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Fat Mama’s Tamales serves up...

Fat Mama’s Tamales serves up Mississippi-made success

By: Frank Corder - January 2, 2023

From Fat Mama's Tamales Online

When in Natchez, stop in and experience a true southern treat. Your taste buds will thank you.

Not far from the shore of the Mississippi River tucked away on Canal Street in Natchez is Fat Mama’s Tamales, a restaurant that has become an institution both because of its food and its fun, customer friendly atmosphere.

Readers outside of Mississippi may scratch their head in wonder, curious as to how a restaurant in the Magnolia State, not bordering Mexico, would be famous for tamales. 

The prevailing theory, as noted by Visit Mississippi, is that in the early 20th century, as migrant workers from Latin America and black laborers worked together in the cotton fields in Mississippi, the cultures combined to create the Delta-style hot tamale.  It was not long before the food fad took hold in Delta kitchens, as it was both economical and tasty.

Jimmy and Britton Gammill began making their tamales in the mid-1980s.  As their following grew and the recipe was perfected, the couple decided to open a small restaurant, which eventually led them to opening the original Fat Mama’s Tamales in 1989 in a 600 square foot log cabin.

As their story goes, the two made so many iterations of their tamales, trying to find the perfect recipe, that their children joked that if they kept eating all of the tamales their parents would have to call their shop Fat Mama’s.  The name stuck.

The business would grow in customers and notoriety over the next 16 years, frequently mentioned among the “must experience” restaurants in Mississippi and the southern U.S.  Over the years, Fat Mama’s has been spotlighted in People Magazine, Forbes, Southern Living, and many more publications.

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Mississippi, Fat Mama’s learned that the National Park Service would be taking their location through eminent domain, which prompted the business to assess their future.  

David Gammill, the son of Jimmy and Britton, had taken over the operations of the family business, allowing his parents to retire.  David would find a new location for Fat Mama’s, just across the street from their original cabin, and moved the restaurant in 2008, careful to incorporate many of the unique details of the now famous original hot spot. 

The move allowed the family business to grow.  Fat Mama’s menu expanded and the restaurant launched wholesale products featuring their famous tamales, the original “Knock-you-naked” margarita mix, and their customer favorite “Fire & Ice” pickles.  They also opened an online store and now ship their Mississippi-made products across the country.

Fat Mama’s is unquestionably a Mississippi success story.  When in Natchez, stop in and experience a true southern treat. Your taste buds will thank you.

Learn more about Fat Mama’s, see their menu, and order from their online store by visiting here.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: