Tamales Mary to open location in Eastown

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The husband-and-wife owners of Tamales Mary are opening their second location in Eastown.

Mary Martinez and Humberto Alvarez, owners of Tamales Mary at 1253 Burton St. SW in Wyoming, said Monday that they are expanding their restaurant business by adding a second location at 1551 Wealthy St. SE in Grand Rapids’ Eastown neighborhood.

The approximately 2,000-square-foot space formerly housed a Spoonlickers franchise. Renovations on the facility are currently underway with a projected opening date of mid-to-late January.

“We are very fortunate to have the support of our customers and our community, which has allowed us to continue growing,” Martinez said. “Since opening our current location in Wyoming, I had always had a vision of owning more than just one Tamales Mary, so this is very exciting for our family.”

Martinez credited her customers and employees for the restaurant’s growth. She also thanked Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and the city of Grand Rapids for providing additional financial resources to help grow Tamales Mary’s sales and expand the brand during the last two years, Martinez said, included a DGRI grant to lease and operate an eco-friendly mobile food cart in 2018 and 2019, which allowed Martinez to serve downtown and other areas of Grand Rapids.

“This really gave us quite a push in areas we could not have reached and allowed us to serve customers who were not familiar with us. This has been an important part of our growth,” she said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, operating the food cart became nearly impossible, Martinez said.

“We’ve adapted over these past few months, tightened our operations and continued offering our full menu while abiding by all health regulations, and fortunately, our loyal customers have stuck with us,” she said.

Despite the pandemic, the couple decided to explore the opportunity for their second location when they were made aware of its availability.

“We work hard, we believe in our community and we’re ready and excited to serve the Eastown community,” Martinez said.

More information on Tamales Mary can be found at tamalesmary.com.

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