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Tanya Tandoc

Lupe's Carry Out

I grew up in Newton, Kansas, in the ‘70s and ‘80s. It goes without saying that there weren’t many fun dining options in our little town. We had a Big Cheese Pizza, a Pizza Hut, a Sonic, The Red Coach Inn, and a Hardee’s. There were a couple of coffee shops and our Woolworth’s had a lunch counter—the old-fashioned kind—but that was torn down and replaced with a thrift store. We had one fancy restaurant, the Old Mill, which featured the first salad bar I had ever seen and served adult beverages, a rarity in our dry county.

But there were a few really good restaurants in town. One of my favorites that’s still around is Lupe’s Carry Out. Lupe’s is a no-frills, family-run Mexican takeout shop that serves really tasty food. By “no-frills,” I mean order at the counter and take it out to eat in your car, or sit at one of the picnic tables in the shed outside. Lupe’s menu features traditional Mexican-American fare, like tostadas and smothered burritos, but everything is delicious and prepared with flavor in mind.

I love anything made with their red pork chile, a spicy red sauce filled with chunks of tender pork. It’s pretty fiery, so spice wimps use caution. The smothered burrito is enormous and filled with beef, beans, lettuce and cheese, then doused with that delicious red chile. I love the tostada, a fried flour tortilla covered with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese and red chile. I eat it when I feel like I have a lard deficiency or I am feeling too thin.