Editor's note: Last week, Jason Walker with Maple Grove Patch explored the food at in Maple Grove. This week, Jason chats with Mama G's owner Greg Olsen about his resturant background and the Mama G's establishment. Check back next week for a look at another Maple Grove restaurant.
Maple Grove Patch: How did you get into the restaurant business?
Greg Olsen: I got in the hotel business in 1981, and I stayed in the hotel business with Radisson Hotels for two and a half years and Sofitel Hotel for a year and a half. That was in Texas, but I moved back home because I hated Texas. I came back to the Radisson Metrodome, which is now the Holiday Inn Metrodome. I stuck with Holiday Inn for 15 years, downtown there in Seven Corners, and I was the executive chef.
I’m a recovering executive chef. I live right down the road, and I got into Mama G’s. I’m now a partner, and since then we’ve burned down.
Maple Grove Patch: How long has Mama G’s been open, and when did it burn down?
Olsen: Mama G’s has been here for 42 years, and Feb. 25, 2002, we burned down. This is the only surviving part. The whole parking lot was our restaurant and kitchen. We don’t have a large enough trunk of water here to rebuild it, because you need sprinklers and everything, so we put up a wall and opened it like this.
It’s limited food, in comparison to what we had, and much smaller. Still has the same volleyball facility, probably better - we’ve kept up on it much better and groom it monthly. We’ve built a tiki bar out there, it’s a full-service bar. Until water comes to this side of the road, this is how it’ll be.
Maple Grove Patch: What is Mama G’s known for?
Olsen: Volleyball and good times. We’re a typical bar, when you look at us. We have pool tables, we have dart boards. We have beanbags, volleyball, a partial basketball court, good staff, good service. We cater to working men. We have genuinely good prices, in comparison to just about anywhere else around here.
Maple Grove Patch: Are there any menu items you’re known for?
Olsen: We’re known for our pizzas. We have a lot of specials on our pizzas. We have an outdoor grill menu. On volleyball nights, we open up a little grill outside, it’s a really nice grill, actually, and we do all these things freshly grilled. Other than that, we have a good menu. It’s limited, compared to other restaurants. Our kitchen is small.
Maple Grove Patch: Any plans for expansion?
Olsen: Sure. As soon as sewer and water in a bigger version come on this side of the road, within our 10 acres we’re going to move Mama G’s to the back of the property. Probably a gas station right here, we don’t know. But whenever we can develop it, we’re going to develop it. It’s a great corner. It’s been a bit of a difficult road, with the old beat-up sign up there, which, why change it now, you know? You gotta stop somewhere, and we can make the building very beautiful outside, but why? It will be torn down, we’re hoping, in a couple of years. Then we’re going to look at volleyball, full restaurant and bar.