Chef Jason Witzl, still basking in the glow of continued love for his Ellie’s—the Los Angeles Times just piled on with another positive review—is now expanding his culinary presence by opening an entirely new concept, Lupe de la Mar, in the space formerly occupied by Table 301.
Witzl will focus heavily on Mexican seafood, honoring both his mother’s Mexican roots while playing off of his dining experiences through his many trips to Mexico City. And, in the tradition of Ellie’s, Lupe’s will offer approachable, mid-priced dishes that, in his words, will “show off the beauty and complexity of Mexican cuisine.
“I want people to understand that Mexican food is so much more than what we see over here,” Witzl said. “Mexican cuisine is significantly more complex than most European cuisines, if not the most complex in the world. I want to show Long Beach that side of Mexican food.”
While the details of his menu are being kept close to his side, expect the wonders of the sea to flood the menu: octopus, scallops, mussels, shrimp… And don’t expect it to be solely seafood; pork and other proteins will be featured.
The news will be warmly welcomed given that the space is an essential cog in the overall workings of business along The Promenade, acting as an anchor to the northern end of the strip, connection between the popular southern end, home to multiple restaurants, and the rebuilding area once known as City Place. With the success of its neighbor, Portuguese Bend, Lupe’s could very well be the missing piece in adding more consistent activity above Third Street.
On top of this, Witzl gets to exercise his skills in a space that is vastly different than tiny-but-mighty Ellie’s in Alamitos Beach. Lupe’s will be comparatively massive and beachy in its vibes thanks to IDA Architecture’s astounding design. Stamped concrete floors covered with hand-painted details and mirrored spaces expand the overall depth, while the patio area—with its own bar—was unmatched in Downtown. Particularly unique is its sunken bar, where patrons can choose to drink in or out, that runs the length of the southern side of the building.
“This is an opportunity I’ve long waited for,” Witzl said. “I get to have a full bar to pair with my food for the first time. I have a space that is completely different than Ellie’s in a neighborhood that is entirely new for me. I am admittedly nervous—we’re taking on a lot—but I can assure you one thing: The food will be astounding and we’re happy to be a part of the Downtown community.”
Lupe’s de la Mar, located at 301 The Promenade North, is expected to open in December.
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