Alicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas

Meet Alicia Villanueva, the owner and founder of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas, a restaurant dedicated to bringing authentic Mexican tamales and other dishes to the Bay Area. As a child, Alicia would stuff tamales with her mami y abuela in Mazatlan, Mexico where she honed her skills in the long-held tradition of tamale making.

Soon after moving to the United States in 2001, Alicia knew she wanted to connect her story and heritage to the people around her. Alicia immediately thought of tamales and started selling them door to door making up to 500 tamales in a single week. Alicia recalls cooking the night before, going to work and then after work going door to door introducing herself and her tamales. Of course, she would bring one of her sons, Peter Jr. to help her out as her cashier (video). Over time the business grew and now she makes over 40,000 tamales a month! Her tamales have been sold in Whole Foods stores across the state and she continues to grow her business.

Recently, she’s begun cultivating partnerships with local grocery stores like Berkeley Bowl Marketplace, UC Berkeley Student Market, Coffee Cultures, and the Chase Center! With the new opportunity of being in the Chase Center, Alicia’s Tamales would’ve sold amazingly had the NBA season not been shut down by the coronavirus. Despite that, she’s been able to maintain her employees and continue moving forward.

With everything going on it’s understandable that restaurant websites are not getting maintained or updated regularly. So it’s particularly striking that on Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas about page, there’s a note from Alicia that expresses her gratitude to her supporters, donors, and mentors. She also goes out of her way to thank her husband Pedro, and their three kids Peter, Pablo, and Grecia.

Alicia Villanueva is an incredibly hard-working woman, mother, and entrepreneur. Keep your eye out for her tamales in stores and in La Cocina’s Community Food Boxes.


We hope you enjoy these deliciously prepared dishes made by La Cocina-born businesses. By buying a La Cocina Community Food Box, you are providing a lifeline to our restaurant businesses that are severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 100% of the revenue from the food box goes back to the businesses making the food. As a community, we are grateful to be able to continue to feed you. Thank you for your support!

Food production is considered an “Essential Business” and is exempted from the State’s order to shelter in place.  All food is produced in kitchens that observe the safety order guidelines, and as always adhering to food safety standards.

All food is produced in facilities that may process all the key 8 allergens.

To find these amazing food makers and restaurants again, view our business map: https://lacocinasf.org/eatatlacocina

Please consider supporting La Cocina businesses in weathering this health & economic crisis by donating to the La Cocina Emergency Relief Fund. Go to: www.LaCocinaSF.org

← Previous Profile Next Profile →

Comments 0

Leave a comment