Nacho Mama’s Threatens to Leave Canton

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Via Nacho Mama's Facebook page
Via Nacho Mama’s Facebook page

Nacho Mama’s, a Canton institution, is very publicly toying with the idea of relocating, as the restaurant owners and their landlord duke it out over the terms of a new lease.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, landlord John Koukides wants Nacho Mama’s to move one building over on O’Donnell Square, to cover all costs of bringing the new location up to code, and to agree to transfer its liquor license to Koukides at the end of the new lease.

These are points of contention with owners Jackie McCusker and Phil Gelso who, while saying they prefer to stay where they are, have been soliciting suggestions for a new Baltimore location through their community Facebook page.

The owners’ only explanation for Koukides’s demands is that the landlord underestimates the Nacho Mama’s brand. “He thinks that another Mexican place and another pizza shop will do well in his real estate where we are,” Gelso told the Sun‘s Wesley Case. “I don’t think he understands the power of that brand and people’s loyalty and commitment to it.”

Perhaps Nacho Mama’s’ informal Facebook polls have been a way to demonstrate that loyalty. Each time the restaurant reaches out for ideas, the post is met with emotional pleas for them to stay in Canton.

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