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From fast food to fine dining, Mexican restaurants are among the most prevalent types of eating establishments in Houston. However, one small Mexican restaurant in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood has taken on a character all its own. Chapultepec Lupita combines homestyle Mexican food, affordable prices, and an offbeat atmosphere that has made it an institution.

For more than 20 years, Chapultepec has satisfied the late night cravings of shift workers, gigging musicians, and night owls of all stripes. The 24-hour service lets fans of all types of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine enjoy their favorite dishes at any time. The three dining areas range from dim and dark to plush and comfy to glassed-in and airy.

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The menu also offers a wide range of choices. Of course, Chapultepec has the traditional Tex-Mex dishes, such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas, along with chips and salsa as an appetizer. The extensive menu also allows diners to go off the beaten path, with dishes like salmon, snapper crusted with tortilla chips, and Mexican-style kebabs known as alambres.

The only thing more diverse than the menu at Chapultepec is the décor. The dining area near the front desk has a dark, almost moody feel, with tables and chairs that look like they came from a discount furniture store. Just past the front desk is the brighter, more expansive dining area, with old-style booths, vinyl benches and formica tables along the walls. The rearmost dining area offers a window view of the traffic on Richmond Avenue, as well as a jukebox that has music ranging from Mexican rock to classic reggae.

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As with many smaller Houston establishments, parking is at a premium. The narrow entrance from Richmond Avenue leads toward a small parking lot. For those arriving just after the bars close, parking is an adventure. However, the feeling of fullness, the joy of good friends, and a margarita or two to close out the evening can make it an adventure worth having.

Houston’s Chapultepec Lupita Mexican restaurant combines down home food with far out vibe