Hot Tamale

Photography by Caleb Condit & Rebecca Norden.

Is it possible that a pottery shop, cafe and tamale vendor could be wrapped into one? Yes.

Richard Clifton, along with his mother, Kitty Jackson, his brother, Daniel Reynolds, and his friend Drew Thorson, purchased Three Bees Pottery and Coffee Shop (925 Southwest Blvd., KCK) from its original owners two years ago. They have since established it as a quaint coffee shop that just so happens to sell pottery—and that is also known for its authentic and exceptional tamales.

Inspired by his step-mother’s Mexican cooking, Clifton manages recipe development and frequently rotates the shop’s seasonal tamale offerings. The tamales are made with a masa recipe that comes from Clifton’s stepmom, who grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico. “A lot of people don’t realize that tamales are a really regional style food—much like BBQ,” Clifton says.  

Three Bees’ tamales are distinctively Northern Mexican tamales, and staff say its Mexican customers often say the tamales remind them of home. Three Bees offers eight staple tamales year-round, including pork, chicken, beef, cheese, veggie and a vegan option. 

However, it’s the strawberry tamale, made with fresh berries and a house-made strawberry jam filling and served with a strawberry puree, that stands out.

“Tamales are one of those foods that are a blank slate,” Clifton says. “You can put anything inside it you want. Three Bees also has a variety of seasonal dessert tamales. Recent options include a disassembled apple pie tamale and Calabaza en Tacha—a traditional pumpkin pie-style dessert tamale made during Dia de los Muertos.

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