A longtime pizzeria in Deep Ellum has closed: Mama Mias Italian, which held court on the far eastern edge of Deep Ellum at 2935 Elm St. closed on Sunday after 18 years.
Owner Anselmo Manzanares announced the closure with a note on the restaurant's Facebook page, partially blaming the pandemic.
"After 18 years in business we feel it is in our best interest to close down," he said. "These last few years have been a rough ride to say the least but it just made our decision that much easier."
Mama Mias opened in 2004 during a time when Deep Ellum was close to its low point in terms of activity, long before the neighborhood became the juggernaut it is today, and also long before any other pizzeria had opened in the neighborhood. (Cane Rosso did not open until 2011.)
Deep Ellum enjoyed a real pizza explosion in the mid 2010s, with half a dozen pizzerias opening around that time. The only survivors from that era are Cane Rosso and Serious Pizza, which opened right up the street from Mama Mias in 2016.
Mama Mias' location at the corner of Walton Street was out of the center of the Deep Ellum action, on the other side of Malcolm X Boulevard, but it served residents who lived in loft buildings nearby such as Deep Ellum Lofts, as well as the sizable Baylor medical community.
In addition to pizza, Mama Mias also served sub sandwiches, stromboli & calzone, and pastas such as spaghetti & meatballs and blackened chicken pasta. The place was a bit of a dive, service was not particularly doting, and the pizza was mostly just-OK. But they kept long hours and became part of the community, with donations to schools and the like.
Like most restaurants, Mama Mias was greatly impacted by the pandemic, and in the aftermath, had trouble attracting sufficient staff.
But Anselmo's wife Marisol said they were also just tired and wanted to dedicate more time to their family. She called it "a bittersweet moment."
Manzanares' family owns the property and will lease the space out to interested tenants. Meanwhile, Anselmo said they may do an occasional pop-up, and thanked customers, as well as "employees that stuck with us throughout the ups & down of this roller-coaster of a business."