Skip to main content

Mama Knows Best

Sep 23, 2013 02:19PM, Published by Lisa Drake, Categories: Food+Dining, In Print, Today Restaurant




By Kerry Pipes

Sitting down to visit with Enrique Rodriguez it doesn’t take long to understand how much he loves working in a restaurant. Sure it’s a business, but it’s a passion for him. “This is all I’ve ever known, for more than 30 years now and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing,” says the 49-year-old owner and manager of Mama Cuca’s Mexican Cuisine, which opened in Mansfield this past March.

Mama Cuca’s is a family-owned and operated business through and through - it’s very moniker comes from Rodriguez’s mother, who passed away just two years ago. Rodriguez’s brother is the head chef and numerous members of his extended family work here as well, including sisters, nephews and nieces. It’s all part of his plan to create a family-run operation that treats its customers like family. “I don’t think of it as being in business just to make money,” he says. “I’m most interested in serving my customers great quality food and getting to know them personally.” It’s his first restaurant to own and he’s putting in the time and effort to make sure it succeeds.

Rodriguez honed his trade in Mexican restaurants in the metroplex. He’s worked at places such as Café Acapulco and La Hacienda in Arlington. He says he’s done everything from busing tables to managing operations. “It’s been a lot of hard work to get to where I am today,” he says. “I know Mexican restaurants, that’s what I do and that’s why I opened Mama Cuca’s.” If all goes well he hopes to open additional restaurants in the future.

 

Image title
The Restaurant
Mama Cuca’s took over the space that was previously occupied by Nelda’s on Highway 157. Rodriguez spent time and money on significant remodeling and renovations to get the place just as he envisioned. The interior features large stone floor tiles, high ceilings and light brown and maroon paint schemes across stucco-style walls. Two large dining rooms offer a wide open feel and are dotted with black tables and chairs and matching yellow tablecloths. One of the dining rooms can be cordoned off for semi-private meetings.

The tastefully done décor features ornate iron artwork, clay vases, framed paintings and large arches that are etched with Austin stone. Traditional Mexican music fills the air and the uniformed wait staff eagerly attends to customers. There’s no question that you are not in a chain restaurant.

Mama Cuca’s is a full service operation where you are greeted by a hostess, seated and served at your table. There’s a small patio outside for dining and drinking during cooler weather months, and a separate fully-stocked bar area inside.

Rodriguez is onsite every day and relies on two dozen employees to greet customers, prepare the food and serve patrons. “It’s important to me for us to visit with our customers and really get to know them,” he says.

 

The Food
Rodriguez is proud of his restaurant and especially proud of the food they offer. Lots of restaurants talk about using fresh ingredients but it’s more than just talk at Mama Cuca’s. “We don’t prepare things in advance,” says Rodriguez. “The ingredients are fresh and the food is only prepared after it has been ordered by the customer.”

You will find typical Tex-Mex fare on the menu, but Rodriguez is careful to point out that they offer plenty of traditional Mexican dishes. They prepare their own corn tortillas fresh each day. The recipes are all proprietary and time-tested and the fully stocked bar offers everything from beer and cocktails to their own specialty margaritas – featuring flavors like mango, peach and strawberry.

Rodriguez was happy to have the kitchen whip up a few of their signature dishes for us to sample. The handmade corn tortillas were hot, fresh and fluffy, great on their own or for dipping into either of their two distinctive salsas. The first lunch treat was the Tacos de Mexico, which are served in traditional street taco style. They were filled with chunks of tender marinated fajita meat, onions, cilantro and fresh avocado. The meat was perfectly seasoned and gave a slight kick. Next was the Cuca’s Pollo, a grilled and cut chicken breast served atop sour cream and a zesty tomatillo sauce. It offered a wonderful balance of flavor. We also had a chance to sample the beef fajitas. The tender meat, grilled onions and peppers would rank high on any fajita lover’s list. Finally, came the Pollo Parrilla. This traditional Mexican dish offers a grilled chicken breast smothered in sautéed onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper, and all held together with creamy, melted Monterey cheese.

If you’re looking for a new spot to try for fresh and authentic Mexican food, Mama Cuca’s is worth a visit.

Mama Cuca’s is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00a.m. until 9:00p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11:00a.m until 10:00p.m. It’s located at 2880 Highway 157, Suite 110 in Mansfield. You can check them out on Facebook or call 817-473-9857 for more information.

 

 

Image title

Q&A With Mama Cuca’s Enrique Rodriguez

Enrique Rodriguez has been working in restaurants since he was just 14 years old. There’s nothing he’d rather be doing, and as of this past March he fulfilled a dream by opening his own restaurant in Mansfield. These days the 49-year-old restaurateur is busy working long days at Mama Cuca’s Mexican Cuisine (named after his mother). But he’s got plenty of help from his brother, sisters, nephews and nieces who are all chipping in hours to help get the business off the ground. We sat down with Rodriguez one hot day last August to find out what makes him tick and about his hopes and dreams for his first restaurant. The father of two was happy to open up and share a little with us.

 

Q: What makes your food/menu unique?

A: Fresh, authentic, made only after ordered by the customer.

 

Q: Any new menu items on the way?

A: We just opened in March so it’s too early to make any changes at this point.

 

Q: What is the most popular or most requested dish you make?

A: Pollo Parillo, Tacos de Mexico and Fajitas.

 

Q: How do you want customers to remember their experience?

A: Beyond quality food and great service, that they feel a real personal touch when they come here.

 

Q: What is your favorite type of food to eat?

A: Mexican, of course!

 

Q: If you go out to eat, where do you go?

A: There are many different Mexican food places I like to go to. I do like to cook at home but don’t really have time for it.

 

Q: What are your other hobbies?

A: I don’t have time for any hobbies. But I do love sports. Soccer is one favorite. I like to watch it but also like to play. I like to spend time with my extended family, many of them live around here and we like to get together.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or advice you’ve received or given?

A: To treat others the way I want to be treated. And honesty is very important.

 

Q: What’s the last book you read?

A: I don’t read a lot of books. I do follow sports through the papers and various magazines. I also read some business magazines.

 

Q: If you had to choose another profession what would it be?

A: Probably something in sports, but honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything other than being in the restaurant business.

 


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Mansfield Magazine's free newsletter to get regular updates



Embed this content on your website

Embed


in this issue restaurant sep/oct 2013 mama cuca's mexican food


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    03/23/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • A mysterious and fascinating realm that disorients your senses and challenges your perceptions. ...


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    03/24/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • A mysterious and fascinating realm that disorients your senses and challenges your perceptions. ...


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    03/25/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • One Mile Fun Run ~ Begins 8:30 am 5K ~ Begins 9:00 am Live/Silent Auctions ~ Begin after 5K end...


  • Stemless Wine Glass Help-Create

    03/25/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Vino lovers, head to Vetro! Back by popular demand for one day only—join us for our Stemless Wine...


  • The Turn of the Screw

    03/25/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    The Dallas Opera announces a new production in the company’s repertoire, THE TURN OF THE SCREW by...


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    03/26/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • Rock and Worship Roadshow

    03/26/2017
    06:00PM

    If you’re a fan of award-winning and chart-topping Christian artists such as Steven Curtis Chapma...


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    03/27/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • Soup's On!

    03/27/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    In this FREE cooking class from Healthy Living with Pam, you'll learn to make three healthy, deli...


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    03/28/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • Reads! Program: Yoga Demystified

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Every body is a yoga body! Join us as yoga instructor Carla Henslee discusses the history of yoga...


  • Latin Dance with Loui

    03/28/2017
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    2 free series starting Feb. 28 "Latin Dance with Loui" lets adult participants sample a variet...


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    03/29/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • One Mile Fun Run ~ Begins 8:30 am 5K ~ Begins 9:00 am Live/Silent Auctions ~ Begin after 5K end...


  • Reads! Program: Yoga Demystified

    03/28/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Every body is a yoga body! Join us as yoga instructor Carla Henslee discusses the history of yoga...


  • Kennedale Legislative Day - Trip to Austin

    03/30/2017
    06:00AM — 07:00PM

    The Kennedale Area Chamber of Commerce will travel to Austin on March 30, 2017 to meet with sever...


  • Aging Well Expo

    03/30/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Arlington is committed to the health of its community! This FREE expo is packed with health profe...


  • Reads! Program: A Taste of India

    03/30/2017
    05:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join Chef Adair Smith of Savvy’s Bistro & Mansfield ISD for a culinary tour of India. Participant...


  • Bobby Borgia

    03/31/2017
    08:00PM

    Borgia’s performances span the globe, from Asia and Europe, to Las Vegas and Hollywood’s world fa...


  • Spring Health Festival

    04/01/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Title Sponsor - Methodist Mansfield Medical Center FREE activities for all! Health Screenings...


 

Image title
Mansfield Area High School Sports

Community Champions