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Jul 10, 2009 09:16 AM

Mama Mary's Soul Food New Haven - fka Sandra's Place

So, I'm curious. . . have any of you chowsters gone to Mama Mary's Soul Food in New Haven? I was aware that Sandra's Place on Whitney closed, but I called the Congress Avenue location only to hear them answer the phone "Mama Mary's." The friendly girl on the phone explained that she was Sandra's sister and that the new place is named after their mother and is now located "in a nicer location" on Whalley Avenue across from Edge of the Woods. I want to get some catered fried chicken for my son's birthday party as I have in the past from Sandra's. I always enjoyed Sandra's.

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  1. Took my mom and two sons with me on Saturday night to test out the waters. What a very pleasant surprise. Similar to Sandra's on Whitney. Very comfortable, laid-back atmosphere with exposed brick and wood, hardwood floors, earthtones, high ceiling with nice light fixtures and chandeliers and these really cool large booths that look like they were made out of church pews. The other wall has small round tables with wall bench seating on the inside and almost-too-comfy-looking lounge chairs on the outside. They put up pretty room dividers in front of the main window to block out the somewhat not-so-nice view of Whalley Avenue. We actually parked at Edge of the Woods (closed) and walked across Whalley. There's a jamaican restaurant next door with some outdoor sidewalk seating.

    The menu is very similar to Sandra's. When we arrived, no one else was dining in, but there was constant take-out traffic with folks coming and going. By the time we left, two other booths had filled up. Tanya (co-owner) and the other girl server were so so friendly and welcoming; I cannot say enough. One said she was Sandra's sister, and I think her brother may be the chef. The waitress who answered when I originally called said Mary was their mother. They wanted our experience to be comfortable. They were both so sweet. They have the usual plates--small, church, etc., where you pick your meat and your sides. Unfortunately, ALL at our table had the fried chicken which was incredible, but I really wanted to try the oxtail. They started us off with their signature warm cornbread, with melted butter--sweet but oh so moist and tender. The mac and cheese was homemade good. My rice and black-eyed peas were sweet delicious and I die for their homemade cabbage which is so good. My mother had collard greens (delish and bright green--I'm not sure what kind of meat they use in them--if it was smoked turkey leg or ham hock--I'm thinking the latter as there was not a strong smokey taste) and yams which appear to be doctored up canned version but again sweet and good. Same for the green beans--doctored up variety but again good and my young sons like them! Washed it down with Downtown Iced Tea (1/2 tea, 1/2 lemonaid). We all cleaned our plates and had cake and peach melba for dessert--I was bummed that they were out of banana pudding. They have a takeout display and counter in the back and will start serving weekend-only breakfasts on August 1. I'll definitely go back and plan on ordering fried chicken for an upcoming birthday party.

    The waitress had told us of some of the specials which included the oxtails and sea bass (or was it striped? I cannot remember). Later, I noticed a black board with a bunch of specials that I couldn't really read from where I was sitting; however, I did wish I ventured up to read it prior to ordering. I read in an article that the husband (chef) goes on fishing trips and will often sell his daily catch, which makes me wonder how great that fish was--probably good.

    Other items are chitterlings, fried whiting, pig feet, pork chops, ribs, chopped bbq.

    Overall, just your usual awesome comfort food. One day, I'll try the ribs and honey bbq wings. They have the fried chicken down pat--super super crispy skin and moist but well-cooked on the inside. It was hot hot hot out of the fat! Church plate dark was two wings and a full leg/thigh combo with four sides.

    Please go. You will not leave hungry.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheereeo

      Just a quick thanks for such a nice job here with this thread's review and links. Must of missed it when first posted but luckily saw the add on to the more recent posting.

      Happily working our way through 'Mama Mary's' quality menu of good food from good people so we appreciate you sharing the find.