Saturday, Sept.1, will mark a new beginning for Mama Mia’s restaurant in Felton, as new owners Mike Goss and Nick Church officially take the reins of the venerable Italian eatery.
“We’re local guys coming back to buy it,” Goss said. “We’re looking forward to being back in the valley.”
For Goss and Church, both alumni of San Lorenzo Valley High School, the purchase of Mama Mia’s represents a return to their roots. Church worked as the restaurant’s kitchen manager from 1989 to 1993, and Goss was the general manager from 1987 to 2004.
“Mama Mia’s is sort of my other baby,” Goss said. “I invested 17 years of my life in there.”
According to Church, who most recently served as the executive sous chef at Chaminade Resort & Spa in Santa Cruz, Goss reached out to him in March about the possibility of going into business together.
“We’ve always talked about wanting to open a place,” Church said. “When this came through, it was one of those golden opportunities.”
Goss was living in Reno when Mama Mia’s owner Frank Leamy, knowing Goss’ affinity for the restaurant, phoned him with an offer to sell the business he had owned since 1996.
“(Leamy) always knew my heart and soul was in this place, so he came to me,” he said.
Goss said he looked forward not only to returning to Mama Mia’s, but to being part of the Felton community again.
“Felton’s always been the original,” Goss said, referring to three independently owned but loosely affiliated Mama Mia’s restaurants in Campbell, Gilroy and Morgan Hill. “It’s something that’s been in the valley for a long time, and we want to continue that tradition.”
Goss said the partners’ plan for the menu was to incorporate Church’s kitchen experience to create house-made raviolis and pastas, feature more local wines, and maximize the use of locally produced ingredients.
“(Church is) bringing a wealth of experience,” he said. “That’s the No. 1 thing we’re going to get back to, is getting local.”
While some menu items will be new, Goss said customers could continue to look forward to hand-tossed pizzas and breadsticks and the restaurant’s popular early-bird specials.
“We hope to introduce some new specials,” he said. “But most of the favorites everyone likes will still be there.”
Goss moved back to the Felton area from Reno on Wednesday, Aug. 29, and planned to begin work on the restaurant Friday, Aug. 31.
He and Church intend to give the place a deep cleaning before welcoming customers the following afternoon.
“It just needs a little refreshing here and there,” Goss said. “It’ll be a long night, but we’ll be ready for work at 4 o’clock.”
The restaurant’s hours will remain unchanged — 4 to 9 p.m. daily — for now, but Goss and Church have plans to introduce a lunch menu and weekend lunch hours in the coming months.
“I can’t wait for Saturday to hit the ground running,” Church said, “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to work in the SLV area.”
Mama Mia’s is in the Felton Faire Shopping Center at 6231 Graham Hill Road.
For information: www.mamamias.com.