La Popular gears up for November 20 opening
by Andrew Alonzo | firstname.lastname@example.org
A soft opening with limited availability is set for Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18. Email email@example.com for reservations.
Frederick and his staff began working on the concept for an artesian taqueria business about 18 months ago. It draws inspiration from Mexico City cuisine. “It’s a little less Baja California or even Southern California Mexican,” Frederick said, with menu highlights including “quesabirria” tacos, al pastor enchiladas, ribeye or adobo prawns fajitas, in addition to an extensive cocktail menu, Mexican spirits, and beers.
Though Claremont is already home to several Mexican restaurants, and nearby Pomona boasts dozens, Frederick hopes La Popular will set itself apart.
“I mean I know Pomona, but we don’t think of Pomona,” he said. “I think of like how many Mexican restaurants are there in Claremont right now in the downtown Village, and there’s really nothing like this.”
Like the four other La Popular restaurants in Austin, Las Vegas, Roseville, California, and the soon to be open Porter Ranch, the Claremont location will include a disco ball in the center of the restaurant and chefs making tortillas in the exhibition kitchen. Claremont was chosen partly because of the success of the local Eureka! since its 2011 opening, Frederick said.
“The whole strategy was to put these in our top Eureka! markets where we could, in theory, double down on what we know and what we believe in,” Frederick said. “The other three [La Popular] locations that are currently open all have Eureka!s as well.”
Another reason to bring La Popular to Claremont was word of Rhino Records’ longtime building going on the market for the first time since 1991.
“To be able to get that building, which is a historical building and is on a great intersection, we couldn’t be more ecstatic to further our sort of footprint in the Claremont community,” Frederick said.
The Claremont City Council in April unanimously approved a $75,000 grant for La Popular Restaurant. The funding, provided through the city’s 2022-23 Community Development Block Grant Job Creation and Business Incentive Program, was used for marketing, employee development, business expenses, and purchase of equipment, according to a staff report.
Recent construction on the building included adding patio seating and sliding doors between the interior and exterior, and opening up the ceiling to expose the original wood beams that had not been seen in more than 60 years, Frederick said.
Neither Euerka! Restaurant Group or its partners, Grupo Carolo, own the property. It still belongs to the Bentley Family Trust. La Popular inked a 20 year lease last fall with optional five-year extensions.
At 4,215 square feet, the restaurant can seat 185 indoors and out. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. Monday, November 20. Normal business hours are from 11 a.m. to midnight daily. Happy hour takes place weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. Parking is in the adjacent lot and along Yale and Bonita avenues, or a block south at the Packing House. For more information or reservations, call (909) 527-2645 or visit lapopularcdmx.com/locations.