We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Good food, hopeless service”

MAMA DiGrado's Pasta & Pizza
Ranked #7 of 62 Restaurants in Marshalltown
Cuisines: Italian
Description: Welcome Friends, Since November 7th, 1988, when DiGrado Food Products, Inc. was started by my wife Kim and I, people all over the world have been able to taste the special Sicilian style marinara sauce that my Great Grandmother Pauline Licatesi’s family have been enjoying for generations. My Great Grandmother brought the recipes with her in the early 1900’s when she came to America from Sicily, Italy. The Sicilian family marinara sauce has a uniquely different flavor than anything that is available in the area or perhaps anywhere (but Sicily of course). People of all ages enjoy the flavors of our authentic Sicilian family recipes. My mother said that my Grandmother, Anna Maria Licatesi DeGrado, added sugar to sweeten the sauce, but my mother liked my Great Grandmother Pauline Licatesi’s sauce better without sugar—so my mother learned to make my Great Grandmother’s sauce. My mother, Frances DeGrado Hilsabeck, (the “I” in DeGrado was changed to an “e” when our family moved to America) gave the recipes to me when I started showing an interest in cooking and the restaurant business as a teenager. Since 1974, Kim and I have over 50 years of restaurant experience at different capacities combined. We have owned and operated MAMA DiGrado’s PASTA & PIZZA™ for over 8 years with the help of our staff currently and others in the past. Our staff shows a sense of pride and great work ethic here, and are involved in school activities, sports, dance, music, continued education, and giving back to the community. Many of our staff stay with us from 14 until they move on to college or other venues. We donate to many events, fundraisers, organizations, schools, sports, and church groups in Marshalltown and the surrounding communities. Kim and I started our restaurant venture together on July 12th, 2006 in a strip Mall that seated 45 people, then on February 1st, 2008 we moved to a location that had seating for 99 people and had an opportunity to move to our current location May 1st, 2011 with seating available for at least 145 people and we may open a private party room in the future. The photos on the walls are those of family members and friends, some dating back to the early 1900’s—the photos were taken in the USA and Sicily, Italy. My mother, Frances DeGrado Hilsabeck had most of the photos stored in her cedar hope chest, and I always thought that the photos would be nice to have as decor for an authentic Italian restaurant. John Stalzer and the staff at Stalzer’s Photography have done a superior job enlarging the photos and making them as clear as possible. We feature build your own pastas since everyone enjoys different flavor combinations. We use the best spices, cheeses, sliced meats, ground beef, pasta and pizza toppings that money can buy. We make our own meatballs, dough, breadsticks, sauce and seasoning blends. We chop all of our lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers and onions fresh. We strive to offer the best service, food, prices, cleanliness, quality and value to our customers. When you order, we make everything fresh, we don’t hold food over in warmers so that you can be served quicker, because we think that can compromise flavor, texture and overall quality. We believe that we apply more ingredients to your food than anywhere else. You get your moneys worth. Please allow some time for this preparation and baking time. We do our best, as you can witness by the open kitchen concept, that your food is made as quick and accurate as possible. All of the staff works very hard to make sure that your experience is a good one. Please, by all means let us know if there is ever an issue you would like to be addressed. We appreciate the many patrons that have visited from near and far. Our family welcomes you and hopes your visit is a pleasant one. Thank You and Enjoy! Dave Hilsabeck-Great Grandson of Pauline Licatesi
Restaurant details
Description: Welcome Friends, Since November 7th, 1988, when DiGrado Food Products, Inc. was started by my wife Kim and I, people all over the world have been able to taste the special Sicilian style marinara sauce that my Great Grandmother Pauline Licatesi’s family have been enjoying for generations. My Great Grandmother brought the recipes with her in the early 1900’s when she came to America from Sicily, Italy. The Sicilian family marinara sauce has a uniquely different flavor than anything that is available in the area or perhaps anywhere (but Sicily of course). People of all ages enjoy the flavors of our authentic Sicilian family recipes. My mother said that my Grandmother, Anna Maria Licatesi DeGrado, added sugar to sweeten the sauce, but my mother liked my Great Grandmother Pauline Licatesi’s sauce better without sugar—so my mother learned to make my Great Grandmother’s sauce. My mother, Frances DeGrado Hilsabeck, (the “I” in DeGrado was changed to an “e” when our family moved to America) gave the recipes to me when I started showing an interest in cooking and the restaurant business as a teenager. Since 1974, Kim and I have over 50 years of restaurant experience at different capacities combined. We have owned and operated MAMA DiGrado’s PASTA & PIZZA™ for over 8 years with the help of our staff currently and others in the past. Our staff shows a sense of pride and great work ethic here, and are involved in school activities, sports, dance, music, continued education, and giving back to the community. Many of our staff stay with us from 14 until they move on to college or other venues. We donate to many events, fundraisers, organizations, schools, sports, and church groups in Marshalltown and the surrounding communities. Kim and I started our restaurant venture together on July 12th, 2006 in a strip Mall that seated 45 people, then on February 1st, 2008 we moved to a location that had seating for 99 people and had an opportunity to move to our current location May 1st, 2011 with seating available for at least 145 people and we may open a private party room in the future. The photos on the walls are those of family members and friends, some dating back to the early 1900’s—the photos were taken in the USA and Sicily, Italy. My mother, Frances DeGrado Hilsabeck had most of the photos stored in her cedar hope chest, and I always thought that the photos would be nice to have as decor for an authentic Italian restaurant. John Stalzer and the staff at Stalzer’s Photography have done a superior job enlarging the photos and making them as clear as possible. We feature build your own pastas since everyone enjoys different flavor combinations. We use the best spices, cheeses, sliced meats, ground beef, pasta and pizza toppings that money can buy. We make our own meatballs, dough, breadsticks, sauce and seasoning blends. We chop all of our lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers and onions fresh. We strive to offer the best service, food, prices, cleanliness, quality and value to our customers. When you order, we make everything fresh, we don’t hold food over in warmers so that you can be served quicker, because we think that can compromise flavor, texture and overall quality. We believe that we apply more ingredients to your food than anywhere else. You get your moneys worth. Please allow some time for this preparation and baking time. We do our best, as you can witness by the open kitchen concept, that your food is made as quick and accurate as possible. All of the staff works very hard to make sure that your experience is a good one. Please, by all means let us know if there is ever an issue you would like to be addressed. We appreciate the many patrons that have visited from near and far. Our family welcomes you and hopes your visit is a pleasant one. Thank You and Enjoy! Dave Hilsabeck-Great Grandson of Pauline Licatesi
Des Moines, Iowa
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Good food, hopeless service”
Reviewed December 10, 2013

This place would be great, but the wait staff just doesn't seem to get it.
I like the atmosphere, the food, and the prices are pretty good. However,
every time I end up dining there, I see a face-palm worthy service snafu.
"You're an Italian restaurant, but you don't have Italian dressing?",
that was one of the more amusing comments overheard.

It might be funny to dine here if you wanted to show people in the service
industry how NOT to do things, but apparently, my co-workers do not share
my sense of humor and seem to spend most of the meal grouching about
the service issues.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Phil N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

33 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    17
    11
    3
    1
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Marshalltown, Iowa
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great Pizza, Subs and Pasta”
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Not sophisticated, family owned and run, with pizza that beats any of the chains, plus hot subs and calzones that remind me of a New York Deli. (Try the Pepperoni, Mushroom and Sausage baked sub)
Mama's deluxe is an ideal pizza for those that like loaded pizza. I like the thin crust best, but there are three choices for crust. Friendly staff.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank John R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines, Iowa
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“"red sauce" memory lane”
Reviewed March 24, 2013

This place is out of 1950s New York City. Basic red sauce is used with abandon. Gimmick is about 15 pizza toppings can be used on pizza blanks, or added to pasta, and even iceberg salad. Basically it is toppings, nearly out-of-can tomato sauce and some cheese.
Busy place. Inexpensive to moderate. Beer and box wine. No atmosphere. Tables have rolls of paper towels in lieu of placemats and napkins, for a homey but practical touch.
Better than expected ---almost good. Worth a visit.
It just lacks guys named Vinnie and Angelo in fedoras hatching no good.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Eugene C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marshalltown
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great Service”
Reviewed February 15, 2013

Wow, the service is just as good as the food. Everyone has a great attitude and it is always busy. Must go place when in town.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank LitRose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed MAMA DiGrado's Pasta & Pizza also viewed

 

Been to MAMA DiGrado's Pasta & Pizza? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing