Tonight, we went out grocery shopping to beat the weekend crowds. Of course, the age old question of “What’s for dinner?” was also a topic for the evening. It’s always too late to cook after shopping, so what do we do, you guessed it, we go out to eat!
After passing all the fast food and corporate chains just like in 2012 when I decided to start Tri-State Restaurant Reviews, it hit me like a brick. “We’re on the east side of Evansville, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this place”. It’s a locally owned, mom and pop restaurant, and in the last 10 weeks since they opened, I’m probably the last person in the Tri-State to step inside. So, we have to try it and see if it lives up to the expectations you’ve all painted in your reviews. Let me tell you, it is in my top five best dining experiences in Evansville to date.
What is Mary and Martha’s Place?
Well, I’ll get to that in a minute. When we arrived in the little strip mall next to White Castle at Morgan & i-69, we parked and went inside to be greeted by Mary’s mom. Right away, we knew this was going to be different. Since it was our first trip, she walked us through the menu which was at the counter waiting for us to order from before we took our seats. The crowd was pretty light for 7pm, but there were 5-10 tables with other customers already seated either eating or waiting for their food to be brought out to them. They can only seat around 30-40 people, but they assured me they will be growing as time goes on.
With meal prices ranging from $7-$25, we had some decisions to make. People have asked me a thousand times, where to get fresh seafood. This is the answer. In addition to daily specials, they serve various Seafood dishes, Cajun Boils, freshly made sides like Sauteed Cabbage (which I ordered) with my Braised Ox Tail. They also offer Gumbo, Fresh Oyster PoBoy’s, Salmon Patties (Croquettes), Roasted Turkey and Roasted Chicken, Wings and more items are on their constantly growing single page menu.
Since she loves Salmon Patties, so my wife ordered their “Croquettes”, which were about three inches in diameter and about a half inch thick. Most Salmon Croquettes we’ve had in the past were really “fishy” tasting, even when I made them for her at home. I know, they’re supposed to be, right? But these were mildly seasoned, so it wasn’t just Salmon and breading coming through when took a bite. The dish comes with three croquettes, two sides and a piece of home-made corn bread for $12 and well worth it.
For her sides, my wife ordered their Mac N Cheese and Pinto Beans, which were obviously made from scratch. Although I’m not a big Pinto Bean fan, she “made” me taste them. My grandfather made Pinto Beans nearly every day when I was growing up. Or at least it seemed so since every time we visited he always had a bowl of beans mashed up with corn bread and Tobasco Sauce to squirt all over them. These beans had a little kick to them too, very mild but delicious. I picked up on a couple of the seasonings in them but I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Back to the Braised Ox Tail I ordered. Fortunately, I was able to get the last order for the evening. But I bet the first one served today didn’t taste any better than mine. First the portion size was huge for the dish that came with two sides and a piece of corn bread. The Ox Tail was “melt in your mouth” tender, sitting in it’s own very rich juices on top of perfectly prepared long grain rice. They even used whole cloves of garlic in the dish which when bitten into, dissolved with a sweet garlic flavor that tasted amazing.
For my sides, I wanted something different than my wife so we could sample four options in one sitting.
I had the “Sauteed” Cabbage, but in my mind I expected boiled or steamed. I was not expecting cabbage prepared that way. The cabbage was very well seasoned and actually had good crunch to it while still being tender. I’ve found a new way to prepare Cabbage at home now.
My next side was Cole Slaw, unlike most slaws you get at restaurants, this one is not mustard or vinegar based. It is more like what you’d get at a family reunion, kind of sweet but with a great crunch of the mixture of cabbage and carrot.
Before our food arrived which took about 10-15 minutes, I told my wife that from the atmosphere of the restaurant, I’d bet this was a family run restaurant and the chef is actually a home cook gone pro with their family behind the scenes. After our meal, I asked to meet Mary (Kim) and Martha (Eva) and talk about their business for this article. During our conversation Martha told us about how they came to the decision of opening their restaurant in the old Spice Café location. They obtained the Cafe as it sat and with a few subtle décor changes, they were ready for business. As it turns out that Martha has a long culinary history from Evansville to Indy that stemmed from cooking at home to providing meals through various other community projects in Evansville. Now they are putting their heart and soul into the food for the public and it shows. Not too bad from someone who once worked at Burger King for eight years.
It’s obvious from the time you walk in the doors to the time you leave, everyone makes it their goal to make you feel at home and ensure that your experience is the best it can be.
That’s exactly what the Tri-State Dining & Restaurant Reviews was created to support. We can’t say it’s so good it’ll make you want to slap your momma because they’re there too!
If you haven’t been in yet, you should definitely try Mary and Martha’s Place soon. You won’t be disappointed.
Mary and Martha’s Place
6840 Logan Drive, Suite A
Evansville, IN 47715
Their Menu which will be updated regularly: