Before down-home cooking, diners desperate for fine comfort fare plundered the manors of celebrity butchers for elegant meat upholstery and fried La-Z-Boys. Sink into homemade cuisine with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of ribs, barbecue, drinks, and more at Big Mama’s Rib Shack & Soul Food in Pasadena.
Carrying the emblem of flavorful comfort fare recipes and Southern hospitality pioneered by its matriarch, Emma Sue Miller McWhorter, the friendly family behind Big Mama’s has served up a varied selection of homemade cuisine and lively entertainment for more than 75 years. Each hulking, down-home dish on the extensive menu is culled fresh daily from scratch. Plug an empty mouth-port with tongue-compatible eats such as the namesake pit-smoked ribs ($8.75 for three, $11.95 for five), or legally download tasty torrents of crispy, golden-brown fried chicken ($6.95–$10.25). Combination plates such as the Cajun allow a sampling of Bayou cuisine, where a parade of jambalaya, gumbo, chicken, and shrimp comes flanked by hush puppies and a choice of vegetable side ($19.95).
Bright red and green walls surround cushy booths and elegant linen-clad tables inside Big Mama’s comfortable, lively dining quarters. Feel free to fill up on beers as you flood your ear canal with the jazzy flow of area musicians who entertain guests with area music on Tuesday evenings in an area in the restaurant.
Big Mama's Rib Shack & Soul Food
Some chefs attend faraway schools or universities to learn how to cook, but for Emma Sue Miller McWhorter—the inspiration behind Big Mama's Rib Shack & Soul Foods—it was natural. Though she's gone to the big kitchen in the sky, a little bit of her soul can be seen today in the restaurant's hot links, saucy ribs, and fried chicken, which the Los Angeles Times called "beautifully cooked; moist, flavorful."
Bubbling pots of gumbo and jambalaya fill the eatery's air with rich smells and fill mouths with equally rich flavors when paired with sides such as corn bread, fried okra, or mac 'n' cheese served in the southern tradition of adding dairy to everything. Guests can enjoy live music on Tuesday nights, which ranges in musical style from jazz and R&B to soul and rock 'n' roll.
1453 N Lake Ave.
Pasadena, California 91104Get Directions