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Aug 12, 2007 07:59 PM

Santa Maria Tamales

Last Friday around lunchtime I found myself headed north toward the 10th Street Vineyard Café in San Miguel. ( ) I was leaving Buellton and The Hitching Post II, where they still combine meat and fire in just the right way, even after the movie.

I found myself in need of some deliciousness. This was Friday, so the anything-but-standard charity run Santa Maria barbeques were not available. My handy list, made possible by the ability to cut and paste Chowhound bits (thank you Jacquilynne) was waiting patiently in my glove box for quick reference.

My recollection was fulfilled as I found a cryptic post stating “The Tamale Shop at Bettteravia and Blosser roads in Santa Maria.” This intersection was found with little problem, but sadly there was no tamale shop there, just a traffic light, some pavement, left turn lanes, cars, the usual stuff found in every other intersection in America. This was not a surprise.

On the corners were a McDonalds, (I hope they didn’t tear down the Tamale Shop) farm implement establishments, and industrial buildings. With no commercial spaces or strip centers visible from the eastern approach, I hazarded a left turn and went south; nothing there. I made a u-turn, headed north and made another left to the west; still nothing. Discouraged, I made another u-turn and headed north; still …. I made a discouraged u-turn to head back to the point of origin, and there it was; The Santa Maria Tamale Shop; hidden on the north face of an industrial building, with only one sign visible from the north (not visible from the intersection).

There, at 2115 Blosser Rd. in Santa Maria (with a telephone of 805-614-4171) was The Santa Maria Tamale Shop, a shining example of ChowHound deliciousness. In mid-afternoon they only had beef and pork tamales left, but what tamales they were. These were tasty representatives of south-of-the border flavor served with wonderfully flavored rice and homemade salsa on the side. The masa alone had the perfect balance of rich meatiness and corn goodness. If I only had been there before or during the lunch rush, I would have a better and more inclusive report on all the available tamales and sides, but I can recommend the place for soulful and delicious tamales.

Were I a more ‘houndly reporter I would have found whether they serve other meals, but I present the address and number for your ‘houndly enjoyment. I’m an eater, not a reporter. Long live food tours!

Santa Maria Tamale Shop
2115 Blosser Rd, Santa Maria, CA

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  1. Sorry for the mini-tour of industrial Santa Maria, phood :( I should have been more explicit in direction giving. But you persisted, in the best Chowhound tradition!

    It is a little tricky if coming from Betteravia (the most direct access from 101), but so worth it! I hope other traveling hounds will visit the shop and discover the Deliciousness:
    Take Betteravia exit from northbound 101, turn left. Proceed about 2 miles west on Betteravia to Blosser, turn right and get in the lefthand lane. At the end of the traffic divider, hang a U-turn into the curb lane and proceed a short distance to the entry driveway to Vinter's Park industrial complex (tin buildings) The Tamale Shop is the first business in the first building.

    If approaching along Blosser from the north, the single sign is visible. Perhaps there is some restriction on their permit, either with the city or with the center, which prohibits signage to be seen from the Betteravia/ Blosser intersection. It is an unexpected location for a food shop, and they could use another sign to be sure.

    At my last visit, they are still tamales only, didn't serve rice. But the tamale variety is wonderful. Note that they don't necessarily have all the varieties on any given day, but you may place a special order for any variety ahead of time (in some quantity of course). Still trying to decide on my favorite--a hard choice.

    link to previous post:

    thanks for taking the time to investigate and to write a report.


    2 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      What is it with Eat places in Industrial parks in Ca?
      I've noticed cafes in similar places in Roseville, Sactown and Redding too.
      Seems to be a California thing to me, as I don't remember experiencing this anywhere else.

      1. re: bbqboy

        They are pretty rare in this area. I think the need is there, but a restaurant needs more income than just lunch alone. This tamale shop gets most of its business from takeout of large (dozen-plus) orders all through the day as well as lunch, so it can survive "off the beaten track", in other words, not being in a retail neighborhood, or in a strip mall. Thye may have gotten their start there as a manufacturing facility that then sold retail. ?

    2. Well, finally tried the tamale place and I must admit I'm hooked. The funny thing is I work right accross the street (Blosser Ave). They have four kinds of tamales:pork,beef,chicken and jalapeno cheese. They're only $1.25 each,which is amazing. They're not large but filling and definitvely have more mass than a taco. The jalapeno-cheese tamales are amazing.
      The place is run by a Vietnam vet and his son, and the owner's military record is all on one wall, including a Bronze Star,paratrooper wings,military ID and pictures of the A-Shau valley in Vietnam. Very interesting.