divine intervention and manage to get your restaurant open. And then you need a perfect storm of customers and profit margin to miraculously appear before you, on a daily basis, for the next 12 months just to pay the bills. If at any point you make a bad call, fall victim to the economy, or have break even moment, tire out fomr the endless days and nights, you are going to die on the vine. And I suspect that is what happened to Joe Mamaa’s. Red , ripe, divine and delicious- died on the vine.
Or 3.5 stars out of 4
Everyone has to eat sooner or later, so we might as well talk about it. Agree or disagree, your replies are valued.
Joe Mama’s is an American food restaurant that features a hearty breakfast menu that pays homage to it’s Southwest location. The first time I was made aware of Joe Mama’s Grill was when Jason’s Deli, on Oracle, was temporarily closed. The industrious folks over at Joe Mama’s placed a note on the door of the now reopened Jason’s Deli, inviting us over. We passed on the invite that first time, but after receiving a Groupon offer one fateful day in late June, it seemed like the planets had aligned and we had no choice but to succumb. And succumb we have, and succumb we shall continue.
The menu features upscale sandwiches that include chicken, burgers, and tuna among specialty tacos and salads. Their fries are thin, crispy, and not over powered by their signature touch of parmigiana cheese. The first couple of visits for lunch I had their burgers and each time they delivered on a very good burger.
So we are on our third trip to Joe Mama’s last week for lunch, which speaks volumes for how I feel about this place, and as I am looking at the menu I decide to take a huge leap of faith.
I ordered their BBQ Pork Sandwich with Slaw and Gouda Cheese.
a) I am originally from Eastern North Carolina.
b) This means that at a very early age I learned how to cook a whole hog.
c) I have strong opinions about Pork BBQ.
d) I’m Sorry Tucson, but until the day I ordered the BBQ Sandwich at Joe Mama’s, every BBQ sandwich I have ordered in Tucson has been abysmal. If not mushy, they are so over flavored with smoke and sweet sauce that it might as well be Javalina. Hint- Pork sandwiches should feature the pork.
Let me also say that the thought of me ordering a pulled pork sandwich with Gouda, probably caused all my ancestors in North Carolina to do a 180 in their graves.
So as my grandparents now lay face down in their graves, I take a bite of the pork sandwich that the manager convinced me to to order. Before ordering, I told him I was personally responsible for the demise, slow cooking, and serving of more than 2000 pounds of pork so far. He told me, “ours is pretty good.”
I told him that I was a BBQ snob and some BS about pork running through my veins. He smiled, ” Would you like to try the sauce?”
After tasting the sauce, I told him the sauce was OK but what about the Cheese? It’s just isn’t right to put cheese on pork man. He told me, “you can pull the cheese off and I’ll refund your money and get you something else if you don’t like it.”
At this point, I want to put this food review on pause and discuss the manager at Joe Mama’s. I am assuming he is the manager. He could be the owner, but I don’t think he is. The important thing is that when it comes to the food and interacting with his customers, he’s acting like an owner that really has some passion and integrity about the place and food served in his establishment.
Back to the food. All of the burgers I have had at this place have been good, verging on great. The BBQ sandwich was one of the best BBQ sandwiches I’ve ever tasted. Never mind it wasn’t exactly like the one back home. The sauce and the perfectly cooked pork combined to create a symphony of irresistible face stuffing perfectly cooked and sauced sandwich of love.
A for Effort
B for Ambiance
B for Service ( It would be an A, but this is an order at the counter place.)
A For the food taste
B For the presentation
A for not somehow screwing it up
Everything you need to know is at http://joemamasgrill.com