Updated: New Ferndale restaurant prepares to open next week

Dora Ruiz and Tammy Look prepare to open their New Mexico Tamale Company restaurant on 3rd Avenue 2017-11-29
Dora Ruiz and Tammy Look pose in the kitchen just before opening their New Mexico Tamale Company restaurant on 3rd Avenue (November 29, 2017). Photo: Discover Ferndale
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No one can say the owners of the soon to open 3rd Avenue restaurant are new. While the New Mexico Tamale Company’s location at 5687 3rd Avenue will be their first permanent location, a reputation and large following has already been created as a result of their portable setups at farmers markets, community events and a high-traffic corner in Birch Bay.

Owners Dora Ruiz and Tammy Look say they are so excited yet humbled by the response their menu has received at their temporary locations in Birch Bay, Ferndale and Bellingham. “We couldn’t believe it was happening to us,” said Look. That support is what has driven them to invest in the permanent location as well as a food trailer. “Wherever we would setup, we would sell out, selling 50 dozen tamales in 2 hours,” Ruiz said.

“Many of customers take our tamale packs home and freeze them,” explained Ruiz. “That way they can have them at the ready for whenever. We sell a lot of our packs; 6-packs, 12-packs.”

The 3rd Avenue location, a previously renovated Quonset hut and former location of Good Burger, will serve as the commissary kitchen for their food trailer operations as well as serving ready-to-eat menu items for customers to take home or eat at the restaurant.

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Look said Ruiz’s late mother is the one to credit for the popular tamale recipes. “It’s just a very different and unique flavor. Many people in the area have not had tamales before so we get to educate them and introduce them to the other foods on the menu too.”

“It’s not a Tex-Mex. It’s not a Mexican food. It’s just straight-up New Mexico,” according to Ruiz.

Starting out, while there will be some seating, the primary effort will be to serve take-out customers. “Because it’s just us two and we can only handle so much,” explained Look. There are plans to hire help but that will depend on the community’s response they said.

The menu is available at the New Mexico Tamale Company website.

Restaurant hours will be 11am to 7pm. Call in orders can be placed to (360) 389-8841.

As of the writing of this story, Ruiz and Look expected to open Monday Tuesday, December 4th 5th, at 11am.

New Mexico Tamale Company restaurant exterior and sign on 3rd Avenue 2017-11-29
New Mexico Tamale Company exterior and sign on 3rd Avenue (November 29, 2017). Photo: Discover Ferndale

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