Stop and Smell the Gardenias at Mamma’s Kitchen

Mamma’s Kitchen has transformed their patio as a thank you to patrons for their support during the past year.

Chief Operations Officer Ramsha Ahmed and Owner Konstantine Ioannou look forward to your visit. (Photo: Kelli Goel)

Alexandria, VA – Mamma’s Kitchen, on Fordson Road just off Richmond Highway in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, has transformed their patio as a thank you to patrons for their support during the past year.

The patio that husband and wife team Marianne Johnnides and Konstantine Ioannou created is “a simplistic getaway that caters to our clientele. I don’t see it as our patio. I see it as our customers’ patio. This is yours to enjoy,” says Marianne.

Konstantine planted every tree, bush, and flower in their sanctuary for people to dine under fragrant wisteria, with a lush trellis providing nature while enjoying the views and aroma of fruit trees — persimmon, pear, apple, plum, chestnut, and fig. The sweet scents of a 30-year-old lemon tree waft on the breeze, together with gardenias transplanted from the home where Johnnides grew up.

Stop & Smell the Gardenias at Mamma’s Kitchen in Alexandria. (Photo: Kelli Goel)

When many businesses shut down during the early days of the pandemic, Johnnides and Chief Operations Officer Ramsha Ahmed would often sit waiting for the phone to ring, to let customers know that Mamma’s Kitchen was open for business. Fortunately, their base clientele had been established during 11 years in business. “The customers supported us during this past year, and that was a big thing because if we didn’t have them, this would be a completely different story,” says Johnnides. “Their loyalty makes us want to work harder to make sure that not only does the food look and taste good, but the service is good as well.”

Mamma’s Kitchen serves a Mediterranean-inspired menu. Served with pita, the Trio Dips includes a flavorful hummus that pairs nicely with a spicy feta spread, which in turn is cooled down with the tzatziki.

Hummus, tzatziki and feta spread make of the trio dips appetizer. (Photo: Kelli Goel)

Don’t miss their Fettucine Alfredo Pasta, delicious with a touch of marinara sauce and fresh vegetables. A sure-to-be favorite on the spring menu is the Salmon Kale Couscous Salad. Perfectly cooked Parmesan-crusted salmon is seared and served over kale, couscous, cranberries, and butternut squash, tossed in an apple vinaigrette.

Other don’t miss offerings now include Shrimp Basilico, Chicken Parmigiana, and Fried Calamari. Dough and sauce are made daily for pizzas cooked at scorching heat in a brick oven.

Marianne Johnnides comes from a family of restaurant owners. She follows the recipes she grew up with in preparing the food she serves. Salads are dressed with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemons. Vegetables are cooked with olive oil, not butter.

Johnnides also owns Mamma’s Market next door to the restaurant. At this time, you can place an order for a variety of oils, vinegars, and flavored pasta. Plans are in the works to expand the dining room and connect these establishments.

Another way Mamma’s Kitchen found to survive the pandemic is by working with New Hope Housing (, an area nonprofit that supplies dinner to low-income families dealing with COVID. New Hope provides dinner to between 90-120 people a day in local hotels five days a week.

:The salmon kale couscous salad is a go-to favorite. (Photo: Kelli Goel)

Walk-ins are welcome at Mamma’s Kitchen for spaced-out inside and outside seating. The outdoor space allows a party of up to 12 to dine together. Seating is on a first-come basis. Dine in, pick up, or use online delivery to enjoy delicious Mediterranean cuisine with your family at home. Catering also available.

Located near the Mt. Vernon Shopping Center, Mamma’s Kitchen ( is at 7601 Fordson Road. They are open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. And they are hiring, so if you are interested in becoming a part of a warm restaurant family, please stop by.

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Kelli Goel

Kelli Goel is a food blogger with The Zebra Press and lives with her husband and children in Alexandria, Virginia.

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