Tamale Boy offers a delicious, healthy and affordable alternative to the usual Mexican fare. With plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, our menu features ingredients from the best local Northwest produce and meats.
Interview with Jaime Soltero/ Owner
Our name, Tamale Boy, came from the public. Our tamales were a huge hit but our business name, Mayahuel Catering, was too difficult to remember. So they started calling me ‘Tamale Boy”.
During that period, food carts started to take more of a hold in the Portland market. I decided to adapt my van to sell tamales out of, bringing a product that is affordable for everyone, healthy and filling to eat.
Taking It To The Streets
At first, I just started going to busy intersections and posting up, putting my name out there. I began to connect with my catering customers and business owners who asked me to park at their locations. Local TV station KPTV was a huge supporter, as was the owner of Elliott and Associates who allowed me to park in front of their Tigard office building.
Besides selling to the public, attending local Portland events grew demand. People wanted to get tamales all the time, but we were still catering. Yelp helped really put us on the map. They voted us as the Best Dish of the Year 2012. From the top chefs and other restaurants in Portland that I respect, that was really special for us.
Now events go hand in hand, which allowed me to grow and save money to create a storefront for our fans.
Our Family Tradition
The product is amazing. From people who never had tamales before, to those who disliked them previously, and to abuelas and tias who have made them, our tamales bring back memories. They shine.
We make our tamales with original ingredients and the process is unique to Tamale Boy. We never skip a step. My tias make them and the recipe and technique has been passed down in our family for years. It’s tradition that makes them so special.
For The Love of The Tamale
At Tamale Boy, we are true to ourselves. We put out a product where we have fun, work hard doing it and we treat our employees well. Even during production with chef and my tias, we are doing everything right, we’re proud of our work. Our philosophy is to do well, because it’s a representation of us personally.
When you are sorrowed and feeling down, something that is comforting and familiar grounds you, lifts your spirits. When things are good, tamales are a big part of special events and prevalent in the Mexican culture. Our tagline is special to us because in good or bad times, our food is comforting, something that you can fall back on.
A New Home for Tamale Boy
The new restaurant/kitchen is finally a place where we can call “home” to make the tamales. There’s so much we can do in our new space and new flavors to try like fresh, locally sourced Pacific Northwest ingredients Hood River pear and Rogue Creamy blue cheese. Or make it funky and creative, like peanut butter and jelly tamale. They are so versatile! We want to put tamales on the map! Everyone does tacos and burritos – The tamale won’t be left behind!