The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: El Tepeyac

El Tepeyac to Close

El Tepeyac

We hoped the rumors were not true.  But, sadly, we have confirmed that El Tepeyac is closing.  May 24 will be the last day of business for the beloved Salvadoran and Mexican restaurant popular with chefs, among many others.

This marks the first time that an entry into The Charlottesville 29 will close.  And, it has nothing to do with the restaurant’s food, service, or popularity.  Rather, according to Maria Gracia, who runs the restaurant with her parents, their landlord decided not to renew their lease because a business next door wished to expand into the restaurant’s space.  After a search for another venue found nothing suitable, El Tepeyac was left with no choice but to close.  While Gracia said that she and her parents are sad to see the end of this chapter, they are “so thankful for the wonderful support from the Charlottesville food community over the years.”

The good news, we are told, is that the restaurant may one day regroup and find a space that meets its needs.  But, there is no guarantee that will happen anytime soon, if at all. In the meantime, even after closing, El Tepeyac’s food will still be available via catering! To inquire about having El Tepeyac cater your event, email or call (773) 398 7857.  And, follow along their Facebook page for more details in coming weeks.   It’s not just delicious food, it’s also a great way to support a family-owned business without a home.





Five Finds on Friday: Emily Holter


On Fridays, we feature five foods finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Emily Holter, of Sweethaus, the Charlottesville cupcake cafe that is poised to open a second location in Brooklyn.  Holter’s picks:

1)  Wings and Nachos on football Sundays at Wild Wing Cafe.  “Doesn’t get much better than throwing on a jersey and hunkering down for a game at WWC. I’m such a sucker for nachos. Different types of cheeses, fresh salsa, sour cream, seasoned beef, texture explosion! Always solid and delicious. And there’s a reason the wings are so revered; the sauces are creative and complex all the while really tasty.”

2)  Fleur de Sel Caramels from La Vache Microcreamery.  “You have never tried a fleur de sel caramel proper until you’ve tried these small-batch artisan classics from La Vache. A crazy-good concoction of my favorite ingredients: butter, salt, sugar. Stephanie has nailed it!”

3)  The Local Burger at The Local.  “I’m a burger girl. Nothing more satisfying than that first juicy bite of a beautifully executed burger. Caramelized onion, always crispy apple-smoked bacon, swiss cheese. Medium-rare all the way. The best.”

4)  Farmhouse Dry Cider on draught from Potter’s Craft Cider.  “I met these guys years ago while working at Whole Foods buying wine and beer just as they were starting out. They’ve got me hooked! Farmhouse dry, especially on draft, smells like fruit and almost tastes like champagne upon first sip. Tart, dry, and insanely crisp. Excellent any time of year, and effervescent to the max!”

5)  Longaniza anything at El Tepeyac.  “This house-made Mexican sausage is the real deal. The rich notes of smoke and a slight sweetness give way to a beautifully balanced kick at the end. Sometimes its great in a burrito with chunky jalepenos and fresh avocado, other times it’s delicious enveloped in a cheese quesadilla. Yum!”

El Tepeyac

El Tepeyac380 Greenbrier Drive . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 964-1231

[UPDATE: El Tepeyac closed on May 24, 2015.]

Why El Tepeyac?

Even when it was a mere food counter in the back of a tienda, we were regulars at El Tepeyac, the Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant off Route 29 North owned by the Solorzano family.  After it converted to a full service restaurant in October 2012, it became one of our favorite spots in town.  For the transformation, Adolfo and Bertha Solorzano recruited their daughter Maria, a savvy management consultant from Chicago, who helped her mother enhance the decor, service, and cocktail list, which now includes fresh margaritas, and even Horchata con un Toque—rum with house-made spiced rice milk.   Adolfo is in charge of the food, using his own recipes to create pupusas, tacos, gorditas, and full platters.  It’s no wonder top chefs from all over Charlottesville love it so much.

What to Order

One of our favorite dishes in all of Charlottesville is El Tepeyac’s Pupusa de Queso con Loroco, a thick, handmade, corn tortilla filled with cheese and loroco, an edible flower with a floral, truffly flavor.  Solorzano’s family ran a pupuseria in El Salvador, and it shows. All the pupusas are excellent, served with the traditional vinegary slaw, curtido.  Below are our other favorites, as well as picks from Solorzano, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where chefs and personalities have named an El Tepeyac dish one of the best in town.  It seems that fried yucca is a hit:

Our Picks

  • Yucca Frita con Chicharron
  • Tacos (Pastor, Lengua, and, on weekends, Carnitas)
  • Gorditas (Pastor, Lengua)
  • Torta de Milanesa

Chef’s Picks

  • Yucca Frita con Chicharron
  • Pupusas (Queso con Loroco, Revueltas) 
  • Sope de Carne Asada

Five Finds on Friday Picks

%d bloggers like this: