LUDLOW, Vt. – If you’ve lived in or around Ludlow for a long time, you may remember Mama Valente’s Italian restaurant on 190 Main Street. Now, Abby and Rogan Lechthaler, owners of The Downtown Grocer, are preparing to open Mama’s in the same space for Columbus Day weekend.
“There was so much nostalgia around Mama Valenti and the warmth that she had,” explained Abby Lechthaler. “Everybody has a story about who they used to come here with and what they love to eat.” As homage to Mama Valente, the owners have refurbished the red booths from the original restaurant. During renovations, they even found a stack of old Italian records in the basement, which they plan to have framed and displayed in the bathrooms.
“It’s been really cool to figure out how everything is going to come together because there are a lot of elements,” she discussed while showcasing all the new pieces. From the lighting to the bathroom doors, which have come together to finish the dining room space.
Renovating Mama’s has been a labor of love. For the last year, the Lechthalers have been adding a new roof, plumbing, and flooring, as well as refurbishing and giving the space an edgy, fresh look. They’ve learned a lot about building a restaurant from the inside out, but Rogan Lechthaler admitted, “We’re looking forward to opening the doors and doing what we know better.”
Lechthaler has prepared a menu that includes both classic, approachable Italian favorites with a few of his own takes. Their own family dinners, especially pasta nights with their two kids, provided the inspiration for Mama’s. “At the same time, we were feeding our family and enjoying all of these classic Italian dishes, all these Italian places in town left,” he said. “This is the kind of meal we love to eat outside of going out for some fine dining here and there.”
In addition to a family-friendly dinner experience, Mama’s will have lunch and takeaway meals starting at 11 a.m. until late afternoon. For someone with a 30 minute lunch break, they’d be able to walk in and order a warm meal to take back to the office or enjoy out in the sun. Lunch will also include soup, salads, wine and beer, and hot prepared meals. Meanwhile, a display case will hold house-made pastas, cheese, and cured meats. For customers looking to bring home an easy to make dinner, Mama’s will have the pasta and the sauce to purchase and all they need to do is go home and boil the water.
As for dinner, Lechthaler explained, “If you want to bring the whole family out or just go out for some red wine and pasta and have a nice affordable meal, then come see us over here.”