David Cho wears many hats. Come into Mama’s Table Restaurant in Valencia and Cho, the owner, may be your greeter, server, clerk or busboy. Whatever role he plays, Cho always has a smile on his face.
That’s because despite 7-day work weeks, Cho finds the restaurant business pleasurable.
“The reason I started this business is so that I can easily interact with people. I enjoy that,” Cho said. “Someone once told me that the restauranteurs are really in the business of making friends and I agree.”
Originally from South Korea, Cho has been in the restaurant game for about a decade since initially relocating with his family to Washington. Once a director of a multi-billion-dollar business, Cho became fond of diners during frequent business trips here.
Cho first ran JD Diner in Washington, turning it around from bankruptcy and A 2-star rating on Yelp to a successful restaurant with a 4.5-star Yelp rating in just 8 years.
In 2016, the Cho family moved to Santa Clarita. They were looking for a space to open a diner-style restaurant and came across the former FreshWorks spot. Transformed into a clean yet warm space, Mama’s Table features comfortable, burnt orange leather booths around the perimeter and deep wood tables in the center.
The name Mama’s Table was inspired by mothers across the planet. “Moms cook good, healthy food for their families and this is the same concept,” Cho said. “We also give a lot of food, like mom does.”
The menu is extensive, featuring breakfast all day and lots of hearty options sure to satisfy any comfort food craving: a wide range of burgers ($8.95 to $11.95), Philly cheese steak and Reuben sandwiches ($8.95 to $11.50), fish and chips and hot wings ($10.95), as well as classics like stellar pot roast and turkey plates complete with mashed potatoes and gravy ($13.95 and $14.95, respectively).
There’s even a half page of Italian specialties to choose from, including a fresh, delicious cappelini alla checa ($11.95), served with two big triangles of garlic toast.
Mama’s Table also features four homemade soups every day, including a tortilla soup that’s a cross between vegetable soup and chili and silky, smooth, satisfying baked potato.
Salads (chicken, shrimp, or tuna, $9.95 half or $11.95 whole) are substantial here, with lots of good stuff packed on top of a fresh bed of mixed iceberg, romaine, purple cabbage, and carrots. Bonus: salad dressings, like creamy, flavorful blue cheese, are made on the premises.
Cho says popular breakfast options include the fresh corned beef hash, topped with eggs of your choice, and a chicken fried steak ($10.95), all served with your choice of toast. To top your toast, make a stop
at the jelly/jam bar, which features a bright blueberry, a tangy orange marmalade, and a stellar strawberry, all made in-house.
As for substitutions and special orders, Cho is all for it. “If possible, I always say yes to my customers,” he said.
Anyone with a sweet tooth will have a hard time passing up a slice of homemade apple, peach, cherry, coconut cream, or chocolate cream pie sitting atop the counter or strawberry cheesecake ($3.95) or a thick milkshake (vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate $4.50) showcased in the refrigerated case up front.
Mama’s Table recently celebrated its second anniversary and when the third one rolls around, Cho is hoping the business is steady enough for him and his wife, who cooks at the restaurant, to take a break for missionary work.
“We want to be used for God’s purpose and be a part of His plan,” Cho said.
Mama’s Table, 23340 Cinema Drive, Valencia. Open 7 am to 9 pm daily. Beer and wine available. For more information, call (661) 284-5988 or visit www.himamastable.com.