“As Lithuanians, when we come to the United States — especially the west coast — there’s no Lithuanian food,” says Vaidas Sukys, recalling his early travels around the world, most of them far from his hometown. Sukys knew he needed to open Mama Papa Lithuania — said to be the only Lithuanian restaurant west of Chicago — so that other Lithuanians could feel at home and have mom’s cooking every day.
In this episode of Cooking in America, Sukys also tells host Sheldon Simeon that the Alameda, California restaurant allows for his young daughter to experience her own heritage and culture. “She comes here every day and she hear’s the language,” he says. “She knows that she’s going to get a potato dish.” All the dishes on Mama Papa’s menu were created by Sukys and his mother, and include potato dumplings, cabbage rolls stuffed with ground pork, and chicken goulash.