A SEATTLE ORIGINAL SINCE 1974
OLD SCHOOL MEXICAN DIVE & BAR
Mama’s originally opened in 1974 when Seattle was the last big town on the way to the Alaskan frontier. Planes, Fishing and Transportation were the way most people made a living. Most of the collars were blue or flannel and the music was edgy and raw. Mike McAlpin showed up on the scene with his cousin and brought their Mama’s (technically grandmothers) family recipes to the Emerald City in a converted single room shotgun diner.
The years turned to decades, people hooked up, families started, additional rooms added, Union strikes contemplated, bands formed, books written, art inspired and made, bad behavior tolerated (if not encouraged). At some point in time the original dive bar was built in the back “party” room. Along the way, somehow, 2nd Ave between Bell and Blanchard stayed relatively the same. Other bars and restaurants opened and closed. Many are still there now.
In 2008, Marcus Charles and group of other Seattle originals purchased the Crocodile Café, restored what they could, upgraded what they couldn’t and maintained the Croc’s soul as best they could. That same year, Marcus met Mike. In 2016, Mike wanted to retire, but didn’t want to leave the scene all the way, so he handed off the joint (while keeping a piece) to Marcus and his crew to figure out a way to maintain Mama’s soul while bringing some new life to it.
Marcus moved the dive bar up front (kids still welcome), played with the menu some, and finally settled with Chef Jairo Moreno Guitierrez who specializes in spicy bbq meats (bbq-ed literally outside in front of the bar). Mama’s isn’t fancy Mexican (even though we source a good chunk of our ingredients locally). It’s a place where you can still get a great plate of spicy old school Mexican, a couple of cold margaritas, and possibly hook up with someone. (BTW, the back room still exists, and if 20 to 60 of your friends want to grab some food, shots, and have some bad behavior, just let us know.)