Chelito's Pupuseria [Santa Cruz]
Stumbled across this gem last week while reading the local papers, clean, modern, well lit space apparently family run with one of the very personable young brothers managing the front of the house. Have to admit to initial skepticism on the appearance alone, being used to having our pupusa fixes satisfied most always from little dives and food trucks. Any doubts vanished with one look at their condiment bar.
Sitting on ice were squeeze bottles of the mild thin red sauce and a stainless steel bowl of fresh curtido (slaw topping). Next to them were containers of char roasted whole jalapeños and one of mildly spicy cauliflower and carrot slices with nice herbal notes. Completing the self service bar was a selection of salsas, an excellent verde and salsa fresca, both with nice heat, and a brick red rojo that looked like it would provide fire, but didn't deliver, definitely a minor nit.
Out of the seven pupusa offerings we tried the chicharron (roast pork) y queso, the Pupusa de Mexicana (nopales, jalapeños, queso, on enchilada sauce), and the Espincas con hongos, and calabaza y queso) which they graciously added loroco at my request, answering our unasked question if they were pre-made. Each of these were outstanding, just enough masa to contain the ample cheese and fillings. Neither of us recall having better or more flavorful offerings, even from the kitchen of a dear Salvadoran lady in past years.
Other varieties are Rebueltas, Queso con Loroco, Frijol con Queso, and De Pollo con Queso y Loroco).
Menu items include Tacos, Burritos, Sopes, Huaraches, Asada Pollo, Carnitas, Al Pastor, Campechanos, Chicharron, Longanisa, Tortas Cubanas y Hawianas.
Price is 3/8.00 which was plenty for lunch for two of us, bought 3 orders to go on the way out of Dodge on Thursday and enjoying for lunch daily. We could only shake our heads at the packed Carls Jr across the street knowing how much better we were chowing at undoubtably lower prices.
107 Leonard @ Ocean (NE 1 block S of Water St.)
Hours are Mon 10am-3pm, then 10am-10pm, iirc the rest of the week.