Making the Grade: Maffia’s Italian Restaurant


By Stacey Patton Wallace

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! Since this review will be printed on Feb. 17, the Good Lord willing, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

My sweet husband Mike has been my Valentine since 2004, and each Valentine’s Day has been special. Because he loves me, he sends me what I love — a dozen beautiful, long-stemmed red roses. When we were dating, I told Mike that flowers (especially roses) and jewelry would always be perfect gifts for me; I’m just not a fan of practical presents. Therefore, I also told him that cooking utensils and cleaning appliances would not be good gift ideas for me AT ALL.

As I used to explain to my female students, sometimes men or boys need help, so tell them what you like. To my horror, Mike told his male students, “Break up with your girlfriend before Valentine’s Day or Christmas so that you won’t have to buy them a gift.” Thank you, Mr. Romance.

I gently berated my husband for giving his boys this terrible advice; however, a lot of men aren’t that fond of Valentine’s Day. For instance, although Mike is happy to buy me roses, he doesn’t “get” why they make me feel so special.

“Those roses will be dead in a week,” Mike says, shaking his head in disbelief. Doesn’t matter; they make me happy.

But then, I don’t understand why Mike wanted a gift card to a local hardware store for Valentine’s Day. Really sounded boring to me, but I wanted him to be happy, too, so he received one.

Another thing which made Mike and me happy recently was going to Maffia’s Italian Restaurant at 811 S. Railroad Ave. in beautiful downtown Opelika. I was really sad when the original Ma Fia’s Ristorante closed awhile back. The new Maffia’s has a new spelling, owners and menu. The restaurant opened on Jan. 27.

  The owners are cousins: Tony and Nick Demaj. They are originally from Albania, but they have lived in Opelika for 20 years.

  Mike and I met our friends Jack and William for supper at Maffia’s. Tony, the co-owner of Maffia’s, was also our server. He apologized, saying that the restaurant would soon have more service staff. Not to worry. Tony was fast, kind and a total delight. I predict much success for Tony and Nick.

  For our appetizer, Mike and I chose the garlic cheese bread; it was delicious, so warm, cheesy and flavorful. Again, you can never have too much cheese.

  Jack, William and I ordered house salads. They were crisp, fresh and tasty. Also, I was glad to see that our salads had dark greens, which are very nutritious.

  For his entrée, Mike ordered the chicken Alfredo, while I chose the chicken marsala. Both Jack and William selected the lasagna. All our meals were wonderful. Maffia’s is a DEFINITE do over, and I’m thrilled to have another restaurant I love in downtown Opelika.

  Besides our marvelous garlic cheese bread, Maffia’s other appetizers include: cheese sticks, calamari, mussels marinara, fried cheese ravioli and fried beef ravioli.

  Also, Maffia’s Italian Restaurant offers diners a huge selection of entrees, some of which include: manicotti, cannelloni, lobster ravioli, chicken Murphy, chicken Genova, salmon piccata, red snapper, shrimp scampi, shrimp creamora and Cajun seafood pasta.


  For dessert, the four of us were good and split a tiramisu. Oh, my two times. Maffia’s other luscious desserts included: lady finger cookies, Italian cream cake, buttermilk cake, cannoli, fried pasta sheet, limoncello cake and limoncello sponge.

  Maffia’s Italian Restaurant is closed on Monday. The restaurant is open Sunday and Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

  Maffia’s Italian Restaurant makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!

  Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in the Observer. Stacey may be reached at


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