If Omaha didn't know about Big Mama's Kitchen before last night, the city does now.
The first episode of “Big Mama's Kitchen” aired Friday night on the Food Network and gave a look into the family's funny behind-the-scenes life that makes Omaha's best-known soul food restaurant what it is.
A quick synopsis: We met Patricia “Big Mama” Barron and her daughter, Gladys, who manages her two restaurants, Big Mama's Kitchen, the original, at 3223 N. 45th St., and Big Mama's Sandwich Shop inside the Carver Bank Building at 2416 Lake St.
Gladys had some ideas for new breakfast food items of which Big Mama was not a fan — a pancake breakfast sandwich. Big Mama ended up tweaking her daughter's idea for a new menu item that we saw at the end of the show.
We met Cody, whose name is actually Dylan, and watched him almost shave off his finger trying to good-naturedly peel a potato. His final test of acceptance into the restaurant fold: eating an entire Afro burger, which he finished with gusto.
We saw Big Mama bring her granddaughter back into the family fold and watched while Gladys worked to teach her youngest daughter to drive. (Spoiler alert: She passed her driver's test.)
The show ended with a traditional weekly family meal at Big Mama's house, where the restaurant and its down-home menu began.
The Food Network led into the show with a rerun of Barron's appearance on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” with host Guy Fieri.
The restaurant has also appeared on “Ludo Bites America” on the Sundance Channel. Chef Ludovic “Ludo” Lefebvre came to Omaha to open a pop-up restaurant inside Big Mama's Kitchen. Ludo put a French twist on the restaurant's soul food menu.
The Travel Channel also selected the restaurant as No. 57 on the “Tastiest Place to Chow Down Count Down.”