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- "I was rather pleased with the food. The arugula salad is delicious and the portion is huge. It was incredibly fresh and the lemon vinegarette was bright and acidic, perfectly complementing the sundried tomatoes. The Mama Della's pizza was HUGE. Definitely enough to feed 2-3 people. It was clearly fresh, but my only gripe with it was the sauce. The sauce was watery and made the center of the pizza soggy, causing the cheese to slide right off."
- "Have passed this place many times and it was never crowded, Wished I Would have stopped by earlier. Ran in today and grabbed a pie, It took a little while but was well worth the wait. I think it was one of the best pizzas I have had in Baton Rouge"
- "My pizza was very good and the crust had a great flavor. I will go back and try out some more of their menu."
- "Amazingly fresh and delicious ingredients. What a major step up since the Restaurant Impossible makeover"
- "As a native New Yorker, this is the only place that comes even close."
- "This has been our favorite pizza joint since it's opening. Recent changes give it a more upscale feel, and prices have gone up to match. Thankfully the pizza is stil great. We will continue to dine here, just not as often due to the price."
- "We came to this restaurant, and it started off wrong by the fact that they weren't offering half of the things in the menu. Then we ordered two pizzas and they forgot to cook one of them.... Then the cashier and chef proceeded to argue about what is on the specific pizza we ordered"
- "The sauce is nothing but water. The toppings don't stick to the pizza they slide right off. The pizza is nothing special and not worth the price when I go to Isabella's for cheaper and get no watery sauce. Idk how this place was before chef irvine came but we will go to other pizza places where we can taste the sauce."
- "This pizza was a huge disappointment, sauce taste like it came out of a can, crust wasn't cooked, whole mushrooms looked like they came out of a can. Owner totally rude. Staff unknowledgeable about menu. Pizza and Salad $36 - wish I went to DeAngelo's."
- "Ok pizza. Nothing special. Ordering process is very awkward and owner makes you feel uncomfortable."
*Reviews from Yelp, Urbanspoon
Other News and Links:
- Here are the Mama Della's Facebook and Twitter pages, and the restaurant actively responds to customers on both.
- Here is the Mama Della's website and a link to their menu which now only has pizza in one size.
- An article in Oct 2013 had prices for some dishes, and here are the old to new price based on the above menu - Emilia Romagna Pizza - $18.75 to $19.75, Grandma Pie - $11.50 to $13.95, Chicken Parm Sandwich $6.95 to $8.95. So, prices have been raised, but it doesn't look too drastic.
- While filming, Robert Irvine said the pizza crust is good, but the sauce is disgusting. He also stated he thinks the owner doesn't like him and doesn't want to change. (Link)
- Barry grew up in restaurants with his family owning multiple restaurants over the years. He uses the same ingredients and recipes his family has used for many years. He met his wife while serving in the Navy, which is how he ended up in Baton Rouge (Link).
- In a 2012 article, Barry is quoted as saying, "If I can’t get the ingredients I want, I don’t serve that pizza. It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to compromise the quality of my pizza in order to make more money."
- In an August 2013 article Barry is quoted as saying, "The biggest challenge was recreating things the way they were from 35 years ago. My stuff has no additives, no preservatives. It was difficult because when I opened, I noticed products that I once used had changed, companies changed, and they had all this nonsense added … I'm all about the best there is." (Link)
- A story after the makeover said "business was booming" and that there was a steady lunch crown. There was also a comment that said "I WAS a regular. I might try it again after all the commotion is over, but I do not like the changes made to the sauce at all."
- According to their Facebook page comments, there were some issues with the restaurant not having enough staff to handle demand after the makeover. The restaurant put out ads on Craigslist and even used a temp agency to try to find more employees.
The reviews for Mama Della's before the Restaurant Impossible visit were very good regarding the food, but mixed in were some 1-star reviews of people complaining about the owner Barry. This is most likely the reason the restaurant was chosen for the show as the conflict between him and Robert will create good television. Reading the reviews about the incidents customers have had with Barry made me think of the "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld.
Barry sounds committed to getting the best ingredients at whatever cost, and sounds more worried about making pizzas his way than making money. Robert will most likely try to change this as well and you see the prices are a little bit higher than before.
The reviews since Restaurant Impossible visited are mostly positive with people still raving about the food, especially the pizza. There are a few negative reviews that talk about the sauce on the pizza, but I am not sure if this is the new sauce that Robert Irvine suggested, or if Barry went back to his old sauce. There are also a few complaints about service (most likely due to being understaffed after the makeover), and of course there still a few complaints about Barry.
The food seems to be great at Mama Della's and if Barry can stay away from customers or change his attitude, the restaurant should be able to succeed.
UPDATE - The restaurant closed in late 2014 - Information on the closing.
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