Business, Local News

Mama & Me Pizzeria is closing as the owner retires

Mama & Me Pizzeria, a pizza restaurant in downtown Homewood, is closing permanently on Friday, Aug. 26. The restaurant is known for its inexpensive, Chicago-style thin crust and live music on Friday nights. 

Owner Kim Phillipos choked up as she described her retirement as “bittersweet,” and said she wants to thank the community she has served for 32 years. 

Kim Phillipos

Phillipos said she opened Mama & Me in 1990 with her mother as co-owner — hence the name, Mama & Me. She said that after being open for a few years, she began running the restaurant by herself. Phillipos said the restaurant’s name alludes to it being somewhere to share a pizza with “mama and me.”

“My meatballs are homemade. We make our pizza dough every morning. We make our pizza sauce every morning. Our spaghetti sauce is made every week,” Phillipos said, adding that she “never wanted to shortcut” or “cut corners” in how the food was made. 

Phillipos described the pizza at Mama & Me’s pizza as “good pizza for not a big price.”

Phillipos said she bought the building at 18219 Dixie Highway about 20 years ago, and moved Mama & Me from the spot where Burrito Express is today. Shortly afterward, Phillipos said, the restaurant started hosting live music on Friday nights. 

The musical performances at Mama & Me have included an in-house band called the Boppers, the H-F High School Choir, musical students from nearby Melody Mart and bands made up of local teenagers and other local musicians. The live music was usually performed inside but during the pandemic, Phillipos said bands performed at a tent she set up outside. 

“I’m a very avid music person so I try to promote music in the town – somewhere the kids could play that was safe, somewhere their parents and grandparents could come,” Phillipos said. “If you got a song in your heart, you should sing it.”

David Drejas, the guitarist and vocalist for the band OUTDrejas, said one of his band’s first shows was at Mama & Me.

“You also let us record scenes of our music video there,” Drejas said on Mama and Me’s Facebook post about Phillipos retiring. “Thank you for being so supportive of my band and giving us a safe space to learn how to perform.”

Londyl Dabbs, a 27-year-old H-F graduate, said that when he was in high school, he’d go to Mama & Me every Friday night to see the live music.

“I would go see Dream Drop Distance, Jolly Metal Giants, the list goes on. Mama & Me also helped me meet new friends and socialize more,” Dabbs said. “I’m sad to see Mama & Me go. I wish the owner the best of luck with retirement.”

Phillipos said she sold the building but not the business. With her kids now in high school, she thought it was a good time to retire.

“After 32 years of working nights, days and holidays, I’m ready to spend it with my family,” Phillipos said. “I love this town. […] It’s very bittersweet because I will miss every single customer.”

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