John Shearer: Sights And Sounds Of Mom’s Italian Villa In Final Week

Friday, November 6, 2015 - by John Shearer

On Thursday night, on its next-to-last day of operation, Mom’s Italian Villa at 1257 Market St. was abuzz with activity.

The entire staff – which included owner Randy Shuford, wife Allyson, son Chris and several others – were busily preparing food or taking care of diners, while a few other customers were patiently waiting outside on the benches for a table to open.

In a somewhat unprecedented scene, the restaurant has been serving overflow crowds all week, since the larger community of Chattanooga became aware it was closing.

In most cases, restaurants consider themselves fortunate and blessed if they get a big crowd just for their final day.

But with a long and unique history, a unique-tasting offering of foods, and an equally unique and cozy dining room atmosphere, Mom’s has found a large and loyal following over the years.

And many of those longtime diners just wanted to come back and formally say goodbye or taste one last time such favorite dishes as the pizza, the muffuletta sandwich, the spaghetti with the spicy sauce, the mouth-watering Italian bread, the antipasto salad, or the chocolate mousse pie.

Many of them have been coming there since Randy Shuford’s grandmother -- Ollie Parker, the original Mom – began offering Italian fare more than 40 years ago after already having been in the restaurant business since the early 1960s.

The demand has been so great this week that Allyson Shuford said she had to drive down to Bessemer, Ala., early Thursday to get some more pizza supplies to last through the week.

Randy Shuford said the support has been overwhelming and appreciated. Having to work long hours over the years in addition to developing a career as a college and high school football official made him realize the time had come to take a break, he said.

He has sold the building and hopes to catch his breath, be a grandfather, and be more available for his parents, former Hamilton County Commissioner George and Dot Shuford, he said.

But this week he has been admittedly sleeping only about four hours a night while taking care of everything in what has turned into a Mom’s Italian Villa homecoming.

To hear Randy Shuford discuss the big crowds this week, listen here.

To hear longtime customers Dr. Fred, Martha and Will Whitmire discuss their memories of eating at Mom’s Italian Villa, listen here.

To hear Martha Whitmire discuss her sadness over the restaurant’s closing, listen here.

Jcshearer2@comcast.net

 

 

 



Dunkin' Donuts Removes Artificial Dyes From Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is kicking off 2018 with news declaring donuts now sold at restaurants nationwide are no longer being made using colors from artificial sources. As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to offer guests great-tasting, high-quality products and cleaner menu labels, Dunkin’ Brands Group, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, previously pledged ... (click for more)

Chick-fil-A To Officially Break Ground For East Ridge Restaurant

Chick-fil-A’s Tennessee expansion continues with a groundbreaking event soon at the site of its new East Ridge restaurant, the second of six locations the chain expects to open in Tennessee this year. It will be near the Bass Pro Shop. Chick-fil-A representatives will join community leaders at the site of the chain’s East Ridge location at  639 Camp Jordan Parkway at Jordan ... (click for more)

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, Shot Early Sunday Morning On Lillian Lane

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, were shot early Sunday morning.   Chattanooga Police were notified at 4:39 a.m. of two people arriving at a local hospital with gunshot wounds. Upon arrival, police spoke with the two victims who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The victims arrived at the hospital via personal vehicle.   ... (click for more)

2 Top Officials Leave Administration Of Sheriff Eric Watson

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson on Sunday announced the resignations of Chief Deputy Brian Smith and Director of Administrations Arnold Botts. He said they "served with distinction for the past four years." The Sheriff's Office said, "Smith notified Sheriff Watson that he is exploring business opportunities in the private sector, while Botts mentioned the timing was right ... (click for more)

DACA Or Amnesty To Become The Majority?

As we have the political drama that we see in D.C. let’s be honest about what DACA is all about. We understand as the liberal policies of abortion, dependency on the government and an anti-American globalist / progressive agenda that many have come to realize these policies no longer represent their core beliefs and have left a certain party. Without an influx of new dependency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What’s The ‘Super’ Done?

The headline on Jan. 10 in the Times Free Press read, “Report shows Hamilton County students still lagging behind Tennessee peers.” In smaller type underneath, the sub-head added, “Less than 33 percent of county elementary, middle school students read at grade level.” Then, just seven days later, this on Friday, the same newspaper bannered, “Hamilton County Schools superintendent ... (click for more)