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Local tamales restaurant struggling to hire workers for new location

Posted at 10:58 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 22:58:35-04

EASTOWN, Mich. — Tamales Mary, a popular tamales restaurant in Wyoming, is about to open their second location. They currently offer 18 flavors, including some dessert tamales.

Owner Maria de la Luz Martinez learned how to cook tamales from her mother. Three of the flavors are her mom's own recipes.

"I learned how she had the love for cooking, and I learned to to make tamales because I love tamales," said Martinez.

That passion is now leading Martinez to open a second location off of Wealthy in Eastown. Her daughter spotted the "for lease" sign in the window.

"She was like, 'Hey, Mom, I’m pretty sure you would do good business over here to put Tamales Mary over here.'"

So Martinez decided to go for it and plans to open sometime next week once the restaurant passes the health inspection. However, Martinez is struggling to find workers that have experience or are available.

"Right now, it’s very, very difficult because people don’t want to work right now. They don’t want to work in this time."

So far, they have only been able to fill about half of their open positions. For those who have applied, some are on unemployment and have asked for higher starting pay rates to offset what they will be losing in payments.

"A lot of them come here, and they [ask for] a lot of money per hour because they make a lot of money on the government. So it’s so hard for us. I can’t pay like 20 dollars per hour to be a cook."

Maria's family is planning to help her open the restaurant next week, once they pass the health inspection.

Already, customers are looking forward to having the new restaurant in town.

"People come knock on the door, 'Hey, when are you going to open? Or what is going to be your hours?' People are excited."

Tamales Mary will also have a food truck on Friday and Saturday outside of the Eastown location at 1551 Wealthy Street SE.

If you would like to apply for a position, you can email Maria and her team at tamalesmarygr@gmail.com. You can also visit their Facebook page.

Si hablas español, puedes ver y escuchar la entrevista aquí (If you are a Spanish speaker, you can watch the video here):

Tamales Mary Interview in Spanish

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