For 17 years La Lupita has been a celebration of the hard work and grit it takes to succeed in the restaurant industry.
“The restaurant is named after my mother, Lupita Figueroa, and you can still find her in the kitchen,” said Salvador “Sal” Figueroa, the manager. “Our dishes are all homemade with her recipes, her seasonings, and her special touch.”
The origin-story of the Cermak Road mainstay takes us far from the Berwyn thoroughfare. Though Sal is American born he and his family returned to Cuernavaca in Morelos, Mexico when he was just two years old.
As a boy, Sal watched his mother set up a dining table in their front yard. Friends and strangers would take a seat and Lupita would bring out an array of homemade dishes like pozole blanco and a deep dark mole with origins in her hometown located in the Guerrero region of Mexico. The money she earned helped the family, but more importantly she was honing the recipes that would eventually form the spine of La Lupita’s menu.
In 1992 the Figueroa family returned to the United States and settled in Chicago. While Lupita took factory jobs, she proved to be an insatiable cook and began offering her culinary services to local businesses and neighbors. Sal would come home to find strangers eating in their apartment kitchen. Before long Lupita’s casual cooking turned into a vibrant catering business.
Then, in 2004 Sal drove past a vacant restaurant on Cermak Road. More kitchen than dining room, the diminutive space held just four tables and offered the perfect steppingstone for Lupita to take her culinary career to the next level. Thanks to her loyal customer base the transition to restaurant ownership went smoothly for the scrappy cook.
“Looking back, now I can see my mother is a true example of an entrepreneur,” said Sal proudly. “She passed along that mindset to all three of her children.”
Today La Lupita is going strong and keeps home-style Mexican food front and center on Cermak. The restaurant continues to offer Lupita’s complex mole and three variations of pozole daily.
6539 Cermak Rd. Berwyn