A menu of authentic Mexican options from family recipes is what you’ll find at Lupe’s 55 Cantina (275 Ocean Blvd., Hampton Beach, 601-7772, find them on Facebook), its most recent location just steps away from the water. From the burritos and Spanish rice plates to the vampire tacos, which get their name from the shape made by the grilled tortilla shell and melted cheese — resembling the wings of a vampire bat — there are a variety of options to choose from. Lupe’s 55 Cantina has an extensive menu of appetizers, tacos a la carte and various sides, plus a full bar of dozens of tequilas and house cocktails. The Scene recently spoke with Nicole Janvrin, who co-owns the restaurant with her brother Vance and her husband, David Garza, about some of her favorite dishes. Lupe’s is named after the Janvrins’ mother, who brought her children to Hampton Beach all the time when they were growing up, she said.
How long has Lupe’s 55 Cantina been around?
This is our fifth season overall and our third season at this location. We had another one down the street in an older building, but it didn’t have a bar. We are open seasonally but we would like to eventually open a year-round spot somewhere between here and Manchester.
What makes Lupe’s 55 Cantina unique?
We prep everything every day and we really try to do everything as fresh as possible. We also have a lot of gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly options.
What is your personal favorite dish?
I really, really love the carne asada fries. We have a seasoned fry and we put queso blanco on top with some meat, onions, sour cream and a little cilantro. It’s one of my favorites.
What is a dish that everyone should try?
Our Mexican fish and chips are awesome. We marinate our haddock and do a homemade jalapeno tartar and lime crema, then top it off with a seasoned slaw.
What is an essential skill to running a restaurant?
It’s a lot of multitasking. You definitely need to be really good at that.
What is your favorite part about being on the Seacoast?
We always came here as kids and have always been big fans of Hampton Beach. The community is just so awesome. Everyone is super friendly here.
— Matt Ingersoll