With four locations and growing - Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue credits local community as a key to success

Kalua Pork Sliders. Photo courtesy of Julie DeMarre Founded in Tucson in December of 2010, locally owned Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue has been embraced by the Southern Arizona community. Locals can’t seem to get enough of the tasty teriyaki wings, shredded kalua pork and famous loco moco burgers. The restaurant expanded from a single campus location to four restaurants with locations on the east side of Tucson, Sahaurita and Marana. Since opening, Alboy has expanded from one location with a handful of employees to a thriving business that supports as many as 160 employees during peak times. Mama’s is known as a great spot for fresh, simple meals at affordable prices and has become a go-to for catering as well. Seen at events all around town, Mama’s has catered everything from office luncheons to pool parties and weddings. Owner and founder Sam Alboy credits the local community with much of his success. Comments Alboy, “I think Tucson is a great place to start a business and really get a chance to flourish because of the support from other businesses and groups like Local First Arizona. Tucson may have over a million people living here but it is still small enough to grow really great business and personal relationships.”


In expanding and growing his business, Alboy found that creating strong community partnerships was key. “Mama's believes in being involved in the community and really appreciates the great partnership we have fostered with Local First Arizona,” says Alboy. “Mama's is also proud to be a member of the Tucson Originals, a group dedicated to preserving cultural diversity of food in the Old Pueblo.” Two years ago, Alboy became heavily involved in the Tucson Originals restaurant association, an alliance of independently owned local restaurants, purveyors and partners working together since 1999 to raise awareness about the vibrant culinary community in Tucson. Alboy found that it was a strong resource for helping grow and support locally owned restaurants in Southern Arizona and has served as President of the organization since 2014. “Tucson is unique because the food scene supports itself. Chefs work together to create great fun food events like the Wings and Waffles throw down being put on by Tucson Originals in August and the Margarita Festival in October,” says Alboy.

Although his roots were in the corporate culinary world, Alboy quickly found that creating a local business was a better alternative. “I moved to Tucson in the early nineties and loved it.  I then moved to Flagstaff and finally southern California. I really miss the ocean but the culture and foodie culture of Tucson are equal to those of San Fran or New York City with the exception that you can find a great meal without having to spend your whole paycheck.” Although the restaurant serves up Hawaiian fare, Alboy always brings it back to the Arizona community. He has seen how engaging with other local businesses at every level creates success and prosperity. “The people we buy services and products from return to our business and eat some of our great food. They help spread the word about how Mama's is a great place to eat whether for a business meeting that needs wi-fi, a family gathering, or some of our great take-out or catering. We love creating jobs and adding to the local economy. We always look for a local option before we buy. We rarely use sites like amazon to buy product or services, instead we look at who we have met or who we know in the Tucson business community.  We have created a great business network that adds dollars directly back into the Tucson community. We also have shifted our banking business to local credit unions and banks.”

You can sample some of Mama’s amazing fare at the special Monsoon Cowboy Luau on August 29th. For only $10 a place, folks can dine on Hawaiian fare under the stars in the courtyard of downtown's newest hot spot -The Downtown Clifton Hotel - while listening to live music. Hey Bucko will be on hand with their signature cowboy surfer sounds. Tickets are going fast, so buy yours now for a one of a kind event that is very Tucson and very Original.