Savor food the way it's done at Mama Nems
Marengo County eatery does down-home Southern favorites in a non-traditional style
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
News staff writer
THOMASTON - Around here, folks have an expression they like to use when somebody asks why they do things a certain way.
"'Cause that's the way Mama and 'em always did it," they'll say.
But at Mama Nems Restaurant in Thomaston's Rural Heritage Center, chef Robert Cawley doesn't do things Mama and 'em's way - even though Mama and 'em likely would approve.
Cawley, a caterer and culinary instructor from Montgomery, takes down-home Southern favorites - like barbecue and biscuits and fried green tomatoes - and prepares them in non-traditional ways.
"There's nothing unusual," he says. "It's everyday food, but it's just presented in a different way."
Among the items Cawley features on the Sunday brunch menu are the Mama Nems Pepper Jelly Omelet, a three-egg omelet filled with pepper jelly and cheddar cheese; and the Black Belt Eggs Benedict, a helping of Thomaston's famous barbecue piled on a cheese biscuit and topped with scrambled eggs and Hollandaise sauce.
The Friday dinner menu includes such dishes as Mama Nems Special Tomato, a fried green tomato topped with sauteed shrimp and pepper jelly, and Pecan Crusted Catfish, an Alabama pond-raised catfish that's coated with a pecan flour mixture and baked.
"All of the recipes are based on local Alabama products - shrimp, tomatoes, Thomaston barbecue, crawfish," Cawley says.
"My wife's grandmother used to say she could take a chicken and use everything but the cluck," he adds. "That's kind of my food philosophy, too"
Mama Nems, which is only open on weekends, began serving Sunday brunch in November and started opening for Friday dinner two weeks ago. If there's enough business, Mama Nems hopes to serve dinner on Saturday nights, too.