Some of the more enterprising restaurants aren’t just sitting by the phone waiting for takeout orders to come in. Instead, facing the prospect of going out of business, they are going out for business, targeting neighborhoods and turning takeout to bring-in cuisine.
4 Rivers Smokehouse is doing that. On the Saturday before Easter, the popular barbecuerie set up a van and tent in downtown Orlando’s Bel Air neighborhood where residents could pick up preordered dinner packages. It turned out to be a big hit with the neighbors.
And because the people who organized the pickup with 4 Rivers also invited the next-door neighborhood of Lancaster Park to participate, Lancaster Park returned the favor the following week when it arranged preordered pickups with the Tamale Co. Never mind that the rendezvous site in Lancaster was almost as close as Tamale Co.’s restaurant in the Hourglass District; it was a nice gesture nonetheless.
And I was happy to participate.
Ordering was to be done via email or phone, choosing from a menu that had been posted in the neighborhood Facebook page. It was a good thing that the menu was posted there because for some reason it is not on the restaurant’s website. (In a post-takeout call, a person answering the phone at Tamale Co. said that they were trying to get the menu on the website but the page designer is in Mexico and unable to do it. I’ll post the menu below.)
Already a fan of Tamale Co.’s food, I pretty much knew what I wanted to order. I got the tamale known as the Most Mexican, an order of Carne Asado Tacos and some chips and guacamole. Payment, including tip, was handled over the phone and a time for pickup was prearranged.
The food was packaged in recyclable cardboard clamshells and handed off in a plastic sack. The chips and salsa were in a separate paper bag.
The tamales were as good as ever. The Most Mexican includes one chicken and one pork tamale, both ample sized, drizzled with tomatillo sauce, sprinkled with cotija cheese and dotted with fresh cilantro. Refried beans and rice were served in the same clamshell, separated in their own divisions (though I always replate the food, as recommended by the CDC, discard the containers and wash hands before eating).
The tacos were equally as good, served in double corn tortillas, with plenty of meat topped with red onions, cheese and mild salsa, plus a lime wedge for squeezing. It also had rice and beans.
The guacamole was thick and pulpy and the chips were crisp.
Tamale Co. started as a food truck business, so it’s well suited to take its show on the road.
Tamale Co. is at 2411 Curry Ford Road, Orlando. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-203-6505. See menu below.