State College isn’t exactly known for being a Mexican food hub. But, Lupitas is a lesser-known authentic Mexican restaurant that is dangerously delicious.
Lupita’s can be easy to miss. It’s a small yet colorful storefront tucked in the corner of the Unimart off of West College Ave. and Whitehall Road, but it’s not the restaurant you want to be missing out on.
Lupita’s has been serving up authentic Mexican food in Happy Valley since 2019 thanks to owners Maria Guadalupe Rojas Orozco and Emilio Lopez Ramirez. It offers tacos with homemade corn tortillas, tostadas, tamales, quesadillas, and much, much more. If you enjoy delicious Mexican food, you can’t go wrong here.
To get a full taste of Lupita’s’ menu, our staffers ordered barbacoa tacos, carnitas tacos, cheese empanadas, pork tamales in red sauce, and chicken tostadas.
Lupita’s has friendly staff, a short wait time, and the prices don’t break the bank. After placing your order, you can go to the ~salsa station~ to stock up on toppings for your food. It offers spicy habanero, guacamole-type salsa, and pico de gallo, among others.
The pork tamales in red sauce had the perfect balance of sweet, smoky, and spicy. Upon the first impression, I was a bit surprised. I’ve never had a tamale wrapped in a plantain leaf before.
It was one of the best tamales I’ve ever had, and Lupita’s is likely one of the only places in State College to get a tamale. It wasn’t dry, was packed with amazing flavor, and had the perfect amount of spice.
The cheese empanadas were tasty but a little plain. They were fried well, but the cheese alone wasn’t enough to wow us with the flavor, so we suggest ordering them with meat.
If you’re looking for a crunch, the chicken tostadas were flavorful, and the crispy tortilla bottom had great structural integrity which made it hold up well. The cabbage on the tostada was a nice touch and added even more crunch.
Tacos are a staple Mexican food, but there’s a fine line between a good taco and a great taco. Lupita’s was just about breaking that line. Its tacos were definitely a classic but could’ve used some more umph. What set Lupita’s’ tacos apart from others were its homemade tortillas, which you could tell were made with love (and fresh ingredients).
The restaurant offers quite an assortment of sauces, so those really elevate the taco experience. If you’re looking for lots of flavors when you visit Lupitas, I’d recommend barbacoa or carnitas tacos.
Our west coast staffers are picky about the Mexican food they enjoy, but Lupitas passed the test. The food was jam-packed with flavor and earned the “happy food” dance. Lupitas truly did not disappoint.
If you’re looking for a bangin’ taco joint or some authentic Mexican food that’s hard to find elsewhere in State College, give Lupita’s a try. You’ll be hooked just like us.