Oakland Mad Mex to close temporarily due to staff shortages


TPN File Photo

Mad Mex’s Oakland location, located on Atwood Street, closed on Sunday because of short staff but will reopen next spring.

By Diana Velasquez, Culture Editor

Mad Mex’s Oakland location had its last night of business on Oct. 31 and will remain closed for business until the spring due to recent staff shortages.

The restaurant is a part of Big Burrito Restaurant Group, which owns all of the Mad Mex locations, as well as other restaurants in the Pittsburgh area such as “Alta Via,” “Soba” and “Umi.”

Bill Fuller, president of Big Burrito Restaurant Group, said the Atwood Street restaurant’s temporary closure is due to an overall staffing shortage in restaurants occurring around the nation. But the Oakland location, in particular, slows down around November.

“Very soon in the cycle of the year, we’ll enter into like a slower time once the students start to go away,” Fuller said. “We’ll be pretty slow there until they come back. So you have that November, December, January period, where it’s pretty quiet at Mad Mex, Oakland.”

The Oakland location was short of a few managerial positions at the time of its closing, according to Fuller.

“At closing, we were short a manager and a kitchen manager, and one or two other employees. We’ll add employees for those,” Fuller said. 

The Mad Mex locations in Shadyside and at the Waterworks get busier during the winter months, according to Fuller, and often those locations require a larger staff to handle the workload.

Fuller said all current employees of the Oakland location were offered positions at one of the other Mad Mex locations in Pittsburgh. 

“Our logic is during that quiet period, we move the employees to Mad Mex Shadyside or Mad Mex Waterworks to help bolster those staff. Everybody was offered a job and everybody accepted a job from Oakland, except for one employee that chose not to transfer,” Fuller said. “And then hopefully, as we come out of it into the new year and [become] able to get some more staff, rebuilding back in Oakland.”

Fuller said some of the staff will spend the winter months doing maintenance on the inside of the Oakland location. He said the location has great importance to the Mad Mex family, and they are determined to re-open in the spring and keep the location going. 

“That Mad Max was our first restaurant, our first location. It’s the birthplace of Mad Mex. The birthplace of what’s becoming our 20-year restaurant company. It’s a real important place in our hearts,” Fuller said. “And so we really look forward to getting back there and serving people burritos and margaritas.”