December 16, 2015
2 mins read

I admit I’ve driven by Lupita’s dozens of times without actually seeing it. When my eyes finally registered the silver shack with the red awning, I struggled to find a parking spot in the tiny lot outside. These minor obstacles were well worth my herculean efforts (see: First World problems), because once I went in, I met some of the warmest restaurant owners I’ve ever encountered. Lesson learned: Never judge a shack by its exterior.

The interior is much more welcoming than the ramshackle exterior suggests; the walls are a calming blue, with some landscapes and an image that may be the Dames Point Bridge above the St. Johns River. Comfy.

Yet the coziest part of Lupita’s may be Lupita herself. While her husband cooks meal after meal, Lupita scurries from booth to table, always with a smile and an attitude that is tantamount to saintly. I know I’d be spewing flames if I were the sole person taking orders and refilling chip baskets, but I’ve yet to see her frown. Her charming personality lights up the whole place.

Now, to the food.

Like many Mexican restaurants, Lupita’s has a menu that’s expansive, with plenty of combination dinners – yet I didn’t find my exact taco/burrito/enchilada dream choice. I’ve learned to skip the combos, and instead focus on the specials. I decided on the Huevos Rancheros lunch special ($5.50).

Eggs teamed with salsa is now my new favorite meal, thanks to Lupita’s. Eggs cooked over-easy, spilled into beans and rice, which I enjoy mixing into one delicious mound to be transferred into warm, corn tortillas, then … consumed. The tortillas soaked up the runny yolk and the salsa, but not so much that the tortillas split.

My friend tried the Burrito California, aptly named, because it’s about the size of the nation’s third-largest state by area and is more highly populated – though with beans, not people (that analogy reached its logical end rather quickly). To my point, Lupita’s Burrito California ($8.25) is without a doubt the largest burrito I’ve ever seen: 12 inches of chicken, veggies, rice, beans, and guacamole, served with or without cheese and covered in a single layer of red sauce or generous puddle of queso.

I’ve eaten at Lupita’s plenty of times now, and I still crane my neck along University when trying to find the place. Lupita’s Authentic Mexican Food & Seafood (as the sign outside says) might be hard to spot, but it’s excellent at turning doubtful newcomers into satisfied fans.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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