By Timothy Rawles / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
If you’re not familiar with Salvadoran cuisine, it might be a good time to head to Queen Creek and try some.
Maritza’s Pupusas is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it roadside restaurant located at 1532 West Ocotillo Road.
Pupusas are a traditional Salvadorian dish. They are small corncakes usually filled with meat, beans and cheese. But that’s not all on the menu at Maritza’s. They also have tamales, tacos and other cultural dishes.
The restaurant opened in 2021 without much fanfare, but it has since become a popular spot thanks to good word of mouth. It currently holds an average five-star review rating on Yelp with 52 reviewers.
Laura N. praised the restaurant, “Went in for lunch on a Saturday. We got the yucca with pork chunks and the 3 pupusa combo (bean & cheese, spinach & cheese, jalapeños & cheese). The food came with a slaw and a loose salsa. $20 for all this food and 2 drinks. The pupusas were big and filling, served screaming hot and delicious. I've had pupusas before but these seemed larger and more generous than others. The place is a no frills, simple spot. Customer service was good. I'm happy to have something a little different in an area that seriously lacks food diversity. Another true to form kind of place.”
Stephanie G. of Gilbert was impressed by almost everything, “I must say, the pupusas were very tasty,” she writes. “My favorites have always been the cheese pupusas and this one did not disappoint! BUT, I was not impressed w/ their side of cabbage (which you place as a topping on your pupusa). The cabbage was dry and spicy! It had red pepper flakes, which I've never had, in any Salvadorian restaurant I've visited.”
Maritza’s also has breakfast fare and desserts. Empanadas De Planto is a delicious dessert. It consists of plantain empanadas filled with sweet ice cream and covered with sugar. They also make fresh macarons which will cost you $10 for five.
Main courses are reasonably priced too. A combo will cost you $12.25 and includes three pupusas of your choice and a 24-ounce fountain drink. Pork or chicken tamales are $2.50 each and two corn tamales are $5.50.
With Queen Creek and San Tan Valley growing at a rapid pace, small family-owned businesses are at risk of developers. Although there are currently no plans for development where Maritza’s Pupusas stands, supporting your local mom and pop shops is an experience. Your money isn’t going to a giant corporation and the product you get is an expression of the business owner who actually lives in the community.
Another popular Queen Creek small business eatery, The Original Golden Skone, understands the value of community support as seen in their review of Maritza’s on Facebook.
“So many people have helped us along the way,” they write, “it feels great to focus on another struggling small business! I stopped in [to Maritza’s] tonight and tried the cheese filled and bean and cheese pupusas. The red hot sauce was really good and their special fruit drink blew me away! If you get a chance, check them out on Ocotillo and Meridian Road.”