Like any college town, Athens is awash in places offering food you can eat on the run. Not surprisingly, this means it has an unusually thriving burrito business. As one of the latest trends in fast eating, burritos are compact and easy to enjoy while walking to class or being otherwise occupied. With so much competition, it isn’t easy to stand out. In an atmosphere like this, Big Mamma’s, a tiny uptown burrito business, still has quite a large following.
Big Mamma’s sits in a cramped space uptown with a few indoor seats, but basically serves as a walk-up food counter.
- Chipotle Ranch: Most everyone in Athens knows this one. It contains a spicy mayo sauce covering your choice of meat and surrounded by vegetables and rice. It’s outstanding. Everything comes together wonderfully and no one ingredient is too overpowering.
- Steak N Bacon Mamma: Steak, bacon, nacho cheese, salsa, lettuce and onions. Yep, this one is like a plate of nachos in a tortilla.
Big Mamma’s specials are icing on the cake. Every burrito comes in two sizes, The “Baby,” for $3.75 and the 24-oz “Mamma” for $6.99. It’s nice to know there’s a smaller alternative, especially when ever-popular 24-oz burritos (the same size as the ones sold at the Chipotle chain) can cap off at 900 to 1,000 calories. More importantly, Big Mamma’s keeps a great selection of coupons on its website to ensure you never have to pay full price as long as you check back in. Right now, for example, it has posted a lunch coupon: A “Mamma” burrito and drink for $5.50 — $2.50 less than you would normally pay. It comes to reason they should probably just reduce the prices instead of making you go online, but it’s a fair business practice, I suppose.
Other specials mean there are a lot of options at Big Mamma’s if you want something healthier or leaner, and the generous hours ensure you’ll have plenty of time to do so. I have to caution, though, that many of the other burrito options aren’t that strong. A good burrito is hit or miss and one way or another seven bucks is a big investment on a meal you don’t like. The Chipotle Ranch Mama is great but some of the other options aren’t so good. The Teriyaki Mamma I tried above, for example, fell flat. I noticed the rice was undercooked and the juices just didn’t make it as good.
I can’t speak to the clientele — I always advise against visiting any food place at midnight on a weekend because it’s hard to offset the funny drunks with the rude and obnoxious ones. Find a coupon and the right time of day, though, and you’ve got a great meal.
- Hit Big Mamma’s website for great coupon deals before you go. You’ll be surprised at how much you save.
- The Chipotle Ranch Mamma is the king of the menu and always a good choice. Other choices though aren’t always so good.
- If you want a burrito but not to be stuffed, try a smaller “baby” mama for $3.75.