Mama E’s: food from the soul and shady restaurant of the month
Mama E’s Wings and Waffles original location can be found at 3838 Springlake Dr in Oklahoma City (map). They are open Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 7pm, closing at 6pm on Wednesday. Give Mama a call at 405-424-0800.
Have you ever wondered what “soul food” is? Visit Mama E’s and they will be glad to educate you. I told the friendly lady preparing my meal a couple days ago how glad I was to find a soul food joint in this town and she said, “Baby, this is truly soul food because we make it with lots of love from deep down in our soul.” I’ll tell you what else it does; it warms the soul. In short, “soul food” is “comfort food”and Mama E makes it as well as anyone I know. Soul food is made the way all comfort food should be made. The made-from-scratch gravies are creamy, the casseroles are cheesy, and everything comes with an extra scoop of lard for flavor.
Not only is Mama E’s great, it’s shady too. It’s a small little shack in a less-than-desirable part of town (off 36th between Kelly and Martin Luther King). Luckily, Mama shuts down before it gets too late, so it’s usually pretty safe to frequent during operating hours. Mama E’s is open from 11-7 Tuesday through Friday, but they close at 6 on Wednesday. Mama says, “You better be goin’ to Wednesday night meetin’ at Church!!” Mama E’s has 4 or 5 tables and a long bar with seats as well. Lots of people came and got food to go while we ate. After seeing the portions Mama serves, I’m sure these people were taking them home to share.
Mama E’s has several fantastic offerings to choose from. Chicken and waffles, burgers, catfish, fried ribs, and pork-chop sandwiches. The chicken and waffles are amazing (dusted with powdered sugar), but to me, the real shining star is the Soul Food Daily Special. Sure, it’s $9.95, but wait until you hear what it includes! You get two meats, three sides, a roll or cornbread, dessert, and all-you-can-drink Kool-Aid! When I say two meats, I mean two full servings of meat. When I say three sides, I mean you better be ready for an afternoon nap when you get back to work. You get a roll or a slice of cornbread (or in my case she gave me both because I was taking too long to decide) and dessert, which could range from bread pudding to sweet potato pie (both are great, according to my lunch companions). I’ll admit, I’ve never made it to dessert. First, I’m not a big dessert fan, and second, not many people can make it through two meats and three sides and live to describe the desserts. In all reality, the soul food special could, and probably should, feed 2 people.
Meats can include a variety of options from day to day. You might get neckbone, chicken and dressing, pork-chops, meatloaf, catfish, fried tilapia (or other whitefish), spaghetti casserole, stroganoff, beef tips, fried ribs, or the like. If you have never had neckbone, try Mama E’s. It’s perfectly seasoned and slow cooked for hours until it’s fall-off-the-(neck)bone tender. To give you a perspective on portion sizes, a typical neckbone is about the size of a man’s fist. Granted, its not loaded with tons of meat, but she loads up 3 or 4 of these chunks of flavor for one serving. The stroganoff had big chunks of meat in a homemade gravy. It was very filling and very tasty. The sides were fantastic as well. Baked macaroni and cheese was perfectly done, mashed potatoes had a homemade turkey gravy drizzled all over them, and I also tried a squash, okra, and tomato saute of some sort that was unique and flavorful. Of course, you can also get corn, greens, beans, yams, cabbage, or whatever else Mama has cooked up for the day.
Next time I think I will bring the whole thing home and split it with my wife. I’m pretty much useless after a meal like that if I try to conquer it by myself. And how can you go wrong with Kool-Aid? Its one of those things that you would never be caught drinking while out with your buddies, but Mama makes everyone drink Kool-Aid, and it’s a nice nostalgic flashback. It’s also funny to see all your buddies with Kool-Aid mustaches.
If you have never had soul food you are missing out on a passionate art form, tasty food, and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Go visit mama, but bring a big appetite!