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Mamma Mia

Valentine & CuisinEquip equipment is a
smash hit at Mamma Mia

As one of Oxford’s oldest trading restaurants, Pizzeria Mamma Mia has been serving delicious, artisan Italian food to residents in one of the city’s most desirable suburbs for more than 40 years. Known for its authentic, handmade pizza, freshly prepared pasta and wonderfully indulgent desserts, the award-winning restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and offers a range of dishes for takeaway.
 

Owned and run by Jon Ellse and his family for more than two decades, Mamma Mia is steeped in history and intrinsic family values. Talking about the restaurant, Jon starts by saying:

“Going right back to when the restaurant first opened in 1981, Mamma Mia has been a much- loved family restaurant at the heart of the Summertown community. Interestingly, in the 42 years of trading, Mamma Mia has been under the ownership of just two families. Our focus is on great food, matched only by our great service. We make virtually all of our dishes in-house, including our pizza dough, which is handmade daily. Our menu hasn’t changed significantly for many years, instead, we focus on serving freshly prepared, consistent dishes to the very highest standards. Our ingredients are seasonal and come from local producers as well as from genuine Italian suppliers.”
 

Being such a popular restaurant, Mamma Mia was bursting at the seams. Understanding the need to expand, Jon was able to secure the necessary permissions to move into the next-door premises in 2019. Although the pandemic put the project on hold, the larger site was significantly more suitable, so building work began in 2021. On the project, Jon adds:

“In short, the existing Mamma Mia site was heavily compromised by a small footprint. We lacked the facilities and our team had to make do with working in an incredibly small kitchen. We made the decision to move some years ago, but it wasn’t until 2019 that we found the perfect site – next door. After a pandemic-enforced delay, work finally started in 2021 and following extensions, refurbishing and fitting out, our new restaurant opened in January 2023. We wanted our restaurant to be reassuringly familiar – fundamentally, little has changed. We have the same flooring, exposed brickwork, tablecloths, colour scheme and menus, although there’s no doubt that we’ve created a modern feel. Feedback from customers has been exceptional.”

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It wasn’t just the feel of the front-of-house that Jon was keen to preserve. Jon’s loyal team, some of whom he’s worked with for many years, were well used to the ways of working in the kitchen too. Working in conjunction with Ideal Catering, a specialist catering designer, supplier and installer based in Norfolk, Jon specified equipment that he knew and trusted in his new kitchen:

“For good or bad, the hospitality industry is in my blood. I grew up in and around the pubs and restaurants owned by my parents. This experience from such a young age has taught me the importance of being able to trust the equipment in your kitchen – it’s your business’s lifeline. Working with Iain, Scott and Kim at Ideal Catering, we installed a host of equipment that I knew my team could rely on.”

One business that Jon knew he couldn’t do without was Valentine & CuisinEquip, a supplier of some of the finest fryers, pasta cookers and induction units. Discussing key appliances in the new kitchen, Jon goes on to say:

“I remember Valentine equipment going back to the early 1970s in The Turf Tavern in Oxford. It was an extremely busy pub which served a great deal of food, much of it cooked in the Valentine
fryer – my father would swear by Valentine equipment. To this day we do the same, having the company’s equipment installed in all three of our restaurants. From single and double-tank Valentine fryers and pasta cookers to some of the latest Locher chargrills and induction units from the CuisinEquip range, the equipment plays a vital role in our kitchens.”

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For the Mamma Mia team, it’s not just about having familiar equipment, but also having equipment that can withstand the demands of a busy commercial kitchen environment, Jon explains:

“The benefit of the Valentine & CuisinEquip equipment is its robust design and outstanding reliability – the equipment really is rock solid. There’s no doubt that I could buy cheaper equipment, but in terms of lifetime value, Valentine & CuisinEquip equipment is tough to beat. Our chefs love the appliances too. They find their simplicity really helps them to get the most daily. For example, we’ve recently moved to Locher induction ranges and the benefits in terms of precision control, a better working environment and the ability to quickly clean down at the end of a shift is great.”

For a business owner, like Jon, having reliable equipment is one thing, but if it is not backed by consistent service and support, it won’t count for much. Concluding, Jon says:

“Regardless of how good the equipment is, if the service is not excellent, we simply wouldn’t buy the equipment. So far, we’ve received nothing short of exceptional service from Valentine & CuisinEquip as well as the team from Ideal Catering. While it can be difficult to recommend products and equipment, I would have no hesitation in recommending the catering equipment in the Valentine & CuisinEquip portfolio to others in the industry.”

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To find out more about Mamma Mia, please visit www.mammamiapizzeria.co.uk or call +44 (0)1865 514 141.
 

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