On paper, it may seem a bit odd that a restaurant like Mama’s on 39, which serves comfort food and emphasizes generous portions, is able to thrive less than a mile away from the sandy shores of the beach.
And yet, it takes just a bite or two from any one of the nearly 100 different menu options to understand why it isn’t so surprising after all.
Though the most popular items on the menu are the Chicken and Waffles ($15.50) and Inferno Chicken Sandwich ($12.39), Mama’s on 39 boasts tasty and filling choices for practically every type of person.
In fact, upon entering the restaurant, all one has to do is look to the wall of photos to understand the breadth of the customer base it draws. Although the pictures only consist of mothers–as every customer is welcome to add a photo of their “mama”–the appeal is undeniable.
While the star of the appetizer offerings is “Patsy’s Pulled Pork Pan Nachos”, which can be ordered by the pan size, other selections such as the Irish Tater Tots ($10.39), Ahi Poke ($15.95) and Street Tacos ($3 each) make up an impressive list of munchies that will help ease a table full of growling bellies waiting for the main plates to arrive.
The Burgers and the Sandwiches, or “Sam-Wiches” as the Mama refers to them, both include your choice of bottomless garlic parmesan fries or homemade potato chips. A refreshing twist that the kitchen brings to its burgers is the bread the patties come served on. Instead of a traditional wheat or white bread bun, the Choice beef is placed between a pair of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Buns.
On the backside of Mama’s menu, guests are confronted with several dozen breakfast choices served all-day, every day. In addition to the Chicken and Waffles, a local favorite, popular breakfast options range from Becky’s Sunrise Crisps ($13.39; chicken, avocado, black beans, cheese pico de gallo on top of two crispy achiote tostadas plus two over-medium eggs) to the Green Eggs ‘n Ham Scramble ($13.39; scrambled eggs, smoked ham, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, pesto, a bacon biscuit and sliced avocado).
A creative blend of daily specials adds another attractive quality about Mama’s on 39 as well.
Guests who choose to visit on the weekend can receive 20 percent of all food until 11 a.m. — if you come dressed in your pajamas. Meanwhile, on Tuesdays, a Mama’s Burger and a PBR Draft will cost you just $7.99. Martini lovers would best be served stopping by on a Monday, as all Chopin Martinis are offered at a discounted rate of $5. Nevertheless, Happy Hour is available at Mama’s bar every day during the week until 7 p.m.
The restaurant also holds the unique distinction of offering eight flavors of Thrifty Ice Cream for dessert, providing a sweet conclusion to your dinner at Mama’s on 39.
During my visit on a Thursday night, I was immediately taken by the size of
not only the food but the restaurant itself, which can seat up to 250 people. Although nearly every seat on the outdoor patio was taken and a considerable amount of tables inside were already occupied, I was guided to my own seat with no wait at all.
The atmosphere inside was laid-back and loose, with television sets hanging from practically every angle for guests to kick back and enjoy a game. An open-kitchen design was a refreshing sight to see too.
I decided to try the Boston BBQ Burger ($12.39) with a side of garlic parmesan fries as well as a bite of Mama’s Chicken Club Sandwich ($14.39).
The quality of the Choice Beef was undoubtedly the highlight of the burger, having no trace of the dry, flavorless patties often found in other restaurants. The concoction of juicy flavors from the smoked bacon, crispy onions, white cheddar and homemade barbecue sauce was further enhanced by the sweetness of the Hawaiian buns.
Oh, and the garlic parmesan fries? Well, they were so enjoyable that I went ahead and asked for another serving. After all, the fries are always bottomless, regardless of whether or not you ordered a main dish.
As for the chicken club sandwich, the most impressive aspect was as expected — the buttermilk fried chicken itself. However, the roasted garlic aioli also added a nice kick as well.
With an enormous menu, quality comfort food and an enjoyable atmosphere, Mama’s on 39 offers a little bit of everything, and does so in convincing fashion.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, visit mamason39.com.
Mama’s on 39
21022 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92648