To be bored at Mama G’s, you must be hard to please.
Situated on an enormous lot at the corner of Hennepin County Rds. 101 and 30 in Maple Grove, the venerable bar and grill has games galore. From hosting around 400 people in sand volleyball leagues to pool tables, dart boards, shuffleboard, foosball, bean bag toss, basketball and more, Mama G’s aims to keep patrons entertained.
That’s not to say, though, that only games have kept people flocking to Mama G’s for decades. The small bar food menu is straightforward but solid, and the outdoor tiki bar and grill, with separate food menu, complements the original bar inside nicely. The menu is straight-up bar food, with appetizers like wings, quesadillas and nachos alongside a flatbread pizza, and entrees of sandwiches, burgers, wraps and pizzas, which owner Greg Olsen said Mama G’s was probably best-known for.
On a recent visit, Olsen’s recommended flatbread pizza topped with kalamata olives and artichoke hearts made a terrific lunch. The cheese was high-quality and well-proportioned, and not at all greasy. The crust was crispy but still slightly flaky, and held a nice char. With a light coating of white sauce and not-too-salty olives alongside the artichoke hearts, it was entirely enjoyable.
During outdoor volleyball nights, Mama G’s opens its tiki bar and grills a separate menu: wings, steak sandwich, pork chops on a stick, and several burgers, including a portabella burger and one with the aforementioned artichoke hearts and olives. The steak sandwich at $9 is the most expensive, with all others in the $7 range. The indoor menu, too, is entirely affordable, with only the ribs and large pizza topping out at over $8.
Olsen said the volleyball leagues, combined with affordable food and drink, had kept Mama G’s popular over the years and built it into a Maple Grove landmark. And, as the giant overflow parking space in a field proves, there are nights when Mama G’s is truly hopping with volleyball players and their families.
Olsen also said that, pending the resolution of some infrastructure hurdles regarding expanded water service, Mama G’s could build a bigger facility that would expand the menu into a full restaurant. The changes could be coming sooner rather than later, in the next couple of years.
But Mama G’s regulars probably shouldn’t worry about change ruining their favorite spot. Olsen will stick with what’s been working.
“I don’t know of too many other places that have been there standing for 42 years, you know?” he said. “Not the same name, probably nothing in Maple Grove.”