December 7th, 2010

Lupe Tortilla: the Lime is Fine but the Beef is Divine

In 6 Words: Lime, Polaroid, Disjointed, Snug, Fajita, Mouth-Watering

December forces us out of our homes to explore those places we dread—shopping malls. With their obliviously ignorant crowds and overpriced items, they can be enough to drive even the most patient lad to pull a Finnegan on Johnson. After an afternoon of what my wife and I hope will be our last shopping trip, we sit in the car and decompress as we decide where the night’s eating will take place.

“Tex-Mex or Italian?” my wife asks.

“I could go either way. They’re both filling.” I say.

“That’s what she said.”

“Good grief.”

“How about Lupe Tortilla?” I know Stephan can’t go along with this experience, as it’s a chain and it operates on a slab of concrete to which lumber is bolted, going against his notions of the great unknown best and that good Mexican food is served from trucks (I agree most of the time). In any case, I’ve heard good things about their fajitas, so upon making the decisions, we hale Tea Jones and his lady to rendezvous alpha bravo tortilla.


Arriving early, we ask for a table and sit quietly in the front room. The cold front blowing through Houston has made sitting on the porch less than favorable. It’s not the cold, but the wind—we’re clearly unprepared in short sleeves. The hundreds of Polaroids lining the front room of previous patrons’ birthdays long past, makes the wait a little more interesting. 10-23-97 is the earliest date I can locate on this wall, but then again, I am not exactly scouring through the pictures. So this place has been around for at least 13 years (I later learn it’s just the second location-est. 1995 after the original in Addicks). Local.


Not 20 minutes pass until we’re shown to our table. My wife and I snake through the many disjointed rooms of cramped tables in the low light of Lupe. Tea arrives just a nickel and dime late. No problem, as we’ve only just received our waters. Salutations are exchanged between the four of us as they find their places around the table. We decide quickly that both couples will each be splitting an order of the Mediano Fajitas—mixed chicken and beef for Tea and his lady and strictly beef for my wife and I… it’s what’s for dinner and all that.


The conversation twists and turns from cautionary tales of mixing one’s own Old Fashioneds to small town politics only to arrive at traveling abroad. Stories of being lost in translation surface among our thoughts, only to sink back down into the depths for a later exchange where they might be relevant again. Just as those thoughts fade, the table is bombarded and seized by plates and bowls of fresh tortillas, sizzling meats, and the expected sides of sour cream, guacamole, cheese and pico de gallo. The tortillas are soft and fresh, the flour still loosely holding on as we pile on the lime glazed beef and chicken. These epic fajita rumors I had heard prior to my decision to come here tonight are proving more true with each bite. I can’t get over how delicious and tender the beef is. With tortillas the size of my face, you’re easily capable of making a fajita burrito, or if you’re full from the chips, taking it home and wrapping yourself up for a midnight snack as the nights get colder. The cuisine receives similar reactions from the rest of table as once full plates slowly become empty.


All that remains now is an abundance of dirty dishes, their scraps holding on to a former glory so easily and methodically dashed away by those of us at the table. As we wait for the check, we continue scavenging the last of the chips, deeming ourselves champions of delicious consumption. After compensation for this meal is taken care of, we leave the table, prepping our bare arms for the blustery cold. Tonight we are victorious on two fronts, Holiday shopping and the discovery of what might be the best beef fajita I’ve encountered.


Where -  West University [2414 Southwest Fwy.] (View Map) Here, you can view their other locations
What – Delicious fajitas, as for other entrees, you’ll have to let us know—the fajitas alone are worth a trip
Wear – Casual, leave the Sombrero at home, they’ll provide that
How Much – Very reasonable, but more than the smaller establishments
Hours – Dependent on location
WebWebsite and Facebook

— Richard


Melanie — Tuesday, December 7, 2010 7:38 pm

I think you didn’t quite do their flour tortillas justice…they are what make the best beef fajita.

Pipez — Wednesday, December 8, 2010 1:34 pm

Generally my opinion is that of Mexican Food chains are terrible, and the best Houston Mexican food is only mediocre compared to San Antonio Mexican food, but Lupe Tortilla does have delicious fajitas.

Valerie Bartush — Tuesday, January 4, 2011 9:21 pm

That huge salad I had was quite delicious. I can’t remember the name of it, but it had grilled poblanos and some kind of poblano-ranch dressing. Yum!

Dodie — Thursday, March 17, 2011 6:59 pm

Yes…it’s a chain now, but it didn’t start that way.

Next time try the Steak Lupe (my all time fav!) – or the Three Pepper Cheese Steak if you like it hot.

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