WYOMING, Mich. — Hundreds of families in West Michigan are going to be enjoying a newer Thanksgiving Day staple this year: freshly made tamales.
The folks at Tamales Mary in Wyoming have held their annual pre-Thanksgiving special for the past three years, making thousands of tamales by hand in preparation for the big day.
Mary Martinez, owner of Tamales Mary, opened the doors to their Wyoming location at 11 a.m. prompt Wednesday morning, with more than a dozen people already lined up and waiting.
"We got here at 10:25," said Lee Dauber, who was first in line and picking up tamales for her son who was out of town, and has begun making a tradition of having tamales for Thanksgiving.
"He does it every year; they’ve done it the last two years."
Caitlyn Peer showed up a few minutes later at 10:40 a.m., saying she wanted to make sure she didn't miss out on a bag.
"I’ve been coming here for like 3 years now," she told FOX 17.
"I thought it would be nice to have for Thanksgiving, just something to switch it up a bit."
Peer wasn't alone in wanting to bring something slightly less traditional to her family holiday dinner this year.
“I'm so excited to see new people here, new faces, new customers,” Martinez told FOX 17 shortly after opening Wednesday
“I had customers who never tried a tamale, and I explained to them how to eat a tamale.”
Last year, they prepared 5,000 tamales for their annual special. This year, they upped that number to 7,000.
“They want to try different kinds of tamales… Some people come and say, Oh, I didn't know you can make a lot of tamales,” Martinez said.
They cycle through more than 300 flavors of tamale. On Wednesday, though, they were offering 10 to pick from.
Spicy chicken and pork are currently their top sellers.
“You can try something different, because the chicken is salty… and you can try the pineapple, the strawberry. Those are sweet tamales, but it's really delicious," Martinez said.
“I know once you try our tamales, you will love it forever.”
Tamales Mary is located at 1253 Burton St. SW in Wyoming.
They also recently opened a second location in the Eastown neighborhood, located at 1551 Wealthy ST SE.
Their pre-Thanksgiving day special runs until 5 p.m. Wednesday, or until they run out of tamales.
**Watch this story in Spanish here.**