Popular Birmingham lunch spot Yo Mama’s has sights on expansion

Yo Mama’s is a growing Black-owned and operated restaurant in Birmingham which has plans for expansion soon. Photo by JSHOP23 Staff

By Taylyn Tolbert

With long lines for lunch that could stretch down the block, Crystal Peterson, co-owner of Yo Mama’s restaurant, is driven to get customers’ orders out as quickly as possible.

“We’re trying to make sure we pair good food with good service,” Peterson, who works alongside her mother, Denise Peterson, told the NABJ JSHOP Reporter. “This is what matters the most.”

The family-owned operation with its sights set on expansion, was founder and owner Denise Peterson’s idea in 2014. Peterson, a Florida A&M University graduate, used the love of her alma mater as inspiration for the eatery’s vibe, even right down to FAMU’s vibrant orange and green school colors. Yo Mama’s menu consists of a wide range of homemade options including chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, hot wings, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, cheesy mashed potatoes, and peach cobbler.

The downtown Birmingham hotspot is one of many small businesses in town positioned to expand its operations. Yo Mama’s has recently received a $1.7 million city grant that will help them someday move to a new location, Crystal Peterson said. The restaurant’s hope is that it will give them an even bigger impact in the community, Crystal Peterson said.

Edward Bowser, Birmingham’s deputy director of communications, agrees.

“In a short span of time, Yo Mama’s has become a pillar of Birmingham’s food scene,” Bowser said. “Their growth is not just proof positive of their success, but an example of the growing opportunities for all small business owners in our community.”

Crystal Peterson said Yo Mama’s upcoming changes fall in line with its longstanding “Know your customer” motto her family swears by. When loyal customers enter the restaurant, it’s more than likely Crystal Peterson knows them by name.

“If you don’t know who your customer is, you don’t know the market tool,” Crystal Peterson said. “If you don’t know the market tool, you don’t know how to gain customer service.”

Yo Mama’s is located 2328 2nd Ave N. in Birmingham and open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Follow them on Instagram at @yomamasmeals.

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