Lupe Tortilla Westlake soft open is on!
A couple of us went to the newest Lupe Tortilla's location here in Westlake for lunch today (next to Chick-Fil-A in the same shopping center as the HEB at Bee Cave and 360) and the soft open is on!
The soft open process works like this- you come to the front and request an invitation to enter the restaurant. If there is space available, that invitation is granted along with a time to come back to dine. Happily, there is a lot less general foot traffic here than there was at Arbor Walk, so when we showed up at 11 today we got right in. And when we left at 12:15, the place was half full and there was no line. As word gets out, I expect this will change- but for now this is a much easier soft open to get into than Arbor Walk was.
It has only been going a few days, but already the food and service we enjoyed was at the level of the long-established locations in Houston.
Anyhow- wanted to get word out while it is still easy to get in. Given the dearth of good restaurants in Westlake the past several years, I think in due course this will be one of the busiest restaurants in the area.
Some people said that. Here is my take,
1. Service at Arbor Walk was a bit rough at first because the place was overrun. Lots of foot traffic over there- for my first visit we had a 2 hour wait and when we got in mid-afternoon the place was still full. Things going much smoother at Westlake early on- just not quite the huge numbers of passersby.
2. The beef fajitas are their best item- in my opinion- but they are very different and a love em or hate em kind of dish. They are thick and more steak-like, tenderized and then soaked in a pretty strong lime and salt marinade. I normally prefer meat with minimal treatment- but for whatever reason I love these fajitas. I also like the fact they serve them with sharp cheddar cheese on the side instead of velveeta or the other crap processed cheeses many chains live by these days. Great tortillas- corn and flour- and I like the refried beans as well. The rest is "pretty good" except I don't like the fact they do go the velveeta route on the queso.
3. Price- beef fajitas for 2 (1 pound) is $36.99. Back in Houston, $35-45 is the going rate for a pound of fajitas at a higher end Tex-Mex restaurant in a good neighborhood- so for the Houston market they are spot on. Plus you get a full pound of meat, and it is a much higher grade of meat than from places like Maudie's or that monstrosity just up the road- Berry Hill. If you really look at the quantity and quality, I don't see much of an upcharge personally. It all comes down to whether you like how they prepare the meat.
In the Austin market, I think they will be fine in Arbor Walk and Westlake. They would have a very difficult time, however, if they were to open a location in South Austin- and there I think more due to style and price than the quality of the ingredients. Again- my opinion only.
For my part, I am thrilled to finally have one just around the corner- but the only thing I ever get here is beef fajitas.
thanks for the perspective. wife and I had a delicious three course dinner at Madras Pavilion last night that stuffed us with goodness and we left with a meal's worth of leftover's out the door with tip for 46 bucks. So if the fajitas are wonderful, and we leave full for 50 bucks for dinner, that's not horrible. I'll have to give them a try.
I have lived most of my adult life in Austin, but grew up in Houston and still go back quite frequently. For whatever reason, restaurants in Houston tend- in my opinion- to be far more expensive than restaurants of similar quality here. I have to chalk it up to the fact Houston is a very wealthy town where a lot of people eat out all the time- so restaurants can get awayt with making higher margins, or have the luxury of using fancier ingredients (the beef used in fajitas in Houston at my favorite places are far higher quality meat than the few Tex-Mex places I know here.)
Also FWIW, you may find that the half pound at Lupe's is enough for two people. After a really hard swim I can put away a pound of them at record speed- but when I used to go there all the time for lunch in Houston, 2 of us would split the half pound and leave very full.