Type: Vegan Friendly
I had heard about a Tamale place called Pilars in Warren that does not use lard in their Tamales and got very excited! I finally made a point to go there for dinner shortly before they were to close (they close relatively early for dinner; at 6:00PM Tuesday thru Thursday and at 6:30 on Friday and Saturday).
We were greeted by Juan, the owner of Pilars and his adorable son. The restaurant is small, with only a few tables. We went to the counter to order tamales. I ordered one vegan black bean tamale and one tempeh tamale. The homemade tamales both come covered with delicious homemade sauce and served with a side of curtido (similar to cole slaw). Juan also gave us several levels of hot sauces to add to the tamales in case they were not spicy enough. Although my tamales were delicious all by themselves, I did try each of the hot sauces which were a bit too spicy for my liking.
Other items on the menu include:
Pupusa – handmade tortilla filled and grilled.
Quesedilla dessert (Vegetarian)
Chocolate Chip Bliss Bar - Vegan
Juan told us that his tamales are a traditional Salvadoran recipe, his homeland which he left in 1984 at the young age of 14. Juan and his wife Sandy, who is also a yoga instructor along with other relatives work at the restaurant. Although they always have a variety of tamales on the menu, Juan told me that during the summer and fall months, they will use whatever vegetables (such as squash varieties) happen to be fresh in their tamales, particularly the vegan tamales. Juan also said that his sister had opened the original Pilar's in Ann Arbor on Liberty which is still in operation. Pilars also sells their food at the Royal Oak Farmer's Market. I was very impressed with the taste of the tamales as well as the price.