Good Golly Tamale Returns Home

Good Golly Tamale, 112 South Central Street, Knoxville, October 2019

There was a great deal of excitement four years ago when Good Golly Tamale announced plans to move from a cart-only operation to a permanent store-front location at 112 South Central Street in the Old City. Last April they made a temporary move across the street and down the block to 123 South Central Street. The move was intended to last a few weeks, but weeks turned into months, and summer turned to fall.

The local favorite for all things tamale was forced to move in order to allow their permanent building to be renovated. The second and third floors are being converted to apartments, and construction should be finished in the next few weeks. The building, owned by Thomas Boyd, has been brought into compliance with current codes for accessibility and safety. Other small changes included moving the HVAC to the rear of the building, changing the stairs, and rearranging the kitchen a bit.

Good Golly Tamale, 112 South Central Street, Knoxville, October 2019
Good Golly Tamale, 112 South Central Street, Knoxville, October 2019

It might be hard to notice the changes as you enter the restaurant. There are some new paint colors. The counter has been moved further out and seating has been added along one side. The door to the restrooms is wider as required by current codes. A new sprinkler system has been added at the mezzanine level, which is also used for storage.

Matt Miller, owner and chief tamale maker, says as exhausted as he is from the back and forth, the time spent at the temporary location wasn’t so bad. He liked the spot, and most customers did as well, despite the heat and the outdoor seating. There was really no choice as the power had to be off in the permanent location during much of the renovations. Matt added that Thomas suspended their rent and paid for the renovations, some of which benefit his business.

You’ll also notice quilts hanging on the wall in the renovated space. As with most things Matt does, there was thought in hanging the quilts. He said he loves the fact that quilts come together from scraps to make something beautiful. They also represent hard work, warmth, and comfort. He’s had an image of one of his grandmother’s quilts on his business card from the beginning. He’s hoping for a warmer environment than he feels he had before.

Good Golly Tamale, 112 South Central Street, Knoxville, October 2019

There will likely be small changes in the coming weeks and months as the staff settles back into the spot. Keg beer is on the way, and evening hours are likely to be added before long.

Matt is also looking for a few new staff members. He needs someone willing to ride the bicycle to Market Square and work there. If you think you’d like to work with Matt and Good Golly Tamale, email a resume to For the rest of us, carry on as usual: Get your fresh tamales today at the original home of great tamales in the Old City.

Discover more from Inside of Knoxville

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading