An iconic Roane County restaurant owner and pizza maker passed away this morning. Lieselotte “Lottie” O’Brien was 94 years old. She owned and ran Mama Mia’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in Kingston since February 4, 1971.
She was born in Augsburg, Germany, and came to America in 1950, after marrying William O’Brien, a U.S. serviceman. Miss Lottie served as a switchboard operator in Germany during World War II and met her husband during the war.
Lieselotte, as she was known back in Germany, had never even heard of pizza before leaving her Bavarian homeland. She learned the art of pizza making in America, from her Italian mother-in-law, Dorothy Caccia.
Her husband’s involvement with the TVA brought them to Roane County, and Lottie opened Mama Mia’s. Roane State Community College in Roane County had opened its doors the same year, and Mama Mia’s would come to be a popular hangout for Roane State students and staff.
Miss Lottie was at the restaurant every day it was open. She worked a 13-hour shift making everything from scratch. She even threw her own pizza dough. Lottie’s cooking techniques were old school. She bakes pizza on a bed of cornmeal in an antique Blake brick oven brought to Kingston from New York.
Miss Lottie served citizens of Roane County and all over the nation that came to Kingston to try her famous pizza for nearly 50 years. She will be missed by many.
Funeral arrangements will be announced soon.