Still from the documentary by Truly CA

In the Mission, Virginia Ramos known as “the Tamale Lady” to most is something of a legend.  

For some residents and bar goers, the love began when she showed up at late-night locales to feed tipsy patrons. And, after the Health Department shut down her visits to Zeitgeist, the love seemed to grow. “I Heart The Tamale Lady SF” stickers can still be spotted around the Mission.

Ramos became the center of a documentary by Filmmaker Cecil B. Feeder, recently released online as part of KQED Arts’ “Truly CA” series.

Feeder called on San Francisco’s music community to submit 30-second songs about Ramos’ cultural impact and culinary talent in different music styles.

From Yo Tengo Hambre (I’m Hungry) to “Virginia,” from rock to hip hop, Feeder received more than 50 submission varying in humor and creativity. They serve as the background for the documentary that tells about Ramos’ life and craft.

With the support of District 9 Supervisor David Campos’ office and guidance from the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), Ramos is in the process of opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant near the corner of 16th and Mission streets following her eviction from Zeitgeist.  

Those plans seem to be moving slowly, and it is uncertain when her restaurant will be ready to open its doors. Ramos is also a Mission landlord tasked with managing a four-plex located at 3175 24th Street since 2008 the maintenance of which has been slightly lacking, according to residents. 

MEDA said in a statement that the project is currently under construction so the organization “does not have much input at this point.”

Ramos could not be reached for comment, but Hillary Ronen, legislative aide for Supervisor Campos’ office, said that the plans have not been dropped.

“We should have an announcement and opening very soon,” said Ronen. “Construction is underway, and project managers are working with Ramos on the restaurant.”

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