A hit-and-run driver tore a hole in the front of Lupie’s Cafe Nov. 19. I’ve been told the restaurant, which opened on Monroe Road in 1987, has long been loved by Charlotte-area residents. Well, after two weeks of repairs to the front of the building, Lupie’s reopened yesterday.
Are you like me and you’ve never set foot inside? Seven random details to know before you go:
It seems off the grid, but it’s not.
Lupie’s doesn’t have a working website. But it does have a trail of Yelp reviews, as well as a Facebook page complete with a link to the menu. That means you can obsess over your choices before you head in. Plus, you can find it on the Google Maps just beyond the border of the Elizabeth neighborhood.
This time of year, you shall order the chili.
Larkin Duran, daughter of owner Lupie Duran and manager of the restaurant, said this is the most popular item in the winter. “A lot of our stuff is comfort food,” she said.
Pick from four styles of chili and enough variety to please the carnivore or the vegetarian. I give 10 points to anyone who sinks a spoon (spork?) into a bowl of the Chili Mac with the thick spaghetti.
There are $1 PBRs every day.
Plus other selections ranging from $2-$5, local OMB Copper included. Wine lovers: there is house wine by the glass for $4.75.
The new front door will have glass windows.
The construction continues, but Duran said the new door will be more inviting and the facade will have more aluminum than its previous wood framing.
Patrons love the place so much they paid the servers’ salaries while the cafe was closed.
A GoFundMe campaign raised over $4,000 to support the servers’ salaries as of Dec. 2., since insurance only covered the building repairs. The funding continues and the staff made a sign to say “thanks” but the rain got in the way.
The cafe building originally housed coffins.
According to the Observer archive. Before that, the space was occupied by a grocery store that served the Griertown neighborhood, now known as Grier Heights.
But really that just fits right in with the eclectic vibe.
Take in the sign over the bar that says “Hippies Always Welcome,” the ’70s music streaming through the speakers as the chef sings along, the wall of black-and-white photographs in the back, the Ms. Pac Man machine in the corner by the door begging to be played, the casual skull chilling by the takeout counter.
“We’re a very unique, weird group of people,” Duran said.
I like that.
Photos: Katie Toussaint