Fat Mama's Tamales started to take form in the mid 1980's, when a local woman who made tamales in Natchez, Mississippi passed away, her absence left Natchez with a need for tamales. Jimmy and Britton Gammill began attempting to make tamales each Saturday, when friends and family would come over to the house to swim, cookout and relax; and ultimately pitch in on the labor required to make, roll, wrap and tie tamales. The process usually took most of the day, with the cooking of tamales in the evenings. After the first few attempts the tamale recipe began to take form and improvements were made weekly, producing better and better tamales.
Jimmy and Britton's children, David and Poppy, were eating tamales non-stop as so many were being made that needed improvements, but the cost involved required that they not be thrown away. Over a period of two years, Jimmy and Britton perfected the tamale recipe, and friends and family were soon ordering tamales each week from the house. After producing tamales in the house for a short period, Jimmy and Britton decided to open a small tamale restaurant in Natchez and sell their tamales to the public.
Once the decision was made to open the restaurant, the problem of naming the establishment arose. . . no one knew what to call it! Well it just so happened that David and Poppy had started a small joke between themselves that if "Mama and Daddy keep messing up the tamale recipe, she is going to be a 'fat mama' from eating all the mistakes". Well, once the idea of calling it Fat Mama's was mentioned, everyone agreed it was the perfect name - Fat Mama's Tamales
Jimmy and Britton found a vacant log cabin, located at 500 South Canal Street, which was only 600 square feet. After removing the old church pews and building a new floor in the log cabin, Fat Mama's Tamales was ready for business. On June 9, 1989, Fat Mama's Tamales opened its doors, offering only tamales. After selling out the first two days, adjustments were made and the Fat Mama's Tamales legacy had begun.
Fat Mama's Tamales made tamales as fast they could, and soon expanded the menu to include beer, cold drinks, chili, and Knock You Naked Margaritas. A patio was added to the back of the building which customers enjoyed immensely, and it soon became a staple of the Fat Mama's Tamales experience. Fat Mama's Tamales managed to build a strong local customer base and soon started attracting people from the surrounding area. It was not long before going to Fat Mama's Tamales was essential to visiting Natchez.
Fat Mama's Tamales remained in the little log cabin until August 15, 2008, when they relocated to 303 S. Canal Street. The National Park Service had taken the original Fat Mama's Tamales location for the development of the Natchez Trace National Park in 2005, but allowed Fat Mama's Tamales to remain in the building until a new location was established.
The new location features additional inside seating, air conditioning, a slightly larger eating bar, concrete parking and a patio. We made special considerations to design and build the new building as much like our little cabin as possible and maintain our friendly and festive atmosphere.
Fat Mama's Tamales has also expanded our menu to include Chicken Taco Salad, Taco Soup, Mexican Cornbread, Homemade Salsa and Draft Beer. We continue to experiment in the kitchen, and work on possible new menu items.
If you haven't had a chance to visit Natchez and experience Fat Mama's Tamales, plan a vacation, take a trip, get out of the office, and come on down to Natchez. It is something you will never forget!
The Fat Mama's Tamales Family