Restaurant Owner wanted to be
a part of revitalizing New Orleans East
The name might seem like a bit long—Ma Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken & Waffles. But every word has purpose, says owner Earl Mackie
Let’s start with the last two. New Orleans is a city known for all sorts of signature dishes; and, well, chicken and waffles is not one. But Mackie wanted to bring focus to the pairing in the Big Easy. If someone is looking for good chicken and waffles, which is a favorite in cities like Atlanta and along the east and west coasts, in New Orleans, he wants them to think of Ma Momma’s House. Still, the restaurant owner says he also wants customers to know there is more to the menu. From greens to red beans to spaghetti and of course seafood dishes, you can get it at the eatery.
“And of course cornbread goes with all of that,” Mackie says.
Now for the first three words. There’s a real personal sentiment behind them. Mackie says when he and his wife and business partner Nicole Mackie first marriage, in fact for about the first 10 years of his marriage; they often enjoyed daily meals prepared by his mother at her home. So quite often when Mackie would get a call from anyone inquiring where he was at, where he was going or from where he was coming, the answer was almost always . . . “ma momma’s house.”
About that personal feeling—you get it as soon as you walk through the doors—uncomplicated décor, retro episodes of hit shows playing on the television, family photos all over the walls, and real friendly service.
“You’re at home by your momma’s,” says Mackie, who in addition to his wife, runs the restaurant with his sister-in-law Renee Guzman.
“They pretty much run it day to day,” he says. “I am the running man. If they need me to do something or get something, I run out and get it.”
Mackie says he and his wife chose the East because more restaurants were needed in the area.
“After Katrina, the national chains that were here refused to come back,” he says. “They sat back and waited to see what would happen and they are still waiting. But we put our feet in the ground and our flag in the mud and (opened our business) in a growing community. As the New Orleans East continues to come back, we want to be a part of that.”
Ma Momma’s House has five employees (not counting the Mackies and Guzman), and all of the employees live in New Orleans East, Mackie says.
Since opening last year in February, Mackie says business has been good, especially with tourists who have ventured from downtown, Canal Street and the French Quarter to visit neighborhoods throughout New Orleans. On the weekends, breakfast and brunch crowds are big winners for the restaurant. And daily catering contracts help keep things rolling while Ma Momma’s House builds its profile in its New Orleans East location.
As for my visit, my server let me know that if I liked the Ma Momma’s House Facebook page, I would get a free order of beignets. And I did. She had the cook drop my beignets as I used my smartphone to find the restaurant on Facebook. They were a treat. Now, here’s the part where I would like tell readers how other menu items tasted. Unfortunately, I cannot. Perhaps this will help. A friend who visited with me got an order of cornbread, yes, just cornbread; and he wolfed down without offering me a morsel. My chicken and waffles were ordered to go to bring home to my teenage daughter for dinner, but before I could ask her if I could have a bite, they were gone too.
So I guess you will just have to visit the diner for yourself. And don’t worry if chicken and waffles aren’t your thing, the menu also features catfish, shrimp, red beans and rice, mustard greens, onion rings, fried okra, pork chops, various burgers and sandwiches, along with a complete breakfast menu. There is also a lighter side menu that features chicken, shrimp and fish options grilled and served with vegetables or salad.
For now, Ma Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken & Waffles, located at 5741 Crowder Blvd., is open Thursday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays and Mondays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.