Fonda Lupita in Sanford NC moves to new space, location
Fonda Lupita, the famous gordita boutique that jumped onto the national restaurant map, has moved on, but you’ll still find it in Sanford.
After landing on List of Best New Eater’s Restaurants over the past year, Fonda Lupita has grown from its tiny spot in Jonesboro Heights to a sprawling 6,000 square foot space that can accommodate 150 people.
The new Fonda Lupita, located at 1948 S. Horner Blvd., Suite B, opened on June 27. On Friday, July 1, the line was open for three straight hours.
“The place is huge and there was nowhere for customers to sit,” owner Biridiana Frausto told The News & Observer. “I never imagined it would happen so quickly.”
Fonda Lupita moves into a space that was most recently a Japanese restaurant, but is still best known as the old Pizza Inn. Frausto said it took three coats of primer to reset the walls, which are now covered in bright, vibrant murals.
“If you’ve ever been to Mexico or are Mexican, the print brings a lot of traditional Mexican artwork,” Frausto said. “It’s so different from what it was, there’s so much more light. I feel like it’s alive now.
In terms of food, the Fonda Lupita menu is much the same, based on gorditas and stews, served in the form of small pockets of grilled masa stuffed with pressed pork, or pastor or birria.
“We didn’t want to lose the essence of food and what we’re trying to do here,” Frausto said.
There are also burritos and quessabirria tacos and quesadillas. Tortilla chips are also new, with Frausto noting that they are the most traditional and thickest version of fried tortilla found in Mexico.
“These are the original Mexican fries,” Frausto said. “That’s what people eat in Mexico.”
The biggest change from the original location is that Fonda Lupita now has a bar, serving margaritas with freshly squeezed juices, as well as six agua frescas and bottled beer. Draft beer will be added later, Frausto said, with a tap reserved for the Sanford Hugger Mugger brewery.
Last year, Fonda Lupita was the only restaurant in North Carolina included in online food publication Eater’s annual list of the best new restaurants in the country.
Sanford’s little spot was born as a stew, and its gorditas have become a culinary phenomenon, with diners traveling from the Triangle and Charlotte and beyond for a meal.
So far, crowds have found the new spot. A crate of elote corn used to last a week, but now it’s gone in less than two days.
“I was a bit desperate to move,” Frausto said. “The space was getting too small, with too many cooks in the kitchen. We are very excited about the new space.
As for the former space, it will be transformed into a Mexican torta shop, Frausto said, serving the pressed sandwiches filled with many Fonda Lupita stews, as well as versions like chicken parmesan and milanesa.
The Fonda torta boutique will open later this year.
Frausto and her husband, Salvador Alvarez, are also planning a second Triangle restaurant, following the opening earlier this year of La Buena Vida in North Raleigh.
Frausto said La Victoria will open at Cary’s Arborteum in Weston, near Harrison Avenue, unlike its other two restaurants.
“It’s going to be a whole other thing,” Frausto said. “Totally different from Fonda and Buena Vida, but with a twist of both places for sure.”