Back in 2011, when Laura Shunk, Westword's former restaurant critic, reviewed Mama Sannino's, an old-school Italian restaurant tucked behind an Arvada strip mall, she wrote that although the joint had been open for just six years, the romp of regulars, all of whom seemed to know one another by name, made Mama Sannino's feel as though it was "an integral part of the neighborhood" -- but developers apparently believed the neighborhood would be better served by a Walmart, and so Mama Sannino's was forced to shutter on September 27. The good news? Owners Karen and Jimmy Sannino reopened in a new location last month at 5800 West 38th Avenue, in Wheat Ridge.
"The move, I think, is a blessing in disguise," says Karen. "We definitely have a lot more street exposure in this location, and we've been really busy," she adds.
The space, embellished with a mural of the Sannino's granddaughter feeding a dog spaghetti; snapshots of the Brat Pack and paintings of pot-bellied cooks; shelves weighted down with ceramic statues of equally robust cooks and straw bottles of Chianti vined with grapes; and hay-colored tablecloths topped with bright red napkins, is properly cliched in that homespun Italian kind of way; there's even one of those statuesque pigs wearing a red-and-white-checkered apron that greets you at the door.
Johnny, who's also the chef, turns out a board that's similar to the menu at the old location, although the pizzas and calzones have been dropped. "We couldn't move our ovens, so we can't do pizzas or calzones, plus there's really no room in the new kitchen for an oven," explains Karen, stressing that "the menu is still full of all sorts of other wonderful things," including, of course, the housemade egg noodles slicked with marinara sauce.
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Mama Sannino's is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Here's a look at the new location.