Southern cooking, soul food, wood smoked barbecue, in California's "Gold Country?" Yes, it's a reality in Columbia, CA, now that Mama B's Southern Cookhouse has opened shop on Broadway Street, just across Parrotts Ferry Road from the historic downtown.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: Mama B's Southern Cookhouse is located in a wood frame, vintage house, in Columbia, CA, just across Broadway Street, a.k.a. Parrotts Ferry Road, from Columbia State Park, and the 1850-era gold rush buildings that still stand in downtown Columbia.
Mama B's offers many dining options, including inside the main dining room, outside on the shady porch, or on a table, outside in the yard, under a shade tree. I definitely am a fan of outdoor dining, as food always seems to taste better outdoors.
It's just after noon on July 04, 2019, and I'm headed over to Mama B's to enjoy a great lunch. As of today, Mama B's is one of the newer restaurants in the greater Sonora area, as they just opened their doors in May of this year, a scant six weeks ago.
Photo: The restaurant is located inside a small, 1860's era wood-framed house, and the main dining room is in what used to be the living room of the house. The kitchen of the "house" is the kitchen for the restaurant... which works perfectly.
The dining room is quite compact, and in keeping with Columbia, is very rustic in nature. The diners are locals, who are dressed in period clothes, as they celebrate the holiday in nearby downtown Columbia.
Photo: Like any fine restaurant that serves barbecue, Mama B's is very informal, as the staff is very friendly, and encourage diners to "sit a spell" and make themselves at home.
The couple have just walked into the restaurant, and are chatting with "Mama B," in the center of the photo, who, along with her husband Robert, is a co-owner of the restaurant. Friendly Nicholette, who is the server on duty today, is to the right of the photo. Note the menu on the wall, to the left of "Mama B."
Photo: The menu is posted on the wall by the order counter. The menu is very flexible, and it changes daily, so it's always dynamic and never boring. I was disappointed the smokers weren't fired-up today, but when all else fails, a cheeseburger and fries are always welcome. Note today you have five sides to choose from. Choices... choices... and more choices. How could I resist the lure of deep fried fries?
There are no printed menus at Mama B's Southern Cookhouse, so you make your selection from the ever-changing menu, located next to the order counter. You make your selection, and then you choose where you want to dine, as "informal" is the word at this fine restaurant. As a courtesy, I let my server know that I was dining outside, on the porch, so she wouldn't have to look for me when my meal was ready.
Photo: The co-owner of the restaurant, and chef Robert, puts the finishing touches on an order, that Nicholette is ready to serve to a customer. The kitchen of the restaurant is actually located in the kitchen of the former "house," and I basically took a peek through an open door and snapped a photo of the friendly staff in action.
Photo: The two wood-fired smokers are in the back yard, just outside the kitchen. Mama B's uses oak, which is native to the Sierra Nevada foothills, and grows everywher in Columbia. I was disappointed that the smokers weren't in use today, as I was in the mood for barbecue, but after enjoying my cheeseburger today, all concerns about barbecue vanished.
Photo: After I placed my order, I picked out a vacant table outside, on the porch, facing Broadway Street. As I waited for my order to arrive, I was treated to holiday activity at historic Columbia.
My wait for lunch wasn't long, as my cheeseburger and ries arrived about 20 minutes after placing my order.
Photo: Meet my amazingly friendly server, Nicholette P, also know known as "Nicho," as she delivers my cheeseburger, fries, and a cup of ice water to me with a friendly smile. Nicho and I exchanged many "messages" before I payed a vist to Mama B's, and she provided lots of information to me, to help me publish this article accurately.
Thanks, Nicho, as you're basically a "co-author" of this article.
Photo: I'm grinning as Nicholette snaps my photo, as I know that I'm in store for a delicious lunch. Ketchup and mustard are the condiments offered - many more are available - but the burger is so delicious it really doesn't require any other "enhancements."
OK, I confess that I did put some mustard on my bun, and squirted some ketchup on my plate to dip my fries into.
Photo: How could I not resist ordering the "Cheeseburger," along with a side of fries? After all, it's the Fourth of July, and the only thing that could be more patriotic than my cheeseburger would be a hot dog.
The "Cheeseburger," along with the fries, made for an amazing lunch! The meat patty was BIG... I'm guessing one-third pound, and perfectly grilled, medium-medium. It's interesting that I didn't asked Nicho how my burger was to be cooked... I was overjoyed when my burger arrived perfectly cooked, and cooked exactly the way I like my burger. I guess "Chef Robert" must have read my mind!
The meat is placed on a large, sesame seed bun, that's so fresh that you can actually smell the freshness. Shredded lettuce, diced red onion, tomato slices, along with dill pickle slices are included, to add "crunch" and vegetable "goodness" to the delicious burger. Since I ordered the "Cheeseburger," my burger came with a large slab of Cheddar cheese that was melted perfectly on the burger, and not only added to the beautiful presentation, but added to the total taste sensation as well. I suspect the chef placed the cheese slice on top of the meat, a minute or so before he removed it from the grill, which is the mark of a chef who knows his "business..."
You bite in and you can taste all of the goodness... Talk about a symphony of tastes that work together to make for a delicious cheeseburger! I could actually eat this burger with one hand, as everything stayed together, so I could pop a fry in my mouth with one hand, while holding the burger in the other hand. Cheeseburger serendipity!
My cheeseburger and fries were simply delicious! I enjoyed my wonderful meal, and I enjoyed eating my meal outside on the shady porch, as I was able to watch the Fourth of July festivities, while munching on a delicious cheeseburger and fries. If you're a fan of "Southern Cooking," do yourself a favor and visit Mama B's Southern Cookhouse, located in historic Columbia, CA.
Mama B's Southern Cookhouse
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