In fact, it’s not just tamale men who sell bar to bar. Sean reports having a torta man coming by in the past, selling his Mexican sandwiches around last call. And Ted Gerstle, a Bucktown resident, recalls a pizza guy who would come to bars and ask, “Who ordered the pizza?" "No one would pick it up, and he’d say, 'Well, I have this pizza here if anyone wants it... I guess I’ll sell it.’” Sure enough, people would buy. Sean nods. He knows him. “The guy works at Papa Romeo’s.”
According to Boban, although uncommon, turf wars are also real for the tamale men. “[A] door guy that I was talking to said that Claudio and another [tamale man] ran into each other at the same spot,” he recalls. “I don’t know if it was something to do with the tamales or something else, but apparently they got into a fight. Like a fistfight.” They both still come through the Green Eye. Luckily though, they rarely, if ever, overlap.
Far more common than these tales of territorial scrums are stories of Claudio saving the day. The story goes that one night a couple years back, Turbo was working at Lemmings Bar on a Friday night. His friend (the groom) and his groomsmen had stopped by to get a drink before heading to the ceremony. “Everyone came in to meet in a central location and were gonna catch a cab there, it’s five minutes away,” says Turbo. But to their alarm “cabs were an hour and a half wait. Then, Claudio shows up… he’s like ‘Yeah yeah! I’ll take them.’ So he took [them] to the historical society for the wedding. He’s like, ‘No problem!’” Turbo chuckles. “He’s a solid dude.”