The story begins over seventy years ago, in 1926, when
Adelaida Cuellar's homemade tamales drew crowds at a
county fair outside Dallas, Texas.
Adelaida and Macario Cuellar immigrated to this country
from Mexico in the early years of this century. Like so
many people who have come here, they were looking for
a better life. And for that better life, they were willing to
work very hard. The Cuellars had a little farm in Kaufman
County where there was plenty of hard work for all, but
not very much money.
So Adelaida Cuellar decided she was going to open a little stand
at the Kaufman County Fair in that year, selling chili and tamales.
You have to understand, Señora Cuellar made the best chili
in the world and very good tamales.
Anyhow, the people who came to the fair ate them like they were going out of style.
But the truth of the matter is, they were coming into style.
The fair came to an end, but the demand for Mama Cuellar's
cooking did not. With the help of her twelve children, her
crowd-pleasing recipes and unlimited patience, she opened
a small cafe.
In 1940, five of her sons moved Mama's kitchen to Oak Lawn
in Dallas, Texas. They named the restaurant El Chico, and it
quickly became a Dallas tradition. It wasn't long before the
brothers built restaurants throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth
area and eventually, the entire state.
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