Pupuseria & Cafeteria Centroamericana

We were going to Los Hermanos Dominican Restaurant this morning. It was closed again for the second time. Later on we saw it opened up again, but wow, we were there for breakfast at like 0830, so I guess desayunos comes late in the Dominican Republic! Instead we stumbled on a new place, the Pupuseria & Cafeteria Centroamericana at 2504 W Dr Martin Luther King. We visited on 14 November 2009, and this was our first visit.


We had no idea what we were in for with this adventure. Heck, me and Marek had to come home and look up a definition of Pupusas! We walked in the door and discovered we were in a Salvadoran restaurant. We applied our crafty knowledge of cultural cues and geography, plus our ability to read the t-shirts on display that were emblazoned with “El Salvador!” We’ve never been to a Salvadoran place, nor ever even met folks from El Salvador so far as we know. So we were in for a treat!


We sat down to an interesting menu full of lovely new things for us to consider. Our lovely waitress did not speak English, so we had a chance to exercise our fledgling Español again. No pancakes on the menu, so we had to get out of our normal routine. I’m seriously considering making a Latin category for breakfasts, as it’s hard to do a pancakes review when there’s no pancakes!


What do you think about this car?


While they had cafe negro, I decided to stick with my policy that I just made up that I always have cafe con leche con desayunos, pero black coffee for breakfast. Marek, as our loyal and dear readers may have noticed, is off his coffee kick and sticking to the juice. This was a really delicious coffee. I had two!


While we were having coffee, we couldn’t help but notice this beautiful piece of work. In fact, the whole place was full of nice little touches like this. We’ve lived as ex-pats so we know what an ex-pat refuge looks like, and the Pupuseria Centroamericana looks like a real oasis for folks with Salvadoran roots.


Dad got un beso!


Then breakfast came. So we didn’t get pancakes because they weren’t on the menu (though afterwards, I think they did have pancakes on the niños menu but I missed it when we were ordering). What we did was take the recomendation of our cheerful waitress and got the heuvos rancheros. Take a gander at this sumptuous plate of chow:


That’s fried eggs with salsa, refried beans, sour cream, cheese, what appeared to be home-made corn tortillas, and plantains. Plus, we got some Cuban toast with cheese for Marek. Now to be perfectly honest, I’m really a pancake-man. A one-trick-pony, if you will. But us breakfast professionals have a burden to bear and sometimes we have to walk a challenging road, making great sacrifices along the way, in order to discover all the great breakfasts of Tampa Bay. So looking at this new breakfast, this desayunos nuevos, with a fresh eye, I can tell you that it was fabulous. Unfortunately, Marek didn’t agree. He barely touched it.


But that turned out to be Marek’s problem as I made it my goal to find the bottom of the plate. Delicious! While I was occupied, Marek did his best to entertain the four señoritas bonitas who sat in the booth behind us. When we were done (me with eating both our breakfasts and Marek with being cute), Marek paid the bill.


He made good friends along the way. We discovered that Salvadorans are some pretty gosh-darned friendly folks!


We didn’t find this to be a particularly cheap breakfast, but much like our visit to J. Christopher’s a couple months ago, we had such good chow that we didn’t notice. Marek DID get a pop after he paid the bill, so he went away pretty gosh darned happy, too.


This is one happy Marek.


After breakfast we made it into a great day by picking up mom and going downtown. We took the Tampa Trolley!


And we went to the Ybor City Saturday Market!


Overall we had a great morning, and we got our start at the Pupuseria & Cafeteria Centroamericana. Friendly folks, definite locals vibe, really interesting interior with great Central American elements, and delicious, if non-TBB-standard, desayunos. Oh, and a pop. We liked this place a lot. We’re pleased to award Pupuseria & Cafeteria Centroamericana a four Tampa Bay Breakfast pancake rating.


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