“I told her that we can’t have a tent and a table and not sell anything, so let’s do tamales,” Marshall says. “At first, everywhere turned us down, but eventually, Schlafly [Beer] said yes and there was instant buzz. Doing tamales was supposed to be a bridge until we got our produce going, but it turned into its own thing and is now beyond anything we could have expected.”
Five years later, the Tamale Man is a beloved farmers’ market mainstay with legions of fans seeking out Marshall for his food. Since that first year, he has revamped his recipes, added vegetarian and vegan tamales and has gotten busy with a robust catering business. Currently, he’s still cooking out of Ruiz’s kitchen, but he hopes that one day he will have a brick-and-mortar of his own with a commissary kitchen, order counter and market. (For the winter season, he's at Tower Grove Farmers' Market and Lake St. Louis Farmers' Market and hosting pop-ups at Goeke Produce Stand in Florissant and the Fruit Stand in Manchester.) He admits that this dream is still somewhat down the road, but it’s a goal worth working toward if for no reason other than increasing joy for his customers.