Slowly change is coming to the old pizza favorite in the Rose Hill Shopping Center in Franconia. The Mama Mia’s sign is still on the façade, the steak and cheese sub is still on the menu, and area diners are still coming on a regular basis but the new owners have added their El Salvador flair so it’s old and new at the same time.
The new name is “El Guanaquito,” but there are a few places around the restaurant that still have the Mama Mia’s label.
A diner named Troy lives nearby and always got his pizza at Mama Mia’s but is now getting the baleadas, which is a Honduran breakfast wrap.
“I like the new place,” he said. For pizza, he goes to other places nearby but noted that “the pupusas are really good too,” at the former Mama Mia’s, he said.
A few years ago, the original owners, Sami and Omaima, stepped down after 39 years behind the grill. A new generation is making their mark on this beloved Rose Hill diner that still has the old booths and counter from 1983, and maybe all the way back to the early 1961 when it opened to Sami’s relatives, the original owners. They’re not too worried about tradition now.
“We do it a little bit different,” said Oneyda, the manager.
She mentioned the increasing popularity of the new menu, including jalapenos in the pupusas.
“They love the jalapeno pupusas,” she said. “Plenty of customers, maybe too much,” she added.