Tucked away in a small retail strip on San Pedro Avenue inside Loop 410 you'll find Loncheria El Popo. Diners rave about the casual, relaxing atmosphere at this mom-and-pop restaurant. Old photos — most from Mexico, with a few from San Antonio sprinkled in — adorn the yellow walls.
The restaurant's size and simplicity provide a certain charm, and the eats are memorable. The menu offered a wide variety of dishes upon opening, however a small staff led the restaurant to trim down to the basics.
But the basics are what make Loncheria El Popo a hidden gem. The restaurant specializes in lonches, Mexican-style sandwiches, available for dine-in or takeout. Options include hamburguesa (hamburger beef), ternera (shredded veal), jamón (ham), aguacate (avocado), and wieners served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.
The lonches here are small but flavorful — you may want to order more than one. The handmade bread has a soft texture, and it adds to the overall quality of the sandwich. Each order comes with a cup of pickled peppers, but you can also snag a bag of chips for just $1.
The eatery hails from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and its origins date back to the early 1950s. There is also another outpost in Laredo. Loncheria El Popo draws in a lot of regulars to the San Antonio location for lunch and dinner, but it isn't just the food that keeps them coming back. The budget-friendly menu — $2.50 for each sandwich and 10 cents to add cheese — is hard to beat.
Just one visit to this Northside spot will have you wondering why you have not swung by sooner.