AUSTIN (KXAN) — For 41 years, Valerie Gonzalez’s family has channeled the art of crafting tamales into the San Antonio business, Delicious Tamales. Now, 40 years’ worth of recipes have made the trek north to Austin, with Delicious Tamales opening at 1931 E. Oltorf St., Ste. G on Monday.
However, as other businesses have noted during the pandemic, increasing restaurant openings and fewer applicants have made opening a new tamale shop — especially one during the holiday season — an interesting task, Gonzalez said.
“I do have a lot of positions that are open, which I’ve had to fill with current employees [from San Antonio],” she said. “I have employees that have been with me for over 25 years, and they love the Christmas holiday because they know they can get a lot of overtime, which is great. They are my extended family, so I take care of them all during the year.”
While tamales have become synonymous with the holiday season for many Central Texans, Gonzalez said she wanted to expand their popularity and help people see them as a year-round staple. Just as they can be a complementary addition to holiday meals, so, too, can they become go-tos for tailgates, barbecues and other festivities, she said.
While a San Antonio-based business, Gonzalez has her own personal ties to Austin. She lived in the city for a period of time and now her sister, niece and nephew — all Austin residents — will run the E. Oltorf storefront.
“It is a comfort food. It is a Hispanic food that has cut across all cultures,” she said. “And it’s just a great way to have it, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.”
With 13 different styles sold, Gonzalez said the recipes have been perfected over the decades, but she added her hope is that they still maintain that same nostalgia for those who grew up with the dish, or excitement for those trying them for the first time.
“It’s as close to homemade as your abuelita would make,” she said, smiling.