Pupusas at La Palmera

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

It’s almost summer and what do we want? Ice cream dripping down our arms, hot dogs in our hands, and all kinds of crap fried on sticks. Yeah, we want to hold our food in our hands. Lucky for us, the list of portable snack spots just keeps on growing. A new restaurant, called Pupuseria La Palmera, is now serving that snack without a season, the El Salvadoran pupusa. Similar to the Mexican gordita and the South American arepa, a pupusa is a thick corn tortilla filled with goodies and fried in a pan.

California native Mauricio Prieto opened La Palmera just two weeks ago, in the old Stabby’s Cafe spot across from the Colossal Cafe in Minneapolis. And while his is a sit-down restaurant, the pupusas his El Salvadoran mother, Ana, makes are perfectly palm-sized, and almost cheaper than a pack of gum.

The restaurant’s full menu offers just three varieties of pupusas: bean and cheese ($1.75, top); a combination of pork, cheese, garlic, onion, and peppers called revueltas ($1.75, bottom); and the classic cheese and loroco ($2). Loroco is a green, tropical flower specific to Salvadoran cooking. It gives the pupusa a unique pungency, something like spinach mixed with okra mixed with parmesan cheese. La Palmera’s loroco pupusa is thick, oozing, and earthy. The revueltas is slightly sweet and never too salty, and the bean and cheese version is highly seasoned and would make a satisfying breakfast (which La Palmera serves every day). The restaurant’s accompanying curtido de repollo, a fermented slaw of cabbage and carrots typically served with pupusas, adds a welcome heat and contrasting crunch to the soft masa cakes.

Then there’s the sun-filled dining room in which you’ll enjoy your pupusas. I guess that’s why they call it “the palm tree.”

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Pupuseria La Palmera
El Salvadoran food in South Minneapolis

4157 Cedar Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Closed Mon
Tues-Thurs 8am-9pm
Fri 8am-9:30pm
Sat 7am-9:30pm
Sun 8am-7:30pm
CHEF / OWNER: Ana Prieto / Mauricio Prieto
BAR: None
ENTREE RANGE: $1.75-$11

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table


  1. Daniel Muro LaMere

    Having spent two months eating Pupusas across El Salvador in 2002, I humbly submit that there are better Pupusas to be had in the Twin Cities.

    I ate at La Palmera on Saturday night, excited about its proximity to my house. When the food took a long time, I was encouraged, as pupusas always seem to take forever for some. And if I didn’t know my pupusas, I would have been happy, as the food was good, but in the end I was disappointed.

    Pupusas are meant to be eaten with your hands, something that is nearly impossible with the frijol con queso, the insides of which are runny like a jucy lucy. Also, La Palmera puts jalapeño peppers in their curtido (accompanying pickled cabbage concoction), but Salvadoran food is not known for its heat. Curtido in particular should have a more complex oregano thing going on.

    For my money, I’d rather go to Pupseria El Rincón in Mercado Central or, if I really want to spoil myself, Mañana on the East Side of Saint Paul.

  2. Karla M

    I am so happy this place moved into the neighborhood. I cannot claim to have any experience with pupusas or food from El Salvadoor, but I loved loved loved this place. The food was flavorful, but not spicy, and had an interesting mix of textures.
    The staff was so helful in explaining the menu and making suggestions. Everything was obviously made from scratch with a lot of love and care. My dining companion and I shared one of each of the three pupusas (my favorite was the loroco and cheese), an entree (chicken in sour cream was tangy, flavorful, and delicious), and two desserts all for under $20.
    They are obviously new and have a few kinks to work out with timing, but they make up for it in enthusiasm and tasty food at really reasonable prices.

  3. Daniel

    LOVED this new restaurant!!!

    We heard it was good, and we love the neighborhood, so we drove in from Edina to try this new kind of food for us. We were surpassed that it was crowded on a Sunday at 2:00, but after ordering almost everything on the menu for our family we understood the crowd. It was sooooo good, and very reasonably priced. The service was really good too. We can’t wait to try their breakfast on Sunday.

  4. Andrea

    What a great new restaurant !!! I loved the chicken sour cream dish. Light sauce, well seasoned, huge pieces of succulent white meat chicken! Large portion, nice people. Friendly atmosphere. I highly recommend. Nice change from a chain restaurant!!! Very reasonably priced.

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