Lupita's, Mexican food from scratch
Steve Renzi/Special to The Explorer, Israel Arias, cook at Lupita's Café, shows off a Sonoran hot dog.

Everybody loves Mexican food – it's tasty, filling and easy on the wallet. Lupita's Café, along Thornydale just south of Ina, is a new Northwest restaurant serving authentic, homemade Mexican food.

At Lupita's, everything is made from scratch, using fresh ingredients. Owner and head cook Lupita Montana is a young woman who grew up in northern Mexico. She uses recipes passed down by her mother and grandmother.

"My grandmother taught me to be sure to taste everything, to make sure it is just right, before it can be served," said Lupita. "A lot of our customers who come in say that this is the food they had growing up."

One of the house specialties is the chile relleno, two huge, fire-roasted green chilies filled with cheese, lightly fried and topped with tomato salsa. They're accompanied by ranchero beans, Spanish rice, shredded lettuce and tomato.

On the weekly lunch menu are albondigas (Mexican meatball soup), beef pozole (beef, hominy and beans), cocido (beef vegetable soup) and arroz con pollo (chicken and rice).

Every soup is homemade the day it is served. A popular favorite is the menudo, served on Saturdays and Sundays. On the weekends, to eat in or take out, people line up, sometimes carrying three-gallon containers to be filled. The menudo is made using 40 pounds of tripe (cow intestines) for every 10 pounds of cow's feet.

Walking into Lupita's is like stepping into Mexico. It is spacious, open and comfortable, easily able to accommodate a group or the single diner. Colorful murals painted by local artist Gonzalo Espinosa grace the walls, serapes hang from the windows and the tiles and even the serving dishes are rich in bright, primary colors. There is an outdoor patio shaded by thatched palm fronds.

Lupita's is also becoming well known for its Sonoran hot dog. It is a hot dog wrapped in bacon, served on a warm roll, with grilled onions, ranchero beans, dried tomatoes, mustard, mayo and guacamole crème, served with a chili guerrito.

"We're the only restaurant in Northwest Tucson with an authentic Sonoran hot dog," said Lupita. "Sometimes the workers around here will come in and order 12 at a time to go."

Every diner at Lupita's gets a dicho at the end of every meal. A dicho is similar to a fortune cookie and it contains proverbs and words of advise in English and Spanish. The proverb of this day reads "slowly but surely" (despacio pero segoro) – good advice while eating and savoring a meal at Lupita's Café.




Lupita's Café


7077 N.Thornydale, just south of Ina.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Breakfast is served all day.


Take out orders welcome; call at least 15 minutes ahead.


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