In the Martha Stewart November 2018 issue, Mama Js was named the best restaurant in Virginia. But it’s not just Martha Stewart-Mama J’s has even been a James Beard award semi-finalist as well as been named one of the best restaurants to work for in the country.

Generous helpings of fried chicken, beef tips, pork chops and catfish are accompanied by corn muffins, coleslaw and mashed potatoes, just like Sunday supper at grandmother’s home.

Amber Gibson,

As an Eastern Virginian, I was excited to learn that the restaurant was close enough to visit (Richmond, VA) and I became determined to pay this celebrated restaurant a visit.

The restaurant is located in the Jackson Ward district of Richmond, and it can be a little tricky finding a place to park. Fortunately, you can park at 319 N 1st St Parking for free, which is just a one minute walk away.

In this review, I’ll separately evaluate the taste, value, originality, and service, and then provide the overall score.

*All opinions are my own and I have no intentions to make false accusations or implications.

Mama J's cornbread, green beans, and macaroni & cheese
Mama J’s cornbread, green beans, and macaroni & cheese


Overall, I did enjoy the food. The food was good; I would even go so far as to say it was great! However, “delicious” is a term I would use cautiously. No item was the best I had ever had, and I don’t see myself making a special trip to go back to this restaurant. However, I will say that the food definitely tasted homemade, and if I was used to eating out at chain restaurants on a regular basis, I would definitely have considered this food to be “delicious.” I believe the taste of the food depends on what your regular diet is, but, nevertheless, we cleaned our plates!


The value of the food was wonderful. I ordered macaroni & cheese, green beans, and bread and was served generous portions along with a bill of only $6! My mother ordered catfish nuggets (one of their specialties) and fries, which was a total of only $8! Although I would not make a special trip to Mama J’s, I can definitely see myself coming back if I was in the area and wanted some good food for cheap.


Unfortunately, there was nothing special about the menu or atmosphere. The menu is small, which would not be a problem if there was some uniqueness to it; however, chicken, fish, and fries are items that many American restaurants carry.


The service was great! Our waitress was very enthusiastic to help us-especially when it came to deciding what to get! She let us take our time ordering and, when at first informed me that the bread I wanted was unavailable, brought it to me later once it was (even though she had already given me a substitute).

For more restaurant reviews, see my review on Sugar & Twine, also located in Richmond, VA.


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