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Mama K’s Kitchen serves up love, tradition into every meal

Mama K’s Kitchen in Star City is more than just a restaurant; it’s a labor of love inspired by generations of tradition.

The original Mama Kay was born in Italy in 1906 and emigrated to a coal-mining town in the United States as a child. As an adult, she responded to the hardships she saw in her community by opening her kitchen and setting more places at her table.

She provided simple, nourishing and delicious food to her neighbors, strengthening bodies, spirits and social bonds.

This spirit of inclusivity and abundance laid the foundation for Mama K’s Kitchen. Inspired by Mama Kay’s values and legacy, her descendant Kelsey Kirby opened Mama K’s kitchen exactly one year ago today. This “fast-fine” restaurant focuses on carryout and catering but also has a small but homey dine-in area tucked into the corner. “The Apartment,” Mama K’s private space, can be rented for larger events, milestone celebrations, or casual get-togethers. Express catering options come from a fixed menu, but the team also welcomes inquiries for menu customizations.

The menu features Italian dishes, many with modern or upscale twists. I recently tried the Winter Rigatoni, a pasta dish elevated with radicchio, caramelized onions, goat cheese and walnuts. For dessert, I had a piece of cheesecake with a toasted breadcrumb topping — a family recipe, I was told, and it was easy to understand why the recipe has such staying power.

Mama K’s is open 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Online orders for pickup or delivery can be placed at

In Mama K’s Kitchen, each dish tells a story, and every meal is an invitation to connect with family, friends, or neighbors.

Whether you’re seeking a cozy corner for two or hosting a larger affair, Mama K’s provides a range of options to make the occasion memorable and meaningful.

EVA MURPHY is a freelance business writer for The Dominion Post. She writes a column on businesses, churches and other entities in the city. To suggest a topic, email her at