The Enduring Allure of Mexican

Restaurants and caterers who specialize in this popular cuisine find success with traditional recipes and quality ingredients – By Sara Perez Webber of Catering Foodservice and Events

Big Madre Tacos y Tortas – Houston

With 38 locations opened since 2017, Big Madre Tacos y Tortas has proven to be a very successful concept for the Greater Houston Retailers Cooperative Association (GHRA), an organization of independent convenience store owners in the Greater Houston area.

“Through its own research in 2016, the GHRA recognized the growing popularity of Mexican cuisine within the foodservice industry, identifying it as the fastest-growing segment,” says Doug Boone, director of operations for GHRA Food Services. “In response, GHRA strategically developed the Big Madre Tacos y Tortas foodservice program to provide its members with an authentic Mexican-style food offering, aligning with market trends and consumer preferences.”

Customers appreciate Big Madre’s made-to-order menu, notes Boone, which includes a wide assortment of tacos, burritos, bowls, tortas and quesadillas. Homestyle tortillas are pressed and cooked right in front of guests, who can choose from such protein options as grilled carne guisada, slow-cooked carnitas, and specially marinated chicken and beef fajitas.

“Every recipe—from the marinades to the salsas, beans and rice, and the handmade flour tortillas—was perfected over decades by GHRA’s chef, ‘Captain’ Glenn Cates,” says Boone. “An executive chef with over 50 years of experience, Cates learned from the very best—his madre!”

Since only one in 10 Mexican restaurants is a fast-casual concept, Big Madre has a lot of room for growth, says Boone: “This statistic underscores a unique advantage for Big Madre, positioning the brand to capitalize on and further expand within this specific sector of the market.” After opening 13 convenience store locations in 2023, seven more are in the pipeline, and the brand is expanding to towns beyond southeast Texas.

“As the country continues to grow and diversify, the widespread appeal of Mexican food attracts a broad audience and transcends cultural boundaries,” says Boone. “In the current landscape, where consumers increasingly crave authentic and varied dining experiences, the enduring allure of Mexican cuisine is not only here to stay but poised to intensify in the coming years.”