Mom's Italian Villa – “Where’s The Beef?”

Friday, October 18, 2013 - by Willie Mae
Mom's Italian Villa on Market Street
Mom's Italian Villa on Market Street

It was a beautiful day when I decided to do some walking downtown. I wanted to find a restaurant that I might have missed when I drive.  I came upon a place at 1257 Market St. called Mom’s Italian Villa.

I was sort of hankering for a good slice of pizza, but I wanted to see what all they offered. It was mid-day so I didn’t expect a lunch crowd, but there was absolutely nobody in the place - just workers who were sitting down watching television. The television looked outdated and the wall it was up against was laden with old 8x10 family photos. It made the place seem homey and old fashioned.

When I grabbed a menu from the counter and sat down, I saw a sign that said “cash or check only”. It was a good thing I had cash. I didn’t see pizza by the slice so I wasn’t sure if it was offered and decided on a meatball sub for $4.25. When I asked the waitress what came with it, she said ‘nothing’ but that I could add a side salad if I wanted.

Well, I trusted that since a side was not offered with the sub, that it would most likely be a large sandwich and no one would need a side. I was right.

When a gentleman came from the kitchen bringing my sandwich, it was two halves of what I would think would be an eight-inch sub.

Just then, a customer came in the door to pick up a pizza to go. I sort of wished I had asked about the pizza. I thought if they ordered it to go, they must have tried them before and they were probably pretty good.

My sub was toasted, but the bread was still soft and fresh. I think I liked the bread well enough to eat it by itself!

The meatballs were sliced in halves and they lay flat on the bread so they didn’t roll off. I thought that was a good idea.

There wasn’t anything fancy about the meatball sub – it had marinara sauce and a little cheese … (what I assumed was mozzarella) but when I ate the first bite, I noticed a ‘bite’ in the bite! I couldn’t tell if the meatballs were spicy or if it was a kick in the sauce, but it made the sandwich more interesting.

I noticed that the staff didn’t look Italian so I wasn’t sure how “Mom’s” came to be. When I got home, I looked it up and found that they have been in business since 1962. I had never seen them there or if I had, maybe I missed them (I had lived in Mobile for years before moving back to Chattanooga and have missed a lot). The original owner was “Mom” but now the grandson runs the place.

I wonder how many meatballs Mom would have put on my sub. When I ate the first half, I was already satisfied, but the flavor was so good I went ahead and took a bite of the second half. The sub felt flat and I opened the bread to see …no more meatballs.

Though the bread was delicious, I decided that I didn’t need to eat the rest of my sub of just bread and sauce. Halving the meatballs was a good idea to save people from losing them off their sandwich, but I thought it needed more halves and I wanted to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

I don’t hold that against them since I came so late in the day – it may have been the last of the meatballs.

Mom’s was a cute little place and I enjoyed my visit.


11:00 am - 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Fri: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Sat: 12:30 pm - 9:00 pm 

Meatball Sub
Meatball Sub

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