Biking down 3rd avenue on a windy Tuesday morning I began to work up a hunger and was on the hunt for something to eat. That’s when I noticed a large crowd huddled together in front of 300 East 116th Street, at the NE corner of East 116th Street & Third Avenue. Something smelled very good and everyone seemed to be smiling and enjoying, so I decided to indulge myself in whatever was being served over there. I was pleased to hear that the three woman standing there were serving up hot and fresh spicy tamales to the morning commuters, so I ordered one too. To drink on this cold morning, I also ordered a small hot cup of the sweet rice and milk. At a total of $2, the breakfast was a bargain.
I got to talking with Cathy, who was the youngest of the three women working at the shopping-cart now turned food-cart, and she told me that they have been running this business for a total of 14 years. Her mother, Lupita, who is about 5’1″ tall and radiates with a kind smile started the Tamale business and spent two years selling her products at 110th street and 3rd Avenue, before moving to 116th and Third. The women work 6 days a week, breaking on Monday to buy the ingredients they need and rest.
“We don’t know how many Tamales we sell every day,” says Cathy with a nice smile. “This is a family business and we don’t really keep track of that sort of thing. We just make as many tamales as we can with the ingredients that we have, and we sell out every day.” I was impressed that they have been in business for so long. “We also cater to parties and can make special orders,” Cathy added.
No wonder they were busy there that morning. Their product is very tasty, and certainly filled me up for a few hours. If you want to try it yourself, head on over Tuesday through Sunday to 300 East 116th Street. If you want to make a special order, call Cathy at 347-279-7443.
Lupita waves hello while serving up her homemade Tamales on 116th Street