But no one ever asks why Taco Mama survives. They already know. It’s magnificent.
|And that's no bull... well, maybe it is.|
Taco Mama was inspired by Diana Bratton’s mother. Bratton came to Arkansas as a newlywed in 1995. The eighth of nine children took a test
She was at City Grocery for seven years before she married and moved with her husband to Hot Springs. She landed a job with Diamante but quickly decided she needed her own place. That place turned out to be Café 1217, at first a small fine dining restaurant with a counter that grew out into space in the same building as other tenants left. The menu changes constantly, and Bratton’s life changed, too – when her first marriage crumbled, her mom encouraged her to stick it out in Hot Springs, and it wasn’t long before she met the love of her life, Shane.
|There are always Mexican beverages on the counter for|
customers to sample.
|The guacamole is so fresh, the avocado doesn't have time to|
change flavor... which is fine, since you get to experience all
the wee bits of fresh onion and tomato in it that way.
Her mother passed away five days after a cancer diagnosis. She had always been a profound influence on her daughter. Nine years ago, the little hardware store next to Café 1217 went up for sale, and with encouragement from Shane, she bought it and created Taco Mama in her mother’s memory. And for the Hot Springs food scene, it has changed everything.
|Grav teared up after this pepper, though he'll just say it was|
sweat dripping off his forehead.
Taco Mama was discovered by folks covering the Little Rock food scene quickly. Word spread fast about this cute colorful place on Malvern Avenue, and the critics and bloggers alike headed southwest to see if it was true. Hot Springs discovered it, too, and business has not slaked.
Is it any real wonder why? It shouldn’t be.
Maybe that’s the point. Taco Mama isn’t like the other place. It’s not jaded and it’s managed to keep serving good Tex-Ark-Mex foods. The peppers and tomatoes… egads.
Taco Mama’s salsa is singular, too. The tomatoes are roasted alongside the peppers and onions, and the flavor of fire is smooth and sturdy. It’s a full-bodied salsa, deep red, translucent in places but not cloudy. It’s perfect with those thick yellow corn tortilla chips.
1209 Malvern Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71901