From Homegrown to Well-known: Taco Mayo

By on April 13, 2011

Local Eateries Finding Success Beyond Our Borders

We thought it would be fun to look at some Oklahoma restaurants that not only are thriving, but have expanded regionally and, in some cases, nationally with their chain.

Although many are very unique and different in their business approach, they all share the common ground that they all started in Oklahoma.

The big plus for us is the huge impact they’ve had on our local economy. They’re obviously doing something right and have found the right mix of efficiency in their business model and wide consumer appeal with their food.

This week we want to spotlight Taco Mayo, a local fast food favorite that has cultivated a loyal following with their Tex-Mex deliciousity (is that a word?).

Believe it or not, the brand was actually started way back in 1978 in Norman, Oklahoma and derived its name from the fact it began in the month of May. Get it… Mayo? Ok, no points for creativity here. But, no one can dare deny the incredible success record of this innovative eatery.

Taco Mayo was the brain child of some very experienced food execs back in the day. The owners were looking to fill the void for delicious Tex-Mex food in the region with a restaurant that featured good food, good atmosphere and super fast service. What they came up with was a concept that was totally unique for its time and steeped in a plethora of Tex-Mex cooking know-how.
By 1980, Taco Mayo was a booming enterprise. So much so, they decided to franchise their chain and expand regionally with their brand. The concept has since grown from a single store in Norman to regional franchise locations in several states with thriving franchise sales each month.

The chain has even helped give Oklahoma a reputation of sorts for being a test kitchen for national expansion of franchises. It seems we’re a good gauge for how others around the country will respond to new kinds of food and restaurant ideas.

Thank you Taco Mayo for putting us on the map. Oh, by the way… if you get a chance, check out Taco Mayo’s recent TV and radio ads. They’re very funny and have won some top honors for being downright cheeky.

Come back next week and we’ll take a look at the success of Camille’s Sidewalk Café and their explosion onto the national scene. See you then.

Taco Mayo on Urbanspoon

Brian McCullough

About Brian McCullough was founded 6 years ago by Brian McCullough because he had a love of food. What started as a blog where normal everyday people dined out and posted about their experiences has grown into a legitimate food publication with professional chefs and writers, each with a unique culinary and educational background to pull from. In 2009 the site won the Oklahoma Magazine award for “Best Food Blog” and continues to be #1 local food website.


  1. The Errant Cook

    April 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Funny…no commentary whatsoever on the horrid food. :D

  2. dancinhomer

    April 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I liked it fine back when it was cheap, but they overpriced it when they re-invented themselves some years back. I haven’t been in years and years because there are better places for the price. Seriously, a value menu that’s $2??? Puh-leaze…..

  3. Mel

    April 17, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    When I lived in tahlequah while attending nsu, I loved visiting taco mayo, it was a favorite of mine… however, I was also a huge stoner at the time, so everything tasted good. Haven’t been there since :/

  4. Maverick

    April 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    So I love all the off the cuff jokes here..but seriously this is an Oklahoma Company just like Sonic that has expanded into 400+ other locations…so this is great information for me when I think : Taco bell or Taco Mayo at 1:30am! Thanks for postings this blog!

  5. Rick

    May 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I like the Taco Burger, use to live off of them in college.
    I would agree that it’s one of those places that needs to keep the cost down, just like Scronic… I mean Sonic.

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