Its name may be a mouthful but Ana Espinoza hopes her new venture on Broadway will follow in the footsteps of another restaurateur across the street she hopes to emulate.
“I always wanted to be near Tacos Chukis,” Espinoza told CHS Tuesday afternoon about the any day now opening of her A & A Cafe Organic Tamaleria Cider House in the 200 block of Broadway E next to the post office.
“Simple, very humble, affordable.”
Let’s add delicious. Espinoza’s new, about to open restaurant will bring recipes of the original A & A from Everett to Capitol Hill’s main drag on Broadway taking over the lease she bought from the partners behind Aloha Cup Bap. Both of the Hill area outlets of that poke venture are now shuttered.
A & A’s tamale recipe is about family and generations of learning — and balance. “We got to the point where we perfected it,” she says. “It has to be the right combination of meat and masa.”
That recipe will include a wide array of tamales including standards from mother-in-law Maria Lourdes Nunez’s kitchen like pork, beef, and chicken, plus specialities like jalapeno cheese, zucchini squash, and sweet offerings like pineapple or mango. All are made with organic ingredients when available. And all are made with experience that now spans back four generations.
Espinoza says she may also brave Broadway’s daytime hours and, like the Everett original, feature some morning appropriate hot beverages like atole de nuez if the demand holds up for 7 AM to 7 PM hours.
A & A could have company. Newly opened Rondo from the Suika family of restaurants opened earlier this month on the block with an emphasis on lunch and early dinner.
At A & A, Espinoza also hopes to bring Everett-level prices to Capitol Hill — $3.50 per tamale, or a dozen for $30.
But Espinoza is also set to bring a bit more.
Some of it is special touches will be simple like more options for unique toppings to accompany the tamales.
But others are new directions for this A & A. In Everett, Espinoza runs the business with Lourdes Nunez who prefers to keep things more in the old ways. On Broadway, Espinoza is branching out on her own and adding something new to the popular tamale offerings.
Once the liquor license is in, A & A’s Capitol Hill tamaleria will feature a selection from another Everett original — Soundbite Cider. While Mexico isn’t exactly known for its ciders, Espinoza hopes the lighter, crisp flavors pair with the balanced A & A tamales. She met Soundbite’s owners as customers and is now excited to make their creations part of her menu.
A & A still remains very much a family affair. Espinoza’s husband –and Lourdes Nunez’s son — Augustin Carbajal is a general contractor and is heading up the transition from the previous poke restaurant. After getting the keys only last week, Espinoza says she has hopes of making her debut this week with a limited menu and no liquor license, yet — if the snow and ice don’t get in the way.
“We’re a big family,” Espinoza said, adding, “tamales bring families together.”
If it all works out, you’ll find the A & A Cafe at 212 Broadway E. Check out the original’s Facebook page for updates.
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