As it preps for its next ten years in business, nationally-known Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering is cooking up something very exciting – a big move to a brand-new location. The soul food favorite, known for its oven-fried chicken and sweet potato pie ice cream, is planning to open in the Highlander Accelerator Building, 2112 N. 30th St., later this year. The building is part of the renewal-focused 75 North Development.

“It was always my mom’s desire to be part of the revitalization going on in North Omaha,” says Gladys Harrison, general manager and daughter of owner Patricia “Big Mama” Barron.

Patricia developed her passion for cooking as a child in her grandmother’s kitchen. That led to a home-based catering business and then the full-service restaurant on the Turning Point Campus (formally Nebraska School for the Deaf). Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering celebrated ten years in business last December.

“We love what we do here at Big Mama’s. This was our destiny to cook and feed people,” Gladys says.

Patricia had to step back from day-to-day duties last June due to health concerns, but the Big Mama’s team is adamant about living up to her standards.

“That example my mom gave of wanting people to have great, real food and a wonderful experience has trickled down to her staff,” Gladys says. “We know we’re doing things exactly the way she would want it done.”

Winning Insights from Our March Winner:

  • Providing an Excellent Customer Experience

“We want our customers to feel like they’re enjoying a meal in my mom’s kitchen at her house. That’s where we enjoyed a meal. We talked. We debated. You felt good in my mom’s kitchen – that’s how we want our customers to feel.” 

  • Best Practice Tip

“There’s more than one company providing whatever service it is you are providing. What will separate you from everyone else – and what will keep your customers coming back – is service. That’s still important to a lot of people, being appreciated for their business.”

  • Prioritizing Community Involvement

“We really believe in providing people with a place to get a skill set. We’ve always worked with organizations like Employment First (Nebraska’s welfare reform program). We started an internship program with Omaha Street School 6-8 months ago. Students can come and learn culinary skills or if they’re thinking about starting their own business, they can help me do some office work. We also work with Nebraska Commission for the Blind. We’ve provided two people, so far, with internships.”

  • Did You Know…

Big Mama’s was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2008, selected as one of Travel Channel’s “101 Tastiest Places to Chow Down” in 2010, and appeared on Sundance Channel’s “Ludo Bites America” in 2011. Big Mama and her family were also featured in a 2013 reality show titled “Big Mama’s Kitchen,” which aired on the Cooking Channel and Food Network.

Want to learn more about Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering? Check out the companies’ website.

United Republic Bank is the sponsor of the Small Business of the Month award. View more information or nominate a small business online.