Mama Ninfa's

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Mama Ninfa's restaurant is a Houston, Texas-based restaurant chain. The chain serves Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine.

Mama Ninfa's is located in Arlington, Beaumont, Bellaire, College Station, Dallas, Houston, Rosenberg, and Waco in Texas, Baton Rouge and Shreveport in Louisiana, and Atlanta, Georgia.

It was started by Ninfa Rodríguez Laurenzo, a Mexican-American woman. She and her Italian-American husband, Tommy Laurenzo, opened a tortilla and pizza dough factory in Houston's East End in 1948. By 1973, Laurenzo suffered financial problems, so she opened a restaurant with borrowed money. The restaurant, Ninfa's, became immensely popular to the point where the tortilla factory closed down, and that Laurenzo became a full-time restauranteer.

The chain expanded rapidly, which proved to be a poor business decision. Ninfa's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1996, and accused its largest creditor, foodservice supply giant Sysco, of overcharging for materials. In 1998, the chain was purchased by Serranos Cafe and Cantina. The Laurenzo family is no longer involved in the business, and Ninfa Laurenzo died on June 17, 2001 of bone cancer.

The restaurant chain had expanded to about forty restaurants at its peak, and it went as far as Leipzig, Germany. The Leipzig restaurant, which was operated under license by Houston businessman Eckart Wieske, was bought by the bank that lent Wieske money. The expenses were too high for Wieske to handle, despite the good business.

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