hangout for students and locals alike. Mama Mia’s is a wonderful treasure; a cozy space with a friendly environment and home-like atmosphere - serving fresh homemade pizza and pasta. Mama Mia’s is owned by Alex Medi and his brother Ozzy. I met with Alex to discuss his journey to Mama Mia’s.
Alex was born in Macedonia in 1977 and is proud of his Albanian and Sicilian heritage. He moved to Paterson, NJ at the age of 2. Alex lived in New Jersey for 4 years then moved back to Albania. When he was 9 years old, he moved back to New Jersey. The constant movement made it hard for him to adjust in school; having to learn two languages.
In 1999 Alex moved to Abilene, Texas. He owned and operated Joe’s Pizza with his brother Ozzy. After 4 years, they both moved to Arlington, Texas and worked for Nizza Pizza for 3 to 4 years. Alex gained his U.S. citizenship in 2003. After finally landing in the Houston area, Alex decided to invest in Mama Mia’s, a cozy spot where the towns of Pasadena, Deer Park and La Porte converge. He has owned and operated Mama Mia’s for the last 5 years; the first 2 years with his Uncle Nick and the last 3 years with his brother Ozzy. Alex’s cousin Ish has been a part of Mama Mia’s since day one. Ish has been an integral part of the restaurant’s success.
Customers love Alex; he’s part of their family. Alex cares deeply about his customers, the quality of his food and the service he provides. His wife works at the restaurant and he plans to have his children work there when they are old enough. He has two daughters and one son. “Texas is the best place to raise a family”, says Alex. “The people are kind and we have a relaxed atmosphere here - unlike New Jersey where everyone is rushing around and distant. In Jersey, you may never meet your next door neighbor of 20 years. I love my customers and love having this restaurant.”
Alex worked hard for what he has today. He works 12 hours a day and 6 to 7 days a week. He and his brother Ozzy cook for the restaurant. All physical improvements are handled by the restaurant family - no outside contractors. This strong family work ethic started years ago when Alex’s grandfather came to America and started their family restaurant tradition. "It all started with my grandfather in 1952”, says Alex. “This provided an opportunity for me and my family to succeed.”
Mama Mia’s offers a full menu of pizza and pasta. Everything is homemade! I decided to try the ‘Pasta Trio’ and a slice a New York Style pepperoni pizza. The ‘Pasta Trio' includes Lasagna, Chicken Parmigiana and Fettuccine Alfredo. I started with bread and olive oil. The bread was soft with a light garlic seasoning. Next was the pizza. I was impressed with the moist, rich cheese, zesty sauce and firm crust. I can honestly say it was one of the best slices of pizza I have ever had. The ‘Pasta Trio’ blew me away. The
Fettuccine Alfredo was creamy with wide tender pasta that melted in my mouth. The Chicken Parmigiana had a nice portion of tender breaded chicken, layered with rich tomato sauce and melted cheese. The Lasagna (my favorite) was memorable with its tender pasta, ricotta cheese, rich tomatoes and unbelievable meat sauce!
I was pleased with my visit to Mama Mia’s and my discussion with Alex Medi. The excellent food is only part of Mama Mia’s allure. The cozy, hole-in-the-wall feel gave me a sense of belonging. The restaurant was clean and the staff was pleasant. Ish treated me like family and showed friendly professionalism. The desire and dedication of its owner speaks volumes. Alex represents the American Dream at its best; hard work, sacrifice,
tradition and loyalty.
Mama Mia’s is a true Houston hidden treasure.
Mama Mia’s Pizza and Pasta
8200 Spencer Hwy, La Porte, TX