Famed La Popular tamale house opens pop-up at Dallas foodie hot spot
In a move that will please tamale fans, one of Dallas' leading tamale players is launching a second pop-up location that will be open throughout the holidays.
La Popular Tamale House, which has been serving tamales since 1984, will open a satellite called Dallas Tamale House, at the newly trendy intersection of Bryan Street and Fitzhugh Avenue, directly across the street from Jimmy's Food Store and Urbano Cafe, at 4823 Bryan St.
Owner Jesse Moreno says they're doing the pop-up in order to accommodate a growing demand. They'll open on November 15.
"All our our tamales are handmade to order and we need more space to be able to keep up with the demand, especially during the holidays," he says. "We learned about this space being available and it's in East Dallas. We always stay in East Dallas."
Once upon a time, La Popular was located at the corner of Columbia and Munger Road, but in 2015, Moreno and his father Jesse Sr., moved the operation to Peak & Elm, their restaurant at 132 N. Peak St.
The holidays can be overwhelming, and La Popular has always been one of the few places that thoughtfully stays open on Christmas Day to meet our holiday tamale needs.
Their standard flavors are beef, chicken, and pork, but they offer numerous seasonal and specialty flavors, including two popular vegan-friendly options, one with onions, pepper, and corn, and one with pinto beans and jalapeno.
The holiday season kicks off with pumpkin tamales, already available now for Thanksgiving, which they follow up with sweet potato tamales two weeks later. And their black-eyed pea tamales, an ultra-clever vegan-friendly tamale filled with black eyed peas, onions, and bell pepper, have become a New Year's Day tradition.
They're giving the pop-up space an artful makeover. That includes the addition of a mural that will serve as an instagram-friendly backdrop for people visiting during the holidays.
"It says 'Wrapped With Love,' and shows tamales with the corn husk," Moreno says. "We feel like it speaks to today's political climate where we want harmony, peace, and love, and it would be a cool place for families if they want a photo for their holiday cards."
In addition to Jimmy's, this intersection is blowing up with new places including the pickle store Pickletopia and Khao Asian Street Food.
"One thing that I get from a lot of customers who come in from the suburbs is that they tell me they stop by Jimmy's so hopefully this is a one-stop shop," he says.
He also has some collaborations in the works with his neighboring businesses, including the little convenience store next door.
"They have a nice selection of Mexican beers, so if you could come by for tamales to go, you could get beer to match," he says.
The location in the past has been home to a number of concepts that have come and go including a pizzeria and a taqueria but nothing has lasted very long.
"We're doing a short-term lease," Moreno says. "The main thing we'll do is tamales, but we'll have a few tables inside if you're waiting for a big tamale order, and if you want to sit down and have lunch, you'll be able to do that, too."
Hours of operation at the pop-up will be Thursday-Sunday 7 am-7 pm. During the week of Thanksgiving and during the week of Christmas, it'll be open 7 days a week.
Starting the week of Thanksgiving, the Moreno family's special salsa and other special holiday items will also be available for purchase on their website at DallasTamaleHouse.com.
They'll also offer breakfast tacos. "We're coming up with a very nice breakfast taco that includes Jimmy's famous sausage, so we're really keeping it local," he says.