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Roosevelt Tamale Parlor Keeps it Real

Roosevelt Tamale Parlor. You've heard of it. You've thought about it. Well here's the address. Check it out next time you're up for a sweet little sit-down dinner on the cheap. It's a definite win-win dining situation at this tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the Mission's sunny southeast quadrant on 24th near Bryant, just a few doors down from the St. Francis ice cream fountain.

The owner's paternal grandmother, who hails from the tequila-producing Jalisco region of Mexico, is the source of the comfort foody recipes. The family's been running the place with this menu since the fifties, when they started from scratch after taking over from the previous owner. Yup, Roosevelt was the original owner's name, although we were hoping the name stemmed from some weirdly fanatical love of the Teddy and Franklin D. clan.

Top on the list is anything with the word "tamale" in it. The pork tamale, monstrous in size and savory to no end, is sauced magnificently with rich, reddish-brown glory, and it will send you straight to naptime should you indulge in the whole thing plus the accompanying pinto beans, rice and iceberg lettuce (oh yeah, got to love the berg). Go ahead, ask for a side of thick, fresh guacamole and sour cream. Take the nap. Feel good.

We recently walked in at 6:30 on a Saturday night with five people and found the huge center table (with room for 12) to be completely available, while all of the four-tops along each wall were booked with laid-back, nice-looking people from all walks of life enjoying Bohemia beers, steaming plates of Mexican comfort food, and quick conversation with the waiter. You may have to wait a few for your water to arrive, but the hot corn chips and fresh salsa that find their way to your table should suffice until then.