Serving traditional Italian cuisine to the Milford community for over 34 years, brothers Franco and Sal Laragione continue the legacy of their father as they celebrate 28 years at Mama Maria Restaurant & Bar. Located at 644 N Dupont Highway in the Milford Plaza, Mama Maria is far from your ordinary pizza place, serving homemade pasta, pizza, sandwiches and traditional Italian dishes including poultry, veal, beef and seafood.
Owner of Mama Maria, Franco Laragione remembers working with his father Giuseppe at the family’s restaurant Attilio’s Pizza in Milford, which was established in 1979, at the age of thirteen. Working his way up the business as he started washing dishes and cleaning, Franco remembers fondly the time his father built him a wooden box to reach the ovens where the pizzas would bake. Teaching his sons how to make dough and prepare Italian courses as they grew older, Giuseppe also made sure to instill his own business etiquette into the boys.
“My father always stressed to lead by example, just because you’re the owner does not mean you cannot sweep the floors,” commented Franco. “I remember he also taught us to always pay the bills before you take any money home.”
As Attilio’s operated in the Milford Plaza, Mama Maria opened their doors for the first time across the street in the Milford Village on the other side of Dupont Highway. In 1993 an additional location was opened in Dewey Beach in Southern Delaware and in 1996 Mama Maria was consolidated with Attilio’s back to the original Milford Plaza site, honoring Giuseppe’s mother through its name.
In 2000 Franco attended the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and studied at the restaurant Galileo under Master Chef Roberto Donna. Under Donna, Franco cooked for several celebrities including Michael Jordan as he leaned how to modernize his skills while respecting the traditional Italian art of cooking. Upon Franco’s return, Mama Maria Restaurant & Bar became more than an ordinary pizza place as he began cooking traditional and modern Italian dished such as Seven Fishes, Chilean Sea Bass, Mahi Mahi, New York Strip, Lamb, Veal, Chicken and Pork, all served with homemade pasta.
“We are more than an ordinary pizza place that serves only pizzas and subs,” commented Franco. “We have traditional Italian dishes that are made from old family recipes. I know that once someone tries our food they will want to come back.”
Mama Maria Restaurant & Bar serves lunch specials Monday through Friday and features specialty dinners every day of the week. If individuals are interested in grabbing a slice or pie to go, Mama Maria also has a weekly special of two pizzas for $20. Franco and Sal also offer catering for events at the Milford and Dewey Beach location or on-site catering at business and residential locations.
All of the recipes made by Franco and Sal themselves have been handed down through generations from Napels, Italy, where Franco was born and raised until the age of thirteen. Guests can enjoy the traditional Italian dining experienced by visiting Mama Maria at 644 N. Dupont Highway, Monday through Thursday 10am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday 10am to 11pm and Sundays noon to 10pm. For more information on the restaurant and to view a menu, individuals are encouraged to visit Mama Maria online at http://www.mamamaria.com or call 302-422-2661.