Mom’s B.B.Q. House is recommended here for two specific reasons. 1) The food is as good as you find at any bar-b-que restaurant in Los Angeles. 2) It’s a great example of what you can find in neighborhoods close to home if you take the time to look and aren’t distracted by more famous and well- promoted restaurants.
I found Mom’s by accident one night, while Jennifer was out of town. I felt like having “Q” but didn’t want to travel as far as Swinging Door in North Hollywood or Gus’s in South Pasadena. We’ve lived in the same house for 38 years and I wasn’t aware of any acceptable “Q” places nearby.
So, I went to Bing and input “Barbeque restaurants in Van Nuys CA”. That led me to a Yellow Pages listing, where the first name at popped up was Mom’s. I opened the website. It was a pretty site with a story that resonated. “Mom (Genevia) is Creole Louisiana born. Along with her husband Roland and their two sons she has brought the down home cooking and flavor to the San Fernando Valley and LA over 30 years.”
OK. The punctuation is a bit missing. But I liked their story and the menu looked good. So I drove over and found an old, somewhat rundown strip mall with Mom’s in the back corner. The mall and the restaurant were absolutely out of context with the look of the website. But I was sold as soon as I entered the restaurant. Sometimes you can just tell.
The menu was on the wall. I waited my turn, ordered a pork rib dinner with sides of baked beans and coleslaw, and took a seat. All the other customers were there to pick up telephone orders and they all were African-American. As the line made its way toward the small glass-top counter, and each customer waited opposite my table in the tiny restaurant, we chatted about the food, the Dodger game on the TV and the very hot weather.
I took one bight of a pork rib and knew I had to get Jennifer to this place. Soon after she returned home, I place a telephone order and brought home two rib dinners. Next time, I decided to try the fried chicken.
The menu offers B.B.Q. dinners of beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken, hot or mild links, and rib tips. There are sliced port sliced beef chicken, and links B.B.Q. sandwiches. There are fried chicken and fried fish dinners a la carte offerings of everything. Sides include greens, cabbage, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni salad, red beans, blackeye peas, coleslaw, green beans, fries, corn on the cob, and rice. Desserts are sweet potato pie, pecan pie, peach cobbler, German chocolate cake, coconut pineapple cake and yellow chocolate cake. Nightly specials include gumbo, smother pork chops, smothered turkey, and meatloaf.
Jennifer and I are fans of Mom’s B.B.Q. House. The shame of it is that we’ve lived in this neighborhood for 38 years and for 31 of those years there was Mom’s just a mile away and we didn’t know it. The better news is we now know it’s there.