March, 2019. Mesa-based restaurant group has acquired Macayo’s Mexican Food. Arizona’s favorite family-owned, Mexican restaurant group officially passed the torch of culinary tradition this morning in a deal with Kind Hospitality which outlines rights to the Macayo’s brand name, as well as six Valley locations of Macayo’s Mexican Food.
Kind Hospitality, the restaurant group known for its work in helping to create the recent culinary heyday of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, enters the agreement with the utmost respect for the Macayo name and dedication to growing the brand.
“The Macayo legacy in the Valley and beyond is something we take very seriously. The food, the atmosphere and the organization’s involvement in the community has been unparalleled and we absolutely intend to keep those traditions going on behalf of the Johnson family,” said Kind Hospitality Owner Nava Singam in a joint statement with wife, Leticia. “We also recognize that the people are the undeniable heart of the Macayo’s brand, some of which have been with the company for more than three decades. We appreciate and value that kind of dedication, and as such, all 400 Macayo’s Mexican Food employees will remain in their current roles.”
The Macayo’s name, which was introduced to Phoenicians in 1946 by Woody and Victoria Johnson with the modest, six-table Woody’s El Nido, has been an icon in the Valley for the better part of a century, and is widely credited with the invention of the chimichanga.
With two generations and 73 years of culinary excellence to their name, the Macayo’s legacy is currently led by Woody and Victoria’s children, Sharisse, Gary and Stephen Johnson, who will continue to operate Woody’s Macayo in Central Phoenix and Macayo’s Depot Cantina in Tempe.
“We are so grateful to all of the guests and teammates who have been a part of Macayo through these years; they are truly a part of our family. With what was started by our parents as just a dream over seven decades ago, it’s been an honor for us to be able to carry on their legacy across the Valley,” said Sharisse Johnson. “We all started working at a very young age, and as my brothers enter retirement, we are happy to be passing the torch to another local family business who we are confident will continue to uphold our Macayo traditions and honor our heritage.”
Kind’s plans for the six Valley locations of Macayo’s Mexican Food include renovations to existing restaurants with updated décor and color schemes while maintaining the flair and vibrancy that the brand is known for. Proposed growth strategies include additional locations at a smaller footprint of between 4,000 – 5,000 square feet; a departure from the organization’s current 7,000 – 8,000-sqare-foot locations.