Shortly after opening in Durham in 2007, Mami Nora’s restaurant caught on fire. After this unfortunate beginning, they bounced back, kept going and have not looked back. In 2010, Mami Nora’s opened a second location, this time in Raleigh on Wake Forest Road, where they focus on one main menu item: Peruvian rotisserie chicken.
My day job took me to this curious part of Raleigh where the residential sections outside of North Hills and Five Points become more commercial as one heads out to Capital Boulevard. Shaba-Shabu and The Melting Pot seem to be doing strong business a few blocks away, but with a mix of car dealerships and other assorted shops, this area certainly is not a culinary hotspot. Mami Nora’s large yellow building would stand out just about anywhere in Raleigh, but it seems oddly at home here.
I tried Mami Nora’s once at lunch and I was hooked: I kept coming back the week I worked in the area. I sampled a few of their daily specials. But, I kept coming back to the permanent menu dish that I review here: the quarter white chicken plate (breast and a wing) with a choice of two sides ($6.99). I chose tostones (fried green plantains) and black beans and rice. That is technically three sides, but the friendly and outgoing server was flexible with me and gave me a half-sized side of the rice and beans.
Mami claims the secret to the great chicken is their special marinade and the roasting process, which is accomplished with a charcoal oven imported from Perú. Whatever the secret may be, it works. The chicken is moist and flavorful, but not spicy. One of the specials I tried featured chicken off the bone. I prefer Mami Nora’s on-the-bone chicken; it retained the juices and flavor much better.
The black beans were good, and the tostones were a crunchy and filling treat that most local restaurants do not offer. This is a substantial lunch for $7. Mami Nora’s is now on my short list of casual restaurants in Raleigh, especially when I am in the mood for chicken.
2401 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, NC 27608