I’m not sure how long this place has been in operation near the corner of Summit and Southwest Boulevard, but I’m really glad it’s there.
Too often the Boulevard feels like an overly long stretch of Mexican mediocrity; no place really delivers the goods when it comes to authenticity. El Huarache further east is a recent step in the right direction, culinarily speaking. But I like Ricos Tacos Lupe a whole hell of a lot, maybe better than any place in the vicinity.
They serve awesome, piping hot little tacos with a somewhat typical variety of meats: carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, chicken, buche, cabeza, tripe and chorizo. I haven’t had the tripe (but I will) and the pastor is somewhat lackluster but everything else is great. While chorizo–at least for me–is not a common choice of taco filling, do yourself a favor and order a couple of these if you decide to visit. It’s a salty, spicy, slightly crunchy treat.
The tacos, like those at El Matador, are slightly smaller than average. Fortunately, they are cheaper than average, at $1.50 each. Tacos are $1 on Tuesdays as well.
And hey, they have huaraches, sopes and tortas too. Unlike El Huarache, Lupe’s seems to fry the masa base of their huaraches which lends them a delicate crunch. They are extraordinarily light and easy to cut with a fork. They will cost you $4.95 and are large enough to fill the average person.
The sopes are a steal at $2. Basically a sope is a small, round base of thick masa dough, spread with beans and topped with meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and cilantro. A sope is essentially the same thing as a huarache, differentiated only by its size and shape.
The salsas here are a revelation. The green salsa is pure tomatillo goodness, pulverized into a frothy concoction that is fresh-tasting and a bit spicy. The red salsa is more spicy but equally as good. It has a little smokiness which may indicate a chipotle but it was more subtle than I normally see. Regardless there are certainly some toasted chiles in the mix. The plain, red salsa served in a larger container with the chips strangely does nothing for me. It tastes like it is made with canned tomato sauce. Stick with the squeeze bottles of the other stuff.
Ricos Tacos Lupe is not a fancy joint. It’s not even a particularly nice joint inside. A pungent shade of bright orange paint adorns every wall. They need another coat since the first seems to have been hastily applied. A row of non-working deli cases line one side of the dining room and serve to hold cases of Jarritos and Coca-Cola. A grab bag of knick-knacks sit on top of the cases. The other wall has some interesting postcards of Mexican destinations and some cool portraits of old boxers. In general the interior is well-worn and pretty rough around the edges.
While many of the dishes are prepped in the kitchen at the rear of the restaurant, they are griddled and assembled on a mobile taco cart which sits inside the restaurant at the front. This allows the owner to also serve people outside on the sidewalk who can order through a window.
I’m not convinced of the street-worthiness of the cart, but it tickles me that this is how they prepare things here. The thing is powered by a propane tank sitting inside the front door.
Surprisingly, Lupe’s is a table service joint. Not one, but two pregnant women take orders and run food while a guy mans the cart up front. These folks are really friendly and good at their jobs too. You will feel welcomes at Lupe’s.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this place is cash-only.I’m an idiot, this place takes credit cards, although you typically have to pay at the register and might not get a check delivered to the table.