Taco Mama’s success happened by design. And we taste it in every bite.
By Jan Walsh
In 2011, Founder, Will Haver wanted to open “a laid back, funky, fun taqueria
with great tasting, fresh food, and simple approach,” in Mountain Brook, near his other restaurant, Otey’s. And from day one at Taco Mama, they were lined up out the door. Eleven years later Taco Mama has 22 locations.
This success story might sound like a lucky break. But Taco Mama’s plans were well-conceived and deliberate—from the people, design, music, food, to the margaritas. They all have “the feel,” as Haver describes. And patrons feel it in this happy colorful atmosphere, which includes a hand selected playlist that plays the exact same tunes in all Taco Mama locations at the same time. The Feel also exudes from every happy member of Taco Mama’s the friendly and efficient staff. And most importantly it is tasted it in every bite of Taco Mama’s vibrant fare and hand shaken margaritas.
Today we are lunching at The Summit location, where the line is out the door, even before the doors open. Shoppers, couples, families, police, and professionals soon fill every table inside and out on the sidewalk. For drinks, we order Double Hatton Cocktail and the in-season Blood Orange Margarita. The Hatton is a serious rummy, beery, and bubbly cocktail of Aged Campesino Rum, Bamamosa Beer, and simple syrup. And the marvelous margarita is a thirst quenching, luscious sipper that calls for another round. Highly recommended!
We pair the cocktails with Mama’s Salad, The Sizzler Taco Basket, The Fat Boy Burrito Basket, and an array of extras: Sweet Corn, Guacamole, Salsa, and Queso. We dip the warm, thin, crisp, white corn chips into the colorful corn, gorgeous guacamole, warm and gooey queso as starters. The salad’s protein options include grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, and grilled or fried flounder. We opt for the flounder. It arrives still sizzling atop mixed lettuces, shredded mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, and crunchy croutons. Two dressings are offered: Chipotle Ranch and Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette. We select the ranch and drizzle it over the flounder salad. Oh, my! It brings these lovely layers of textures and flavors to new heights with its creamy, spicy goodness.
The soft, scrumptious tacos are filled with grilled, tender, steak tenderloin, grilled onions, fresh avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, which melt and meld together, made even better by this beauty—red chile butter sauce. Highly recommended! The plump burrito is bursting with generous, tender pieces of grilled steak tenderloin, mixed with a lovely cilantro-lime rice, grilled onions, hearty refried beans, cilantro, and an amazing red-chile butter sauce. Come with an appetite for this one. One won’t make you fat, but it will satisfy a big appetite.
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