Mama Ricotta’s will expand into SouthPark with a sexy sister concept. Expect a grand opening by the end of 2019.
“It’ll be similar to a 1950s Italian spot with a warm, clubby feel,” said Mama Ricotta’s owner Frank Scibelli. “It’ll be a slightly more grown up Mama’s.” Think old-school family Italian restaurant at a Rooster’s or Dogwood level. “We’re going to sex it up slightly.”
The name isn’t finalized yet, but it’ll likely be Little Mama’s Italian Kitchen & Bar.
Location: It’ll take the space formerly occupied by Living Kitchen in the same building as Diamonds Direct (across the street from SouthPark mall). Scibelli shared that the space will undergo a major renovation including the creation of a killer indoor/outdoor patio that’ll be climate controlled.
Menu: Expect Mama Ricotta’s favorites like their penne alla vodka (my personal favorite) and lasagna, along with new handmade pastas including a variety of ravioli and simple broiled meats. Unlike Mama’s, the sister concept will not offer pizza. Oh, and expect a bigger emphasis on craft cocktails.
Mozzarella bar: Similar to a sushi bar, Little Mama’s Italian Kitchen & Bar will have a six-seat mozzarella bar. Scibelli and Mama’s executive chef Tom Dyrness are huge mozzarella nerds and plan to offer all sorts to mozzarella dishes.
Related Agenda guide: 5 best Italian restaurants in Charlotte
Why it matters: Mama Ricotta’s is widely regarded as both the most popular and best Italian restaurant in Charlotte. In a recent survey sent to 40,000 Agenda daily newsletter subscribers, Mama’s was easily voted Charlotte’s #1 Italian restaurant. Although we’ve recently seen Zebra and Living Kitchen close at this SouthPark location, I’m bullish on Little Mama’s Italian Kitchen & Bar given the experienced operators and recognizable brand. And if the Mama’s team is able to pull off the “clubby, 1950s vibe” it could be one of the hottest restaurants in Charlotte.