The Mater’s concept was to make a truly Southern pizza — generous, hearty, tasty and filling. A working-class family could have a nutritious meal without over-spending. The name itself, Mater’s, reflects a Southerner’s deep love of the tomato, basic to our sauces. The concept worked and Mater’s has served the downtown area for 42 years.
When Mater’s first opened in our area, only two other pizza places were available, and the selections were thin and sparse. Mater’s pizzas became known for their thickness, not just of dough, but of all toppings and cheese as well. Our 16-inch signature pizza, the Better Boy, weighs about seven pounds, enough for a family. Some of the specialty pizzas suggest the names of tomato varieties: Field Hand, Beef Steak, Roma and Celebrity. Others are named for their ingredients: Pesto, Aloha, Spaghetti, Tomatè and Barbeque.
Our location originally was a restaurant flanked by a furrier, a barber shop, a beauty shop and a locksmith business, all on one street. Behind our business a small appliance repair business and a lawn equipment business operated with an associated office and storage area. Our business grew as others retired and we bought and annexed the property we needed to better serve our customers who waited in line at the front door to get in. We added seating, an oyster bar, kitchen and storage space, a game room with seating for larger groups and an office.
Located five to six hours from the Gulf of Mexico, Maters has access to an abundant supply of oysters and shrimp. Always trying to give our customers tastes they enjoy, we added a steamed and raw oyster and shrimp menu. This added concept gives our customers the opportunity to dine with us more often without feeling like they are eating at the same place.
We established our first franchise in Albertville, Alabama in 2013, which has done extremely well. The franchise opened to a booming business with no advertising dollars being spent because of the established name. The franchise is owned by a former employee that wanted to make Mater’s available in Marshall County, a neighboring county. Franchising is good for us because we still have control over the product, but we also have someone with a vested interest running it day to day. Mater’s franchising process is simple and affordable. We have recently sold another franchise and will have the third Mater’s in Fort Payne, Alabama. We hope to have it open in 2020.