North Omaha is getting its own food hall of sorts in the new 75 North Project at 30th and Parker Streets, whose first tenant – Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering – opened its doors Tuesday.
Two more restaurants are slated to open in the space this spring: Pico, a street taco restaurant, and the Highlander Bar & Grill, a classic American spot, both from restaurateurs Lance and Natalie Wang. Lance Wang ran O Casual Dining at its original 84th and Dodge Street location, and he also owns Eat the Worm in the Old Market.
It’s an interesting moment for food in North Omaha, as a big-name restaurant, Big Mama’s, relocates, updates its menu and goes from full service to counter service alongside two new concepts. Hardy Coffee Co. also operates one of its locations in the Accelerator Building.
Othello Meadows, the president and CEO of the 75 North development, said he didn’t want first-time restaurant owners in 75 North. Instead, he looked for people who were all in.
“People were unsure,” he said. “But (these restaurant owners) get the mission.”
That mission, he says, is for the dining room to become a gathering place.
Gladys Harrison, who took over her late mother Patricia “Big Mama” Barron’s restaurant, said the bright gold dining room is inspired by Barron’s favorite color.
“My mother would be absolutely over the moon with how this place turned out,” Harrison said last week while standing in her new kitchen. “She would be proud of me seeing her dream come true and carrying on her legacy.”
Harrison said all the old favorites from Big Mamas will be back, including the skillet cornbread (that recipe has been in the family for more than 100 years), the oven fried chicken, the afro burger and the sweet potato pie. New will be a version of the afro burger made with an Impossible burger patty and the Accelerator sandwich, inspired by the muffuletta, which will be made with deli meats and Big Mama’s mayonnaise. It can also be served as a salad.
Lance and Natalie Wang said they want their two restaurants to be focused and approachable.
“This isn’t a culinary experiment,” she said. “This is a place where everyone should feel welcome.”
The new Big Mama’s Kitchen is at 2112 N. 30th St., Suite 201.