TACO MAC TURNS 40 IN STYLEJuly 17, 2019
Taco Mac turned 40 years old this year, having opened its first location on April 4, 1979. But unlike many who reach that milestone birthday, the Atlanta-based concept shows no signs of slowing down or becoming reflective. Instead, the thriving casual-dining brand known for its award-winning Buffalo wings, expansive selection of craft beers on tap and unparalleled sports-watching atmosphere marked the occasion by doing the same thing that has made it an Atlanta institution for four decades: turning the spotlight back on its loyal guests.
“Hitting 40 years, for us, isn’t about doing a victory lap,” says Taco Mac CEO Harold Martin, Jr. “We wanted to get everyone involved in the celebration and recognize the roles they play in our continued success. Taco Mac wouldn’t be here without the customers who’ve embraced us and made us a part of their lives over the years, so it was very important to us to make them a key focus of our celebration.”
To that end, on April 4, all Taco Mac locations offered its signature wings for 40 cents each all day long. And on April 15, the company hosted a 40th-anniversary “reunion party” at its Prado location, where current and former staffers and members of Taco Mac’s popular Brewniversity program enjoyed food, entertainment, the chance to win prizes and sample new cocktails and beers. All ticket proceeds from this event were donated to Taco Mac’s long-time charity partner Camp Twin Lakes, renowned for providing life-changing camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities and other challenges.
Taco Mac staff members also helped develop new wing sauces to add to the company’s menu during an internal Wingman Competition, in which teams from each location created their own sauce recipes. A panel of industry experts selected the winning sauces, while guests voted online to determine a people’s choice winner.
Most significantly for Martin, guests were invited to submit their favorite Taco Mac memories via the Taco Mac website for the chance to win $40 gift cards.
“We had dozens and dozens of responses,” Martin says. “We had a family in Peachtree City, the Ramthuns, who came to Taco Mac to watch their favorite football team and developed relationships with the staff. Then there was the couple who shared the story of their first date at Taco Mac—they’re happily married today. All of these memories of prized moments really drove home for us that we aim to be more than just a great place to have a beer and some great food while you watch a game. If you treat people like family and serve them high-quality food, they will make you a part of their lives.”
It’s that attention to customers and community that earned Taco Mac the honor of having Thursday, April 4 named Taco Mac Day by the Atlanta City Council, along with an official proclamation bestowed during a council meeting at Atlanta City Hall on April 15. But Martin and Taco Mac aren’t resting on their laurels; the brand rolled out a revamped menu at all 26 Taco Mac locations in May.
Taco Mac’s philanthropic efforts and generosity also continue to grow. In July, the company presented Camp Twin Lakes with an annual fundraising check for $75,846, which included money raised during its 40th Anniversary reunion party and from a portion of kids meal sales throughout the year. Taco Mac employees also manned the telephones for 680 The Fan’s 2019 Radiothon benefitting Camp Twin Lakes and donated lunch to fellow Radiothon volunteers on July 13.
“We’ve grown from a couple of guys opening a wing restaurant in Atlanta’s Virginia-Highland neighborhood to Atlanta’s No. 1 spot to enjoy your favorite foods, discover the best craft beers on draft and experience unmatched Southern hospitality,” Martin says. “And as long as we continue to offer that, the sky’s the limit. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 40 years bring!”