7 de septiembre de 2017

EMPRENDEDOR: Abre local en Rio Rico y la Taqueria Lupita se internacionaliza


Rio Rico, AZ.- Surrounded by yellow, fuchsia and cobalt-blue tissue paper flowers hung on equally colorful walls, waiters wearing shirts scrawled with the logo “Comida a la Mexicana” delivered tacos, gorditas and caldos to Tuesday’s lunch crowd at the recently opened Taquerias Lupita’s restaurant in Rio Rico.

 “We’re serving traditional Sonoran food the same way my mom made it,” said owner Joselino Ortiz, who spent the afternoon darting between the kitchen and the counter above the restaurant’s salsa bar, where he put the finishing touches on each dish. 

 Though the restaurant officially opened its doors in Rio Rico this June, Taquerias Lupita’s has a much longer history, serving customers in Nogales, Sonora since 1966, he said. Named after Ortiz’s mother Lupita, whose recipes provided the backbone for the business, the restaurant on Avenida Álvaro Obregón remains a popular spot in Nogales, Sonora.

 Ortiz has been part of the business for as long as he can remember. “I was telling my kids, I remember my job was to put sodas in the refrigerator ... I don’t know how old I was, but I remember

I couldn’t hold a full box of sodas. From way back then I was helping my parents at the taqueria,” he said.

 In 2003, Ortiz opened another location in Tucson, but it closed in 2009 after the economy took a hit during the Great Recession. Then last year, selling tacos during the Fourth of July celebration at Fleischer Park in Nogales, the food elicited such a positive response from the community that he decided to try out a location north of the border again, he said.

 “We tried to find a place in Nogales, a nice place, but we didn’t find anywhere, so we thought, ‘Let’s go to Rio Rico,’” he said, noting that having a location that could serve Nogales as well as cities further north was appealing. “It’s been doing really good.


 The people have responded very well.” While some of the customers know the restaurant from visits across the border, many are referred by word of mouth, including local residents and people from Tubac, Patagonia, Green Valley and Sahuarita, he said. 

And though they’ve added a few new things to the menu since opening two months ago – such as burritos and additional taco options – he cred the restaurant’ early popularity to maintaining tried-and-true recipes. 

 “We try to do it the same exact way they do it over there in Mexico. It’s the same taste and the same everything,” he said. 

 Dana Aldaz, who was eating at Taquerias Lupita’s for the first time on Tuesday afternoon with her three children, said the food was good and the hand-made corn tortillas were delicious.

 “We have to bring my husband so he can try it next time,” she said. “I’m happy with it. It’s really good.”


 In addition to the hand-patted tortillas grilled fresh in the kitchen, Ortiz said, tacos are the most popular dish, with more than a dozen varieties offered including cabeza, lengua, birria, chicharron and tripa. Their lunch specials, at $5.50, are also a common choice among customers.

 “And the soups are really popular, too,” he said, pointing to the caldo de queso and tortilla soup as top sellers.


 For now, Ortiz and his wife Edelmira Carter are still perfecting their new restaurant, adding new decorations and making the space, which was formerly a sushi restaurant, fit their needs. But as they settle in over the next few years, they also hope to add another restaurant which they plan to call La Fonda Lupita with an adjoined bar called La Cantina del Guacho after a nickname his father went by, he said.


 “It’s named after (my parents) because they’re the ones who started it all so long ago,” he said.

 Taquerias Lupita’s, located at 1176 Circulo Mercado in Rio Rico, is open from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Sunday. For more information call (520) 980-6548.