Mama’s Hot Tamales Café

Mama's Hot Tamales Café is an apprentice-operated business and job training restaurant that provides hands-on and classroom instruction designed to train low-and-moderate-income residents living within the central region of Los Angeles (that includes the MacArthur Park Area) in the disciplines necessary to begin a career path toward success in the culinary world. The Café has been approved by the County of Los Angeles Department of Health Services and the City of Los Angeles Building and Safety Department as a certified restaurant and food processing establishment which allows food items to be prepared, packaged, and sold to retailers.

Many residents prepare and sell foods within the informal economy as home caterers and street vendors. They prepare foods in their kitchens and sell them on the streets in make-shift carts and cater the foods to other neighboring families and local businesses. In addition, they sell other merchandise along side their foods such as jewelry, pillows, blankets, clothes, etc. and display them on sidewalks, walls, fences, parked cars, trucks, and vans that surround their food carts.

Under the watchful eye of Sandi “Mama” Romero, participants acquire the knowledge, abilities, and skills to pursue opportunities in the food service while working in Mama’s Hot Tamales Café. Featuring authentic presentations of regional dishes from throughout the Americas, this unique dining experience engages patrons as valuable participants in the education training process of our future food service professionals. It is worth noting that “Mama” has received local and national recognition as an expert in helping informal economy workers become formal food service employees and food service businesses.