After building up a late-night landmark over the course of two decades, a series of massive changes are coming for Mama’s, the establishment at the corner of Piedmont and Cheshire Bridge once known as Taco Cabana – including changes in name and location.
Yes, a change in location. Beginning April 1, Mama’s will begin operating out of what was formerly La Perla Taqueria. While the change in locations is happening quickly, the move from its original location has been expected for some time now. The property, like the former shopping center it stands beside, is slated to become a new mixed-use project from developer Archstone. The plans were first announced back in 2012, with many of the businesses in the shopping center shutting down over the past year.
“It’s not because I want it, because I’ve been there for 21 years,” says the woman customers simply know as Mama about the move. But with the new location being within walking distance of the old location, she’s at ease with the move. “I think it’s very good for the business. It’s only two blocks away – easy to find for my customers, because I have a lot of customers from around Buckhead, Midtown, and all the clubs. So it’s a perfect location.”
Of course, there’s also the name change. As of last year, what was once Taco Cabana became Mama’s. Unlike Taco Cabana, which is part of a franchise with most of its locations in Texas, Mama’s is an independent restaurant. While Mama still holds fond memories of her time as part of the Taco Cabana franchise, there’s a reason for the shift.
“Taco Cabana was a fantastic franchise. I’m very proud that I was the owner for so many years of Taco Cabana,” says Mama. “But they needed a lot of changes, and I knew the building was going to be torn down.”
The change from franchise to self-owned restaurant, though, has proven beneficial for Mama.
“I feel good. It’s a popular restaurant, and I have a lot of help from my husband, Juan, and my son, Papi. There’s a lot you can do with a restaurant when you own it that you can’t do when you franchise, because you have to go by the rules for the food and everything. And now, we have more, different foods, and everything is made from scratch.”
With the change came a chance to redo the restaurant’s menu. While Mama’s includes versions of many of the Tex-Mex items that were found on the Taco Cabana menu, Mama and Papi have added other Latin foods such as tapas and empanadas to the menu to create a wider range of Latin foods for Mama’s.
The relocation is also providing a chance to add new aspects to the Mama’s experience. While margaritas are already a part of the Mama’s menu, the new location will expand the options to include a range of frozen margaritas with 16 different flavors.
Changing locations and expanding the menu are enough to keep any business owner busy, but Mama and Papi are managing the changes while also preparing for their annual Carnaval celebration for Cinco de Mayo at Las Margaritas, which they also own. That early May event has proven popular with Atlantans, and they’re looking for ways to make this year’s event even better. Be sure to keep an eye out for announcements in the coming weeks.
And don’t worry, late night fans of Mama’s – while the location and name have changed, the establishment’s 24/7 operating schedule remains the same.
Mama’s officially opens in its new location at 1958 Piedmont Rd NE starting April 1.