New Pilsen Tamale Shop Makes its Kickstarter Goal
PILSEN — A gourmet tamale shop reached its $30,000 Kickstarter Goal with two days still remaining.
Co-owner Jeni Wahl — a Cuban-American who started Dia De Los Tamales with her husband, Sam Wahl, and their friend Chef Keith Carlson — said they just completed construction on the space at 939 W. 18th St. and hope to be in the shop by late March or early April.
“We had our fingers crossed,” she said of the Kickstarter. “We’ve been working really hard.”
Last summer, the crew’s tamales could be found regularly at the Pilsen Community Farmers Market. In addition to Dia De Los Tamales, the trio also runs Get Off The Couch Catering, which has served musicians and others at events around the city for the past year and a half.
Both the companies will operate out of the 18th Street space.
As of Wednesday evening, the Tamale Kickstarter was at $30,631. The Kickstarter ends Friday at 8 p.m.
The most popular seller on the Kickstarter — a donation of $75 for two-dozen tamales along with a Dia De Los Tamales hooded sweatshirt — sold out completely, but Jeni Wahl said there are still great options remaining for tamale diehards.
The biggest donation — $5,000 for a catered private yacht trip — came from Richard Cole, a 40-year-old who dabbles in music promotion.
Cole and 24 friends will get wined and dined out on Lake Michigan, with limo transportation to and from the yacht for up to seven of those friends.
Cole, who met the Wahls through Get Off the Couch Catering several years ago, said he jumped at the chance to give their business a hand.
"Logistically it worked out at $200 a head. And I've been a witness to what amazing food they can produce," he said.
Cole said he made the trip to the Pilsen Community Market almost every Sunday last summer to grab a tamale from Dia De Los Tamales.
And, if you can't come up with $5,000, there are other options. For $400, get a tamale party for 40 people. Or $500 will get you tamales delivered to your doorstep for one year, and, if you’re still short on funds, $30 gets you a dozen tamales of your choice.