Hidden Gem

You can't beat the sandwiches at this San Antonio hidden gem

You can't beat the sandwiches at this San Antonio hidden gem

Loncheria el Popo lonches sandwiches
Loncheria El Popo specializes in lonches. Nency S./Yelp

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.