Mama Q’s is a fairly new pizza shop located on Old St Augustine road in Mandarin. They’re a small family owned pizza shop that cranks out all your standard offerings plus some unique pies you won’t find anywhere else in town. They make their dough fresh in house. They use high quality ingredients and they try to buy local whenever possible. We’re big fans of buying local since local ingredients are fresher than those that are shipped in. They taste better since they’re fresh and also have a higher nutrient content because of that freshness. Not to mention supporting local providers benefits our whole community. When we walked in we were immediately greeted by the owner RJ who might as well be the energizer bunny. He’s full of energy and also enthusiasm for pizza. RJ has worked for various pizza chains for years. After all those years in the industry he’d learned a lot and thought he could put together a better pizza place. We think he’s done it. Mama Q’s reminds me of the kinds of neighborhood pizza places that are hard to find with the overwhelming number of chains out there these days. The building may be small and simple with only 5 tables inside but what the building may lack RJ and his team make up for in personality.
Address: 10550 Old St Augustine Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32257
Phone number: 904-260-MAMA(6262)
The Food: If you want, you can walk into Mama Q’s and just grab a simple cheese or pepperoni pizza. You can do that anywhere though. Mama Q’s specialty pizzas are where they really shine. We went with all specialty pizzas. We ordered four 8” pizzas so that we could get a broader feel for what Mama Q’s has to offer and also offer better guidance to you our readers on what you might like. The first pizza we tried was The Meateor – Mama’s simmered tomato sauce with pepperoni, ham, sliced meatballs, and sliced Italian rope sausage. If you’re a meat lover you’ll probably really like this one. The pepperoni was solid. The sausage was noticeable and good. The meatballs made this one. They were a nice touch and a fun deviation from the standard meat lovers pizza. Overall a really solid meat lover’s style of pizza. Our only suggestion is to add bacon because the bacon at Mama Q’s is awesome and bacon makes everything better.
The next one we tried was the Clams Casino Pizza – olive oil and garlic base, clams, bacon, green peppers, red onions, and parmesan cheese with a squeeze of lemon. If you like clams you’ll probably love this one. You might think the flavor of the clams may get covered up by the other toppings. It doesn’t. You’ll taste the clams, the vegetables and the bacon for sure. Did I mention they have awesome bacon? My biggest pet peeve with bacon is on pizza it’s always soft and soggy. This bacon is amazingly crisp. The bacon on their pizza is the best bacon I have ever had on a pizza. No joke! If I could have this bacon on every slice of pizza I eat for the rest of my life I’d die a happy man! Next time I come to Mama Q’s I’m going to just order a pizza with double bacon on it and bask in the wonder of this beautiful meat. Okay, okay…….I know I’m getting a little out of control here but it was really that good.
Next up was The Kitchen Sink- pepperoni, red onions, green peppers, sausage, and mushrooms. This is Mama Q’s version of the supreme pizza. It was well executed. We enjoyed it. The sausage was noticeably better than your average sausage on a pizza.
The last type of pizza we tried was the most unique that Mama Q’s had to offer. The Mashed Potato Pie – olive oil and garlic base with Mama’s mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon and chives. I love mashed potatoes so I desperately hoped that this one wasn’t a train wreck. It turned out pretty darn good. The dough had just the right amount of crispness so that the pizza wasn’t soggy or overly mushy. The mashed potatoes had good flavor. The magical bacon I’ve raved about was on this one too. It was of course great on this one as well. If you’re a big mashed potato fan definitely try this one.
Aside from pizza we sampled the wings and the cinnamon maple sticks. The wings we weren’t thrilled with. There was nothing wrong with them. They were just your standard run of the mill wings. We’d definitely eat them if they were there but we wouldn’t go out of our way to order them.
The cinnamon maple sticks were fantastic. I was already absurdly full and couldn’t help but shovel one after another into my mouth. The cinnamon maple icing they give you for dipping was amazing too! It has sugary cinnamon-ey Maple flavor that bursts onto your tongue. We loved it.
We made this visit to Mama Q’s because the owner contacted us by email and asked us to come out to see them. This was a comped meal. Rest assured that a comped meal does not in any way guarantee the restaurant a positive review. We recognize that when we’re invited out to a restaurant by the owner and they know we’re coming we’re going to see the restaurant’s A game. The big benefit for our readers when we’re invited out is we also get to sample a lot more items than we would on a normal day and give you better guidance on what items you might like. We also get to ask questions and learn far more about the restaurant than if we show up incognito. In this case we pushed the limits a bit and asked if we could walk behind the counter to take pictures and watch some of the pizza being made. The owner also allowed us to step into their walk in freezer to see how everything was organized. We noticed a few things worth sharing. First off the place is very, very clean. In the walk in freezer everything is labeled, dated, and organized. These guys are very focused on the details. They use high quality ingredients. They make their dough in house. They even weigh each ingredient as it goes on the pizza to ensure the exact amount of each topping that is supposed to be on your pizza ends up on your pizza. This leads to consistency which we really appreciate as a customer. In chatting with the owner we found out that the mural on their wall was actually painted by one of the art classes from Mandarin High School. Mama Q’s really makes me think of the old school neighborhood pizza place where you know the owner and they’re involved in the community. Inviting the local high school art class to design and paint a wall mural in the store is exactly the sort of thing I’d expect.
Mama Q’s gets our seal of approval. They make good pizza. They have unique offerings. The people behind it are good folks who are passionate about pizza. Go check ‘em out.
Editors Note: One of the best things about pizza is eating a leftover piece while standing in front of your fridge trying to figure out what to eat for lunch. Mama Q’s is some of the best “open-fridge” pizza I’ve had.