“What makes Tommy Tamale very unique ... is that nobody does tamales every day,” Mota said.
Tamales are traditionally available only during the holidays or more sporadically throughout the year from mom-and-pop shops, he said. While the holidays are still the most popular time for tamales, Mota said, people who find them at Tommy Tamale tend to come back.
“We get so busy through the holidays that we have hundreds of new people come in,” Mota said. “That’s just another regular that comes in from here on out.”
The Coppell location was the restaurant’s first expansion from its original Grapevine storefront. After nearly two years of business, the Coppell tamale spot continues to gain recognition by taking part in Foodsby, a lunch ordering service, and by offering fresh takes on tamales.
Most of their sales come from their 16 varieties of tamales, including frozen beef, pork, chicken, veggie and dessert tamales, Mota said. Six of these varieties are kept hot and ready to eat at the restaurant.
“The favorite is going to be the tamales, right?” Mota said. “Then, we do our own twist of that: quesadillas with tamales in them, if they want, or a burrito with tamales crushed up inside.”
Mota joined the Tommy Tamale team after nine years of experience with a big chain restaurant. He began his employment with the tamale restaurant with a handshake rather than a contract.
“I really respected that,” Mota said.After managing in Grapevine, he became the general manager of the Coppell store.
Keeping Tommy Tamale a family business remains important for every location, Mota said.
“We’re family-owned and -operated,” Mota said. “I’ve got nieces and kids that work for me; the owners have their grandkids and kids that work for them. And that’s how we’re going to keep it.”