Mamas’ Family/Welcome Home Hagerstown Diners
by Nathan Oravec
Every home-place has one. An early bird eatery that has been serving up home-style meals simply and with a smile for so long, it seems as though the town may have been built around it. Here, regulars gather daily for coffee and pumpkin bread; chipped beef gravy is served up fresh every morning where breakfast is a social event; and slippery pot pie is as American as mom’s apple, which if you want, they have too.
Hagerstown, welcome back to Mamas’.
A “ma and ma” dinette, Mamas’ was named for its founding mothers, Dottie Haupt and Mono Jo Hardman, who launched the business way back when. “I’m telling my age,” laughs Manager Joy Beard, Haupt’s daughter, “but I’ve been with them for twenty-two years.” As a junior in high school, Beard began as a waitress when the business operated as the View Street Restaurant, two years prior to moving to its current location at 310 Frederick Street. Beard’s mother and Hardman had previously worked together when they “got their heads together” and made the decision to open a restaurant of their own.
It is estimated that the little restaurant on Frederick Street has operated continuously for over 50 years, having been built and previously operated under different ownership prior to its purchase by mamas Haupt and Hardman. It is widely hoped by its regular and devoted customers that it will continue to thrive for another 50. Because, despite the rise of countless large chains and franchise restaurants throughout the county, there is just something about it that keeps them coming back.
“It’s the home-cooked food,” offers Beard. “Like our slippery pot pie. All of the clubs and big restaurants are offering it now, but ask if it’s actually been rolled by a person - we actually roll our own. And I’d say three fourths of our cakes and pies are made from scratch.” In addition, special requests are met with a can-do attitude: as long as Beard and company have the goods necessary, “we’ll do our best to make [whatever you’d like.]”
Recently, Mamas’ received a complete overhaul, closing down for ten days - from Christmas through New Years - for remodeling. The counter and barstools were removed and the interior was completely repainted - in an effort to make Mamas’ lighter, brighter and even more welcoming, while a long-forgotten centerpiece was also unveiled. “Our fireplace,” exclaims Beard. “No one ever knew that it existed. It looks absolutely gorgeous now.”
While the home-cooked meals - the signature tastes of Mamas’ - remained the same, emphasis was placed on further freshness, incorporating more baked goods, including homemade fudge and candy and various baked breads.
The most popular dish at Mamas’, notes Beard, is the slippery pot pie, followed closely by Hog Maw, a regional and seasonal favorite - hog stomach stuffed with diced potatoes, sausage, onions, cabbage, salt and pepper. “It’s a very expensive thing to make,” she explains, and is only offered during the winter.
Although Hog Maw fans will have to wait another year for their staple, it is certain that Beard, and the rest of the team at Mamas’ will fill the void left in its wake with other goodies throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Takeout orders also comprise a large part of the business, and the restaurant has recently started to do local delivery, within a limited area. With a staff of fifteen, Mamas’ is a large draw for families, says Beard, as well as seniors who have been dining there since it first opened its doors for business.
“We have six of them here at six every morning who have been coming since the day we opened.”
Residents Roland Ricker, Sr. and his wife, Betty, have been eating at Mamas’ for over twenty years.
“I like the pot pie!” says Roland, seated for yet another lunch at the restaurant.
“It’s a nice place,” says Betty. “The food is very good. We just enjoy being here. It’s close to home.”
Close to home. That sounds just about right.
Hours for Mamas’, 310 Frederick Street in Hagerstown, are Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Seniors receive 10% off every Monday-Saturday from 2-4 p.m. For more information, call 301-790-3040.