Mariana’s Tamales made a name for itself by word of mouth at local fairs and festivals long before opening a micro-restaurant in the Clarkston Heights.From the front it looks like a drive-through coffee shop in fire engine red. In the gravel parking lot behind you’ll find the dining room in a breezy pole tent structure. Festive decor — a portrait of the Madonna, a hat tree full of sombreros, pinatas, multicolored lawn chairs and tablecloths — distract from the fact you’re in a tent in a gravel parking lot.
It’s a distinctive atmosphere but what you go to Mariana’s for is plentiful helpings of authentic Mexican food and maybe a sweet iced horchata ($2) on a hot day.
Delicious homemade tamales come in traditional pork, chicken or ground beef, but if you call in advance you can special order lentil/vegan tamales or strawberry/dessert tamales ($3 each).
Tacos ($3) and fajitas ($8.99) are lunch and dinner staples, as are gigantic burritos with a choice of carne asada, pork, chicken, veggie or bean and cheese ($5 to $8). Make a burrito or tamale wet with the addition of green or red sauce and cheese for an extra $1.
Service is quick. You can also call in an order to go with homemade pico de gallo ($1.50 small /$3.50 large) and guacamole ($2 small /$5.50 large) on the side.
Mariana’s Tamales, 2535 Appleside Blvd., Clarkston, (509) 552-3517