Best Comfort Food

Mama Josephine's

In March 2010, Mary Samuelson opened Mama Josephine's, bringing to the Shaw neighborhood deep-fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, chicken and dumplings, chicken-fried steak, catfish, pulled-pork sandwiches, fried okra and all the other stick-to-your-ribs fixins' that define comfort food. The dining room is small, but the friendly staff saves it from ever feeling confined. The vibe at Mama Josephine's channels a crowded family dining room: There's always room for one more, and everyone can stay as long as they like. Samuelson engages with each customer who passes through the door, eager to chat and share the food and story of her mother, Josephine Spallino. Though Southern comfort food dominates, Samuelson also serves a sampling from other regions and cultures: eight-layer lasagna, meat loaf, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. It might not be what Mom made, but it's what Mama did, and St. Louis is the better for it.

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