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Friday, June 28, 2013

Tamale Lady Is Fundraising to Open Her Own Restaurant

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge Viva La Tamale Lady
  • Viva La Tamale Lady

San Francisco's favorite late-night grub guru may have been booted out of the bars where she would sell her famous tamales to drunk patrons, but that's not stopping her from cooking for the crowds.

Virginia Ramos, 60, officially launched her own Indiegogo account yesterday, seeking to raise $155,000 so she can open her own restaurant and continue sobering up San Francisco with her tasty tamales.

As readers probably recall, Ramos was banned from bars earlier this month because of city health codes, putting an end to her 20-year livelihood of peddling tamales to bar patrons across the city's Mission District.

Here's how she tells her story via her fundraising website:

Virginia Ramos is better known to the people of San Francisco as the beloved Tamale Lady.

In early 90s Virginia realized that her day job as a domestic worker cleaning houses was not earning enough money to send her 7 children to college.

Virginia learned to make Tamales from her Grandmother when she was growing up in Mexico - so to make extra money she began cooking tamales in her kitchen after her house cleaning work was done. During the evening she would fill an insulated cooler with her delicious tamales and travel from bar to bar selling a hot home cooked meals to hungry folks all over San Francisco.

Virginia is often referred to as an angel, a saint, or our Lady of the Tamales not just because she seems to miraculously appear when nightlife patrons need something to eat the most - but because she is known for her hugs, a shoulder to cry on, and her role as a surrogate grandmother to the people of the Mission - in fact she often wears a t-shirt that says "I don't know you but I love you".

Recently some of the bars Virginia works out of have been told they cannot allow her to sell tamales because she isn't permitted. Virginia, who just turned 60 this year, has stopped selling tamales to the community she loves.

Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission District, and thus tamales, has been working with Ramos to save her tamale business after he received a flood of calls from upset constituents who pride themselves on late-night noshing.

Campos reportedly joined Ramos on Thursday for her announcement, translating her words from Spanish to English. According to CBS News, Ramos said she wanted to keep feeding the masses because "it's not just about selling tamales, but being with the young people."

If you love the Tamale Lady as much as you love those tamales, here's your chance to keep them cooking. Donate here.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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