A Taste Of Oklahoma: Tamale Boyz In Tulsa Brings Authenticity To Every Single Dish

In this week’s Taste of Oklahoma, Kristen Weaver shows us why Tamale Boyz wants its customers to feel like family— and brings authenticity to every single dish.

Wednesday, January 3rd 2024, 5:07 pm



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A business that started selling tamales out of a car has blossomed into a restaurant with a dedicated customer base that sells a whole lot more than just tamales.

In this week’s Taste of Oklahoma, Kristen Weaver shows us why Tamale Boyz wants its customers to feel like family— and brings authenticity to every single dish.

With a restaurant is called Tamale Boyz, the bar for that staple product is set very high.

Owner Abel Murrieta Ruiz said his family’s tamales have proven they live up to the hype.

“When I was younger, to pay the bills, every Friday night we would cook the meat and shred it that night. I hated it," said Abel.

That's how this started for Abel– selling tamales to anyone and everyone in as a teenager with the tamale master, his mother Elida Ruiz.

They moved to the US from Mexico when Abel was three.

“The tamale boy is here. I was a little kid that originated the name.”

A few years ago, Abel took his tamales to different parking lots to give away and get his name out there.

“We started with food stamps," Abel said. "The baggies we had were donated to us from a church.”

Abel expanded to a snow cone shack and sold out daily.

Then he expanded again and began cooking out of a food truck.

“Our fan base grew and grew and grew," he said. "It was just awesome.”

About a year and a half ago, Abel opened the restaurant Tamale Boyz southwest of downtown Tulsa.

“Everybody works in stations as teams.”

He bought the space next door as a warehouse and prep spot a few months later.

His brothers work beside him and his mother puts her heart and soul into their featured product.

“I say tamales are the Mexican sushi roll," he said "You can put masa as your rice, in the middle, chicken, steak, jalapeno cheese and bacon.”

Workers stock the salsa bar and finish prepping before the lunch rush begins.

Once doors open at 10:30, people begin pouring in.

There is a lot more to order than the tamales.

The birria tacos rival the most authentic out there. People on social media agree.

Abel gets creative by offering their iconic fried tamale and a tamale burrito.

“She said she makes 60 dozen a day.”

If you know of a restaurant we should feature please send Kristen an email to kristen.weaver@griffin.news

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