A sign on West 11th Avenue in west Eugene, Oregon proudly claims that this Mexican restaurant has the best tamales in town. Those are bold words for a recently opened business in a city with many Mexican restaurants and Plaza Latina, an international grocery store that makes its own tortillas, tortilla chips, and serves authentic Mexican lunches and dinners at the front of the store.
I was born and raised in Phoenix and Tempe in Arizona. I've tasted a lot of tamales made by a lot of different people and businesses over many years.
Our neighbors were of Mexican heritage and would bring us homemade tamales every Christmas. Every December we'd order several dozen tamales from a family-owned grocery store in nearby Guadalupe to consume at home after attending Christmas-eve services.
Tamales are typically eaten at special festivals and can be traced back to the ancient Mayan culture. They have a rich tradition in the American Southwestern culture of old.
Could Mami's Mexican Grill measure up to my high expectations when it comes to tamales? The answer is an unqualified "YES"! The pork, chicken, and dessert tamales have the consistency and taste that I remember from my youth.
The reviews on Yelp tend to agree - Mami's not only has great tamales, but also fresh and delicious Mexican meals.
A paragraph at the bottom of their menu board explains the philosophy behind this family-owned business:
What makes us different here at Mami's than any other joint, is that we promise our customers real, fresh Mexican food. That's all we serve. Nothing will ever sit overnight and be served in the morning.
From the streets of Mexico, to a little joint on West 11th, we will always treat our customers with respect and great service. Not because we have to, but because we want to.
We want all of you to taste and be satisfied with the best of real Mexican food. That's all my Mom ever wanted in Eugene. Finally, it has happened!
Does Mami's serve the best tamales in Eugene? You'll have to decide for yourself. Rita (aka Mami) Gonzalez, her two sons Oscar and Jose Carlos, her daughter Jessica, and Jose Carlos' fiancee Makenna are ready to take your order.