Mama Iguana’s Owner Discusses Reasons for Closing Springfield Location

riverfront biz

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – After just two years, Mama Iguana’s in Springfield has closed its doors.

Before that, Onyx Restaurant had a similar brief run in the same location, which begs the question: is the spot doomed to remain high turnover real estate?

When Mama Iguana’s opened in 2011, they were busy, but after The Big E in September of that year, business went soft.

Claudio Guerra is the owner of Spoleto Restaurant Group. He isn’t exactly sure why things didn’t work out in this location.

“Perhaps, it was the economy, perhaps the concept, perhaps the execution,” Guerra said.

But Guerra does believe that part of the problem is the space itself. While he thinks the location is good, the space is big, and he wasn’t able to consistently fill the 350 seats inside the restaurant.

“Part of the problem is the concept. If you have ten people that want to go out to eat, if one of them doesn’t like Mexican, they’re not going to a Mexican restaurant. So, I think maybe a restaurant that has a bigger, broader appeal would certainly be the right thing to do here,” explains Guerra.

Summer is the busiest time for a Mexican restaurant, so he stayed open for the season, hoping to make a-go of it, and Guerra gave himself a deadline with a few conditions.

“If I can’t infuse the place with more money, come up with a new concept, get a partner, or sell the place by October 1, then it would be time to close the doors,” Guerra explains.

According to a study by Ohio State University, almost 50 percent of restaurants fail by the second year, and about another 15 percent fail in their third.

For Mama Iguana’s, this riverside location was at least part of the problem.

While they may have had to close the doors for Mama Iguana’s Springfield, Guerra wants the public to know this has absolutely no baring on their other restaurants.

Gift cards from Spoleto Restaurant Group are good at any of their four locations, so you will still be able to use them at Spoleto in East Longmeadow and Spoleto, Pizzario Paradiso, and Mama Iguana’s – all in Northampton.


WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • alpinequeen

    Jack August?

  • medic3

    Jack August! There’s a blast from the past. Great! Now I want clam chowder….

  • alpinequeen

    There was one in Northampton with a fish market and then they opened up at Enfield Square and then it was a Chi Chi’s and then a steak house.

  • 123456

    I say the biggest factor is that unfortunately there is never parking available close to the restaurant!

    The spaces are packed with gym-goers, so someone has to *really* want to go to whichever restaurant occupies the particular location. Otherwise, they just end up walking to the one that’s closest to their parking space.

    Lazy, maybe but whichever restaurant is there, could maybe negotiate parking spaces with the gym next-door.