I knew we were in trouble when the appetizer came to the table and it was the size of a pizza. Actually, it was a pizza.
Joe Momma's, the brainchild of Blake Ewing, has dubbed the dish pesto bread. This is a seriously big piece of great, crusty pizza dough with a fabulous pesto and melted mozzarella. Really awesome! We finally pushed it away to save room for the two 10-inch pies we ordered. I had wavered over the Momma's wings, offered in varying degrees of hotness: Sriracha hot sauce, wasabi, hot, inferno and judgment day, but as anybody who's ever read me before knows, we call my wife "macaroni mouth" and I couldn't bear to have her sit there and watch me eat. Other apps include a Marshall Mushrooms, button mushrooms dipped in a Marshall's beer batter, fried pickles, Baja chicken nachos, loaded potato wedges and more.
It's pretty obvious that Blake Ewing loves his city and is a very Tulsa minded -- not to mention very downtown-minded young guy.
The restaurant is very cool, an artful blend of modern and classic industrial chic. As you enter and pass under a huge movie marquee, which announces "Amazing Brick Oven Pizza and Live Music," you get the feel of an old theater.
You immediately see a huge brick oven and pizza "staging area," which includes several young guys throwing crusts and building pies. Looking down the narrow dining room, you are struck by the modern architecture evident on the right side of the room, including another marquee-type overhang that covers the bar and serving area.
Contrast that with the powerful, straight brick wall and large garage door that present an obvious throwback to the building's history.
A part of one wall in the small front waiting area, as well as all the walls in the stage area, are covered with old record album sleeves. It was really fun to see how many I recognized, or more accurately, how many I remembered. You know the saying: if you can remember the 60s, you weren't really there.
The place was jammin' on a recent Friday night, and as we entered and sat down, there was a group of great looking musicians warming up for the live music portion of the evening. The band turned out to be a local group called The Zuits -- which featured brightly colored zoot suits, a brass section, upright bass, mellow rhythm guitar and drums -- along with a beautiful young singer with a sweet voice. They were very entertaining and talented, so check them out if you get the chance.
If you are at Joe Momma's for wood-fired pizza, you need go no further than the menu's pie page. They have some great concoctions like The Betty White: a white pizza with alfredo sauce, fresh mozzarella and a few other ingredients; The Brotherly Love: everything you'd get on a Philly steak sandwich, or the Natalie Portman, which is comprised of red sauce, several cheeses and tons of vegetables. It's sort of the ultimate vegetarian pizza, and as we all know, Natalie is a veggie. Actually all the specialty pies that cater to non-carnivores are marked with a star for easy menu cruising.
My wife's order came out incorrectly, or differently, let's say. I had ordered her the Momma-rita, a classic margarita pie with olive oil, fresh mozzarella, basil, garlic and roma tomatoes. No surprise that with the level of noise in there, our server heard Greeka instead of Rita, so she received a great looking pie with huge chunks of feta, artichoke heart, peppers and mozzarella. It was very good but not what she had hoped for. The young server very graciously offered to replace it with whatever we wanted. No problem, it was a good pie, and there was still 27 pounds of pesto bread on the table.
I ordered the T-Rex, and for some reason it didn't have the vegetarian star of approval next to it. Maybe it was the pepperoni, Italian sausage, andouille, salami, bacon, ham and cheddar on it. That explains why they didn't call it the Natalie.
If you can't find a combination from the page of specialty pies, you can always build your own from a big list of options. Everything comes in a 10, 12 or 14-inch variety, and the 10 is available as a gluten-free option as well. They are all pretty much priced at $13, $17 and $20, respectively, except the T-Rex which is slightly higher, probably to help cover the cost of the EMSA ride to the Heart Hospital.
Not in the mood for pizza? There is a huge selection of creative sandwiches and wraps, some very nice looking entrée salads we saw served at the next table, a section of calzone and a section of baked pastas. There's something for any diner out for a casual, tasty and fun evening. Aside from the calzone that come in three sizes, the highest price on the entire page was $8. You won't break the bank here.
The restaurant was packed with families, although not too many were there with really young children. The rest of the patrons were sitting, talking, listening to music and generally having a great evening.
We decided a few prerequisites for working at Joe Momma's: an unnatural hair color; at least three piercings and 25 percent of your skin covered in ink. Everyone who worked there was hip, young, very customer service-oriented person and full of hustle and a willingness to take care of diners. These kids do a great job and it was obvious that a lot of care goes into picking the right staff.
Must Crust. If you are at Joe Momma’s for wood-fired pizza, you
need go no further than the menu’s pie page. They have some great
concoctions like The Betty White: a white pizza with alfredo sauce,
fresh mozzarella and a few other ingredients.
We had very professional service by a nice young lady who looked a lot like Rosie the Riveter, right down to the bandana wrapped around what she admitted was a "bad hair day." A perfect fit for a really fun, cool experience.
Joe Momma's has a very cool website with tons of info on it, including an interactive map of where to park in downtown Tulsa, links to events in the downtown area and a blog by Ewing that gives you a good idea of his ethos and why you should support him, aside from the fact that he owns a really great restaurant. And look for his new spot, BBQ and Blues, opening this spring in the downtown area. It promises to be as good as the Joe Momma's and South Tulsa's Momma's Express, 10309 E. 61st St., and provide one more good reason to go downtown.
112 S. Elgin
Mon -- Thurs 11am--midnight
Fri and Sat 11am-3am
Share this article: