El Paso eatery says more people are opting for prepared tamales instead of making them at home

Coronavirus

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It’s tamales season, the time when families gather to make these traditional bundles of joy wrapped in a husk, but this year it won’t be possible.

Doña Lupita Tamales, in El Paso’s Upper Vallry, has been in business for more than 35 years and every holiday season, they see more people coming in.

“A lot of people come and buy a lot of dozens and just go drop some off with their families, since they can’t gather,” said America Sanchez, manager of Lupita’s, explaining how in previous years many would buy premade masa from them to make their own tamales.

Sanchez said tamales are a big part of her life since her grandpa started the business.

“It’s usually them putting the masa in the tamal, and us as kids, we would all help and we love making tamales,” Sanchez said.

She said she’s sad people can’t gather but she’s glad they can offer El Pasoans tamales that taste just like the ones created with an assembly line of people at home.

This year, the restaurant had a line of customers out the door and throughout the parking lot.

Sanchez said they figured the pandemic would reduce the number of people coming in for tamales, but it’s been the opposite this year. In fact, they have had to limit the number of customers inside the restaurant and ask everyone to social distance and wear masks.

The most requested tamal flavors are red and cheese tamales, with a recipe that keeps the customers coming back each year.

“Yes, we have always been faithful Lupita’s customers, for many many years,” said customer Martha Franco. “So we have been here every Christmas for the past 12 years.”

Sanchez said customers come from across the United States and even have some customers that request friends and family to ship dozens to them.

“We try to keep that homemade flavor — that’s why people really like the tamales,” Sanchez said.

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