Open Tu-Sa 11AM-10PM; Su 3PM-10PM; closed Mondays
(609) 588-5454 Website Google Maps
Gravitas: Decor: Cost: Proximity:
Time passes. Most of the old Italian joints have closed. Some, like Mamma Rosa’s, Marsilios, or Sal DeForte’s reopened in either Ewing or Hamilton (what we’ve dubbed the Trenton diaspora). As it turns out, most of the old Chambersburg Italian buildings are now reopened as new restaurants serving Guatemalan or Puerto Rican or some other Latino variation. Many are superb. The best Italian restaurant in central NJ, Settimo Cielo, is still in Trenton, downtown, run by an Ecuadoran chef. Go figure. But my budget won’t allow me to eat there every time I want an Italian fix.
Sometimes you want a basic Italian meal: tasty, not too expensive, not too fancy. Really, there aren’t many places within the City of Trenton where you can do that anymore. Mamma Rosa’s, only a few minutes out of town on Klockner Road in Hamilton fills the need. You can get your standard Italian entrees like veal marsala or chicken cacciatore. You can order specials which are a bit more adventurous. You can also get a pretty good tomato pie (designated a semi-finalist in Hidden Trenton’s Tomato Pie Competition). It’s BYOB. The servers are friendly, it’s open both for lunch and until 10 PM every night except Monday. What’s not to like?
The second time I visited Mamma’s I ordered a tomato pie. As I watched the server bring it towards my table, I recognized the familiar opening chords of Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 breakout-hit, Born to Run, starting up on the dining room sound system. It’s that kind of place.