On Sunday night, Samuel Alboy closed his flagship Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue on East Speedway.
On Monday, he lit up the “Now Open” sign on his newest Mama’s in a corner spot next to a bustling Fry’s Food Store on the corner of North First Avenue and East Roger Road.
“I was very sad to close our first store,” he said of shuttering 850 E. Speedway nearly seven years after opening in December 2010. “We built out that store from a Yokohama (Rice Bowl). Every wall, every decoration was done by us. And a lot of memories.”
Alboy was forced to close the Speedway location after Core Campus Investment Partners of Texas, developers of the twin Hub student housing towers behind Mama’s, announced in February that it had bought nearly 30,000 square feet of land along Speedway near North Park Avenue — the land where Mama’s and neighbor Boca Taco at 828 E. Speedway are located.
Mama’s North First Avenue restaurant at 4016 N. First Ave. is not the replacement for the Speedway restaurant, Alboy said. In August, he plans to open in the 3,500-square-foot space that was briefly home to Goodness Juice Bar and Fresh Food on the lower level of The Hub, 1011 N. Tyndall Ave.
Goodness was open just six months before pulling the plug in August 2015, with the owners saying that the large space was far too big for their ambitions and they couldn’t make a go with the student clientele from The Hub.
Alboy said work already has begun on the build-out of The Hub space. He expects to open before students return to campus for the fall semester.