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Inside the Tamale Boy Brick-and-Mortar, Now Open

[Avila, 4/1/14]

After years operating a mobile food cart and catering company (under the name Mayahuel Catering), Jaime "Tamale Boy" Soltero opened his brick-and-mortar tamale spot, Tamale Boy, last month in NE Portland.

Here now, a look inside the 35-seat space: Los Angeles-based artist Steven Lopez just wrapped up work on the sprawling dining-room mural, which depicts the Mayan goddess Mayahuel, and after ordering at the counter (whose overhead menu was inspired by the look of a vintage lunch counter), guests can settle in at a long, central communal table, or face NE Dekum at a window seat. But once Tamale's Boy outdoor patio comes into the equation — come warmer months, guests can enjoy fire pits and an outdoor bar — the Woodlawn space can easily seat 184 guests.

On the menu, Soltero and fellow chef Abel Hernandez offer their take on "casual Mexican street food," which translates to both banana leaf and cornhusk-wrapped tamales: the former arrive filled with cochinita pibil and chicken mole negro, the latter stuffed with pork in chile verde or pasilla Peppers (all are inherently gluten-free and dairy-free). Also on offer: tacos, burritos, $2 miniature tamales, and sides like refried beans, Mexican rice, esquites, and "dessert tamales" filled with strawberry and chocolate. At the bar, patio drinkers can order melon-mint margaritas, hibiscus iced tea (spiked with mezcal, naturally), and tamarind whiskey sours, in addition to beer, wine, and horchatas.

Tamale Boy is open now (and yes, Soltero still operates the mobile catering company). Hours of operation: 11a.m. to 9p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10a.m. to 10p.m., Saturday, 10a.m. to 3p.m., Sunday.
· Tamale Boy [Official site]
· All Previous Tamale Boy Coverage [Eater PDX]

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