Sophie Bolich

Pupuseria Los Angeles Joining North Avenue Market

Salvadoran restaurant's first brick-and-mortar operation opening at food hall.

By - Apr 24th, 2023 03:26 pm
North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., photo taken Sept. 6, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave., photo taken Sept. 6, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

In a continuation of its spring revamp, North Avenue Market is preparing to welcome its newest vendor, Pupuseria Los Angeles, bringing a taste of authentic Salvadoran cuisine to the food hall, 5900 W. North Ave.

Behind the upcoming concept is Maria de Los Angeles Monge Almendarez, an industry veteran and long-time chef specializing in dishes from her home country of El Salvador.

The North Avenue Market stall will be the first brick-and-mortar location for the business, which has operated for more than seven years as a food truck called Cielito Salvadoreño.

Back in 2019, Monge Almendarez made plans to open a restaurant at 3530 W. National Ave., in the southside building that was formerly home to Romo’s Silver City Sports Bar — but those plans never came to fruition. The vacancy was instead filled by Brother’s Backyard Barbeque, which opened last November.

The North Avenue location is set to open May 10, offering a menu stacked with pupusas — officially the national dish of El Salvador since April 2005.

There is some debate as to the true origin of the pupusa — with both El Salvador and Honduras claiming the dish as their own.

Pupusas came to prominence in the United States in the 1980s, when more than 1 million Salvadorans left the Central American country amid a civil war. Approximately half of those who fled ended up in the United States, bringing the pupusa and other traditional dishes along with them.

The handheld dish — which can be eaten at any meal — consists of thick corn tortillas stuffed with savory fillings such as chicken, beans, cheese and pork. The filled dough is heated on a comal or, more often, a flat top grill, and served with salsa and curtido, a fermented cabbage relish typically flavored with carrots, onions, spices and garlic.

Pupuseria Los Angeles will offer an assortment of traditional pupusas including plain cheese, bean and cheese, spinach and cheese, zucchini and cheese and revuelta, stuffed with mozzarella, beans and pork.

A list of specialty pupusas features unique fillings such as turmeric, carrot, beet and earthy-sweet loroco flower.

The menu also features Mexican dishes including tacos and tortas, as well as beverages like jarritos, Coca Cola and horchata.

Once open, proposed hours for the pupuseria are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monge Almendarez did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

In addition to the upcoming restaurant, North Avenue Market is home to 4 Corners Cafe, Bittercube, Mosler’s Vault and Plant Joy.

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