More than three years in the making, brewery and restaurant Lupulandia is now open in the Mission.
Located in a long-vacant space at 2243 Mission St. (between 18th and 19th streets), the new brewery comes from the husband-and-wife team of Anthony LaVia and Marisol Gonzalez. Both are Mission residents of Mexican descent; LaVia also co-owns Southern Pacific Brewing, located a few blocks away at 620 Treat Ave.
The name "Lupulandia" roughly translates to "Hop Land" — lúpulo is Spanish for hops, a key ingredient used in brewing beer.
Housed in a long-empty former furniture store, Lupulandia is inspired by Tras Horizonte, a brewery-gastropub that LaVia opened in Tijuana a little over two years ago with business partners Oso and Pablo Campos.
It offers similar menu items to Tras Horizonte, but with an added local spin. A creamy "Baja chowder" made with smoked tuna comes in a sourdough bread bowl, while fried chicken is accompanied by churros, in a spin on chicken and waffles.
"When you grown up Mexican in America, you end up mixing things," LaVia said.
The menu also includes several different varieties of Baja-style tacos: fried fish, camarones enchilados (shrimp in a chile-garlic butter), and a crispy vegetarian taco with nopales.
Lupulandia's beer is brewed on-site, with options like a grapefruit lager, hazy IPA and brown lager. The brewery also offers a housemade sour beer that is used in its micheladas.
The restaurant also has a full bar, with cocktails created by family member Sal Gonzalez, whom LaVia first hired to work at Tras Horizonte before bringing him back to work at Lupulandia. Cocktails include the El Xolo (vodka, lemon, fresh squeezed grapefruit, peppercorn, sparkling wine) and a mai tai variation called the "Mai Tia" (rum, orange curacao, lime, Mexican orgeat).
The 3,000-square-foot space also has an outdoor patio, and if all goes as planned, it might offer a 1,500-square-foot roof deck by the spring or summer of 2020.
LaVia said he's currently in the process of working through an application with SF Planning, ensuring his neighbors that the roof deck won't be open late at night, or be disruptive to the neighborhood.
LaVia, who lives around the corner, said that he and Gonzalez strongly identify with the Mission.
"It’s great to show people here that Mexican food doesn’t have to be like it was in the 1950s, with just items served with rice and beans," he said. "We can share something with our neighbors that they haven’t had before, whether it's the food, the cocktails or the beer."
Lupulandia is now open Thursday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m., and Wednesday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-midnight. It's closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but general manager Eli Casajuana said hours could change in early 2020, depending on demand.