Tasty Tamales

Tamales Mary serves up some delicious traditional fare.
Tacos, tamales or chips and salsa are among the options for a quick and affordable lunch at Tamales Mary. Photo by Bryan Esler

With costs rising at restaurants across the country, it’s refreshing when a spot offers up affordable, yet delicious cuisine.

That’s why Tamales Mary, 1551 Wealthy St. SE and 1253 Burton St. SW, is a must-stop for a quick bite to eat.

For starters, the name is a great way to indicate the first order at Tamales Mary: tamales. They come in three flavors: spicy chicken, pork, beef, bell peppers & cheese, jalapeños & cheese, pineapple and strawberry. A tamales meal drops in at $7.99 for two tamales, rice and beans.

The tamales are made by a fantastic women named, you guessed it, Mary. Mary Martinez immigrated to the United States at 17 and worked at the Grand Rapids taco staple Tacos El Cuñado, which eventually started selling her tamales. Now, at her own restaurant, she makes more than 900 tamales every day.

Word on the street (Editor’s note: our word) is the tacos are excellent as well; including steak, al pastor, chicken and chorizo.

The Wyoming location has a more extensive menu, including a lunch buffet. It also offers up a tamales meal special $6.99 daily 3-9 p.m.

Photo by Bryan Esler

If the already affordable prices weren’t enough, Tamales Mary in Eastown has weekly specials that help fill up stomachs affordably. The weekly specials are:

Tuesday: Tacos, three for $8.

Wednesday: Tamales, three for $8.

Thursday: Large quesadillas, $8.

Friday: Tostadas, three for $8.

Saturday: Free chips and salsa with any meal.

Beyond the tamales, tacos and specials, the restaurant also offers up elote, the incredibly tasty corn on the cob covered in butter, mayonnaise, cotija cheese and tajin. For dessert, grab some of the flan.

Once the Mexican cravings have been satisfied a few times at Tamales Mary, there’s also a great option to feed a crowd. It is just $30 for a dozen tamales.

Tamales Mary also has a food truck and offers full event catering.

This story can be found in the May/June 2022 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here

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