Lupe Tortilla Axes Kiddie Sandbox

LUPE TORTILLA AXES KIDDIE SANDBOX The removal of the sandbox play area adjacent to the bar at the Lupe Tortilla on the 59 feeder road just east of Kirby has attracted little attention. Well, except for grumbles from disappointed families showing up for dinner with sand buckets and plastic shovels — and the “SAVE the Sandbox at Lupe Tortilla’s on the Southwest Freeway” Facebook page. (So far that protest page has garnered only a single “Like.”) The bleachered sandbox was shut down only a few weeks ago, to accommodate a planned expansion of the restaurant’s deck. Photo: Flickr user amydell

68 Comment

  • I thought the sandbox was its only draw.

  • Good riddance. I once had some unattended brat through sand on me as I was walking by there. It’s about time they made a decision about whether they want to be a restaurant or a place for frustrated West U parents to ignore their kids awhile.

  • We went there once three years ago, but it was like dining at a daycare center. I’ve rarely seen so many parents in one place be so completely disrespectful of others by allowing their kids to run around the restaurant as if the whole place was their private playground. The fact that Lupe’s did nothing to ensure that diners like us,there without kids, could enjoy our meal without constant interruptions from bad-ass kids let us know that our hard-earned dollars were not valued there. Hmm, maybe we’ll try Lupe’s again. Maybe not, good Tex-Mex is not exactly rare in Houston.

  • Finally!! Now I can sit outside without screaming kids running around.

  • Wow, haters gonna hate. And people in this country sure do hate kids. Course, they hate moms too, unless they happen to be Hollywood moms who “get their body back” in only two weeks!!! Not all children are brats, people, and yes, parents like to eat out too, without having to spend their entire meal saying “sit still! be quiet! Your food will be here soon!” The sandbox was a great idea, I wish there were more places that would add a play area. Give parents a chance to have a margarita and chill out. Does anyone know of a restaurant (besides Joe’s) that has one?

  • finally! now i won’t have to drive halfway across houston just to have an enjoyable evening dinner watching my kids do something fun! good riddance far-away lupe tortilla, hello whatever’s closer and likely much, much cheaper. just between you and me, es preeeety reeeeeskaaaay!

  • Finally! I had been told by a manager at a different Lupe that this day was coming. My understanding of his take was that the sandbox was too much hassle and they didn’t make nearly as much money off of the parents-and-kids as they did off of the other patrons.

    @firehat, Jon, and DXBIAH (are you in Dubai, or in Houston?) — reminds me of the time that I was eating at the bar of the 59 Lupe, and this one set of kids kept running back and forth through the bar area. I finally addressed one with a “Hey! Stop running or go outside!” He stopped in his tracks looking like no one had ever challenged him before. Then he went and whined to his dad that the mean man yelled at him. His dad was too chickenshit to say anything.

  • I love kids. I have an SUV load full of them. I hate sandboxes at restaurants. It’s a moronic idea. Lupe and El Jarrito in Katy also have them. I go down the street to have dinner and when I get home it looks like I’ve been camping on West Beach.

  • Well maybe this is even a better “family-friendly” move, since the kiddos would soon have a front row seat to the new Twin Peaks! I’m sure Focus on the Family or someone made them close it down :p

  • That’s a bummer. As a margarita-swilling parent, I am disappointed to hear this. We have never, and would never, let our child run wild in any restaurant.
    The sandbox was a draw for us, that and their awesome fajitas. We won’t visit as often now.
    What central Houston really needs is a family-oriented place like MoMak’s and Big’z in San Antonio.

  • All you kid haters here….it is a sad day that our society has become so intolerant of children anywhere except at their own house or park.

    Get over yourselves. If you dont want to dine around children eat later in the evening. Kids have as much a right to be everywhere you are. Like or not. I try to be respectful of others, but I have had enough of listening to people who think they dont have to tolerate people with kids……news flash. You do…you are not special, you are not more important than that child, and to top it all off, you are an A$$hole!

  • As a parent that occasionally goes to that Lupe’s, I’m very glad they are getting rid of it. A – I don’t want my kids playing in the sandbox when we are there to eat. B – I don’t like dealing with the 5 cups of sand attached to each kid, which ends up all over the car and our house. C – I’m leary of outdoor sandboxes everywhere after seeing a stray cat use a sand volleyball court as a litterbox…

  • I love how pretentious people without children sound! And, to think, I used to be one of them. I agree, though. A sandbox at a restaurant (even a garden variety pseudo Tex Mex place like Lupe Tortilla) is a stupid idea.

  • We are sad about this. Sunday afternoon ritual was to go to Lupe’s, invite some friends to join, have a margarita, and let the kids play in the sand for a while. Our children were never allowed to run around the restaurant or throw sand. They were never left unsupervised. Most families at Lupe’s can say the same.

    I think the issue here is people with kids vs. people without kids. Before I had kids, I hated the sandbox, too b/c it was loud. But, I recognized it was important for my friends who were parents. Don’t they deserve a margarita, too? Now, with kids, I have been grateful for the sandbox. However, with the closure we will be dining elsewhere, and so will our friends. I anticipate Lupe’s will be loosing business.

    For those of you who hate kids, get over yourselves. Children are people, not dolls. Parents are people, too. If you had young children, you would be right there with the rest of the parents commenting on this site. Houston needs more family friendly places to eat besides Chick-Fil-A.

  • The sandbox brought in families. If you are a non-parent and whining about having lots of kids around at a restaurant with a sandbox, then you are probably not the sharpest tool in the shed. Papasito’s, Cafe Adobe, El Tiempo, Berryhill, Guadalajara, Chuy’s, Ninfa’s, Escalante’s, and probably 50 others are nearby. Now there is little that differentiates Lupe from others and little reason for my family to eat there. Too bad.

  • Marksmu–

    I can’t stand smug parents like you, your screaming children, your sense of entitlement and willingness to disturb those around you, and the sheer chaos that follows you wherever you go. Call me as a$$hole as much as you like. You might even be right. You are, however, wrong about one thing. I do not have to tolerate your misbehaving children and simply will not patronize restaurants who enable them. If you can’t control them, then maybe you weren’t cut out to be a parent.

  • It was always a hassle with the kids running around while I was trying to sunbath.

  • Part of having kids is sacraficing things you could otherwise do without them. Like fun weekend trips, and movies, and dinners in great restaurants. Sorry, but kids don’t have a right be anyplace an adult can if they can’t behave themselves. You can actually take kids to sandbox-free restaurants if you teach them to behave. If they aren’t old enough to control themselves, well, you just may have to wait a few years before you can eat with them. Or try getting a sitter.

    I bet Lupe’s will still have a kid’s menu, but the kids will be forced to actually sit relatively still and behave themselves. What a novel concept.

  • This is great. I have been hoping that Chuck E. Cheese will follow suit and get rid of all the games. I am really tired of kids running around while I try to enjoy some pizza.

  • Agree with Pablo 100%. Also, hated to go there with my kids to meet people b/c of all the sand. Not much relaxing with policing the kids, sand everywhere and trying to clean them up before getting in our car. Not. A. Fan. Of. The. Sand. However, the people complaining of the kids and making noise probably complain about kids at Chuck E Cheese, the movies, the pool, a playground, etc. No adults say, “Hey, let’s go have an adult meal at the most kid catering Tex Mex place in Houston!!!” If they just had to have Lupe’s then they should have gone to the one on Shepherd. No kitty litter box there.

  • Many of the parents commenting here are doing a great job proving that the problem in restaurants with misbehaving kids is the arrogant, self-serving, and disrespectful parents, not the kids.

  • Pablo for president. Nicely stated. Carving out a niche as the family-friendly restaurant and then turning your back on it doesn’t seem like the best plan. As a member of a family of 4, I find it very hard to believe their patrons with kids weren’t spending more than the non-parents. My credit card bill seems to suggest otherwise.

    Tina, eat your dang kaysadyllas!

  • Never ate there. Nor would I. With a bunch of rug rats running amok,with little to NO parental supervision would RUIN dinner for most everyone. I love kids, but the parents NEED to control their “darlings”.

  • I agree with those who say that Houston needs more kid-friendly places. They should be well publicized, so that those people who are not “brat-friendly” can go elsewhere. Those of us who object to the sandbox crowd don’t hate kids — we’ve just become exasperated with parents who patronize our favorite restaurants en famille, and expect the staff to babysit.

  • I have kids. I also hate the sandbox. One of the reasons I hate the sandbox is because other parents don’t bother to watch their kids and then I have to end up parenting my own, plus everyone else’s. The sandbox is dirty and keeps the kids from eating dinner, which is the purpose of going out.

    That being said, Lupe’s will still be a family oriented restaurant, even without the sandbox. So, if you don’t want to see me and my kids, go after 7:30 when we’re getting in to bed or go to Hugo’s for your margarita.

  • *Sigh* this argument between “kids are annoying” and “kids are people too” is getting really tired. The fact of the matter is that people have kids, they take them places, most of the time the kids are fine, sometimes the kids are rotten (there are a few who are rotten all the time). The good news for the people in the same place as the rotten-acting kids as that they aren’t their kids, and their time wherever they are is short. If you would like to avoid children, do the same thing you do to avoid any other group of folks that don’t annoy you-go where they aren’t and when they are not there. We try to take our 2 year old places that are appropriate at appropriate times (we aren’t at RDG at 9pm on a Saturday). Sadly, some people don’t do that, and a sandbox existing or not existing at a restaurant has zero effect on those folks.

  • Oh, and what HeightsLife said-sandboxes SUCK.

  • The really good thing about kids is that they will eventually become adults.

    At that point, or maybe even sooner (like when they become teens), all these parents that are defending their darlings will once again begin to experience what some of us refer to as “life after kids”.

    Babies and children are currently the only means by which we can produce adults. Being a parent myself, I would not trade all those times we had with our children when they were young. But, make no mistake about it, I am extremely happy that my young’uns are all grown.

    There were no sandboxes at restaurants when mine were small. No matter, we would not have gone there anyway. Does not sound like a good idea and I can only imagine the gripes from the restaurant help. “Aw, I mopped up the sand mess last time.”

  • It is not so much that we hate kids, it is just that this decade of children are spoiled and not obedient. Some of us would like to sit outside and eat without kids screaming and running around. What happened to parents making children sit at the table quietly. Get a babysitter if you can’t handle your kids.

  • @Christina – my child is not old enough to run loose and I am yet to ever disturb a single person at a restaurant with her presence…because I am considerate about what is expected of children in public….but I see snotty little stuck up kid hating people like you everywhere I go.

    You turn your head and glare at parents with kids every time one of them makes a peep, while you sit there getting drunk, cussing repeatedly as loudly as possible, all the while annoying the entire restaurant as your cell phone rings over and over again with some obnoxious ring tone….

    And you are right, you don’t have to tolerate children, you are welcome to leave and not patronize any place that allows kids, but you should be and will eventually be dressed down, if you attempt to assert your version of a perfect dinner onto those with children who don’t care to entertain your imaginary utopia where the world actually cares about your feelings towards kids.

    If you dont want to be around kids you need to eat dinner later. 99% of kisd are in bed by 9….Society does not have to bend over and change to accomodate your unrealistic version of a night out.

  • @googlemaster

    I am in Houston, but lived in Dubai before

  • People, people. Let’s focus on who we all really hate. Dog owners…*bah dum tsh*!!

  • Sounds like some on here right now need to chill and go ahead with that drink.

  • When kids get unruly at restaurants, I like to talk about characters they associate with, such as Mickie Mouse or Sponge Bob, then pepper the conversation with inappropriateness to shock the hell out of them. This worked great in the Lounge at Benjy’s one evening. Parent removed their toddler from THE BAR!

  • Margaritas for the whole house. Kids included.

  • Actually, Marksmu, I am not single. I have two small children. Mine, however, are well behaved, and, if they misbehave, we take them home. When and if they can’t behave in a manner that is suitable for being in public, we sacrifice our margaritas and stay home. Why? Because: (1) we don’t believe that other people should have to put up with noise and ruckus they did not request; and (2) we want our kids to understand that it is important to respect other people in public. When we had our kids, we understood that we might have to change our lifestyle. And I don’t remember asking society to change…I believe what I said is that I will just go elsewhere. Society doesn’t have to change for you, either. Either be a parent or stop procreating.

  • Yo, Pye, I think I’m already pretty chill about this issue (since I simply avoid both sandboxes AND Doucheington Avenue unless I want to take what comes with each) – but the sun is over the yardarm and your idea of a nice bevvie sounds pretty fine.

    We should also consider the possibility that the self absorbed loud drunk cussing into the cell phone was at one time one of the little darlings with a screech that can cut glass in the next county, if not lineally related.
    Such public behavior does not occur around anyone related to my mom, a very genteel lady with a finger snap like a rifle crack and a glare that freezes water at 30 paces.

  • What does hating sand have to do with hating kids? I ate there once. (Once.) My child got all dirty. I hated it. Why would I want to associate eating with playing in dirt? Is it okay to hate having A BIG PILE OF DIRT at a place to EAT? For those who love having sand piles at restaurants: Does the shovel go on the right or the left?

  • I am shocked at the number of parents having margaritas while out with their kids.

  • Are you kidding? Did they really get rid of the sandbox? Now my 2 year old terrorist will be running around the a-hole kid-hating tables. Oh well, the little SOB has to burn off her energy somehow. I have a suggestion for those that don’t have kids – eat at a bar, strip club, or your own house if you want to avoid kids.

  • I find the mostly kidless aholes very entertaining. Why don’t you go to a titty bar and complain about nudity. How about a bar and complain about drunk people. I hope you don’t go to a church and complain about overly religious people praying. If you don’t know when you see a sandbox that a restaurant is going to be filled with kids you are an idiot. It is the one place kids can be kids and parents can enjoy talking to friends. Yes some of the West U. crowd aren’t great parents however if that bothers you find another place to visit like Treasures.

  • Small children running around and waiters carrying heavy trays of sizzling fajitas do not go well together.

  • @LarryDierker you do realize the chicken/egg relationship between kids and margaritas don’t you?

  • I went over there one afternoon after being at Academy. I saw the sandbox and turned around. I dont like kids at places I hang out, so I dont hang out at theres. Really its more the parents…they want some off time from parenting to drink, so unsuperv ised kids will stir up a commotion. It only takes a couple of them to get the whole group amped up.

  • Well said miss_msry (36) ! ;)
    LarryDieker (40), I’m hoping that was a tongue in cheek comment.
    At the end of the week, I am SO ready for a margarita and someone else cooking dinner.
    After reading all these impassioned comments on kids in restaurants, I’m ready for a margarita now.

  • It’s just a phase, anyway. Sandbox kids grow up and hang out on Washington. Dodgeball tournament at Sawyer Park, bro!

  • I don’t know which is worse, the self-absorbed non-parents that believe every restaurant caters to them or the parents that fear a sandbox. I weep for the poor kids that have these people as parents. Seriously, your child got sandy and it pissed you off? They’re kids! They’re not some designer pet you carry around for show in your Juicy bag. Let them stomp in a mud puddle, let them pour sand in their hair, let them be happy kids. If you have to get your fat ass off the couch and give them a bath afterwards, is that really going to ruin your day? Did you have to tip the guy at Bubbles an extra quarter to vacuum out the sand from your four-wheeled McPhallus? Did little Peyton Jr. scuff his new Gucci shoes and embarrass you before you could adequately threaten him into submission? People suck.

  • I agree with the first comment…..Sand box was their main draw. Food is pretty weak.

  • I’ve eaten at this restaurant & have witnessed on numerous occasions, plenty of children behaving badly & NOT BEING supervised by parents. Which was frustrating to me as I would be the 1 parent trying to referree an entire sandbox of kids. I’m on the fence about whether I will miss the sandbox. We don’t eat there much anyway.

  • I was once at a yogurt shop that has a guy come out dressed as a bowl of yogurt to play with kids. An older kid was playing with two younger children. One of the younger children would SCREAM (happy scream) everytime the older kid tried to tickle her. The screams lasted about 2-3 seconds and were somewhere in decibel range between a Van Halen concert (back in the day) and a Boeing 747. The child’s mom did nothing and even commented that her daughter had a very powerful scream.
    It is a fact of life that there are some parents out there who do not discipline their kids. We cannot change that. But we can go to the yogurt store that serves the sour healthy stuff instead of the store that serves the candy yogurt with a guy walking around in big weird yogurt cartoon character suit if we do not want to endure the children of parents who would rather make you put up with their kids than have to be a parent and be responsible for some discipline.

    If you really must have medicore Tex-Mex and a watered down, overly sweet margarita without the risk of being around lousy parents and their spawn, you just have to drive up Kirby and sit yourself down at Ninfa’s.

  • Kilray- I have 2 boys who get plenty rambunctious and dirty. Dinner- at a restaurant, no less- is not the place for it. They can do it in our yard, at the park, or any of a hundred other places. Dinner is a time to sit and eat.

    Plus, sandboxes are not mud puddles. They are more like litter boxes for feral cats and nesting grounds for fleas. I don’t want this when I eat. Everything has a time and place.

  • Here is a thought, leave the kids at home.. Nothing ruins a good meal like a screaming child, or toddlers underfoot. Sorry you’re encumbered with a child, but it would be nice if you wouldn’t make that our problem too. Your child your decision to bring them to a restaurant, thus it’s your problem..

  • I don’t know, I guess I’m just a little too laid back as a parent. The sandbox wasn’t a must-have, it was just a nice-to-have. My boys can sit at a table nicely and eat. It’s just “nice” to have a sandbox they can play in during the in-between stages. So sue me, I like the sandbox.

    For those of you who are big on perfect behavior in public, I don’t blame you. In a utopic society you would be entitled to this. If you are eating dinner after 7PM in a very adult restaurant you are entitled to this. You will not be bumping into us, so don’t worry! However, before 6PM, if it serves pizza, tex-mex or chicken nuggets, it’s possible you might see us. Most of the time our kids get it right, and they are angels and all of us leave feeling proud. Well done, boys! One is on the autism spectum, and little brother copies, so for us, it is a particular accomplishment.

    Sometimes, unfortunately, however, they misbehave b/c they are – well, children with odd things like energy and testosterone – you glare (yes, we see you! we get it!) and we leave as soon as humanly possible, apologize profusely if we are loud, leave a big tip, and we are on our way. How else are we supposed to handle a less-than perfect situation?

    Parents, like us, of children-in-training, we could use a day without “The Glare”. Our sons will one day be paying your medical bills and fighting your wars, so cut ’em some slack. We’re working on bad behavior, don’t worry, whether or not it gets addressed in public. Why is everyone itching at the seams to see a child disciplined in public? Go find another form of entertainment, please.

    Families like ours work every day on behavior. We’ll get there. Don’t worry. We are very aware of everyone’s very sensitive adult feelings. For some families, it just takes a while longer. So, next time you see a child misbehaving and the family struggling to discipline them appropriately under the judgemental glare of everyone else, just cut a little slack and chill out. We’re leaving soon, I promise.

  • I have two small kids and I HATE Lupe’s sandbox. Mostly because oblivious parents gettin’ their buzz let their ruffians throw sand and jump off the play structures on to each other (and my kids). I don’t like to have to yell at your kids: “HEY! STOP THROWING SAND ON MY SON!” or “HEY! DON’T CLIMB ON TOP OF THE LITTLE HOUSE AND JUMP ON OTHER KIDS!”

    Good riddance.

  • Lupe Tortillas is like the Boneyard Drinkery but for kids instead of dogs. Good thing my house has a backyard so that I don’t have to frequent either place…

  • As a former teacher, it’s 99% of the time the parents. Kids are a product of their environments, and likely being raised by spongebob and other crap that passes for children’s tv these days. I though the electric company was bad back in the day; little did I know how bad things would be now..

  • Listen, I feel more qualified than most to speak on the matter. I’ve been going to Lupe’s every weekend for probably a decade. A few years without kids, and more with. The same people voicing frustration with kids here are those also ticked at babies crying on airplanes, in grocery stores, etc..

    Let me be the first to tell you. It is not parenting “these days” trust me, you had your moments as a child too but your parents (and you) likely have long forgotten the melt downs and fist fights with siblings. Most parents are fantastic and they choose to go to Lupe’s BECAUSE it has, until recently, been so welcoming to those with children. (wouldn’t you rather them be at Lupe’s than at your Rated R movie??) For the record, a sitter is $15/ per hour and NO it IS too late to put the children back into the womb. If I’m paying $80 for a sitter, guess what?? I am NOT going to Lupes. Which, brings me to my final point. I will not be going to Lupes any more. The sand box was the draw.

    By they way. My kids do sit nicely, say please and thank you, have never hit or thrown sand at others, and we usually drop a good $500 each weekend amongst our friends.

    Bad move, Lupes.

  • I honestly don’t get all the child haters. You’re going to a place with a freakin’ sandbox playground right up front. Maybe you should go to Chuck E Cheese and complain about the children too. If you’re taking your hot date to Lupe’s then you must be living large. Maybe you’ll spring for Denny’s on your next hot date. Bottom line, there are only a few places where you can take children and let them have a good time while you actually try to carry on a conversation. If you don’t like the kids, go to someplace without a freaking sandbox.

  • Go to Natachee’s on Main. Cheap and casual. Has bar, food, sandbox and live music!!

  • Parents the Queens and Kings of rationalization…

  • It sure sounds like Lupe’s doesn’t want to be lumped in with Chuck E Cheese anymore. They make more money at restaurants with larger outside patios holding more adult drinkers, liquor sales being the cash cow that it is.

    I know from personal experience, when we head to Lupe with the kids, we drink less and spend less money in the process. When it’s adults only, it’s Ninfa’s, El Tiempo, etc., and we spend more than twice the amount.

    So, out goes the box, in goes a bigger patio deck. Pure economics.

  • I’ve been visiting Lupe’s for years, including the original out in the hinterlands. It was very slightly annoying before I had kids, but being the brilliant mind that I am, my solution was to not hang out too close to the sandbox. Problem solved.
    Then when I had kids, while somewhat disgusting, the sandbox was a nice benefit. When I’d go there with my kids, I’d sit by the sandbox and police my kids, sometimes along with a few less attentive parents’ kids. When I’d go there without my kids, I’d sit in the 80% of the restaurant not by the sandbox, and I didn’t even know it was there.
    I’m going to work under the assumption that the owners made a business decision that the additional space and/or the removal of the kid’s sandbox would be more profitable than the kid’s parents who come there because it was a great family place. For my personal consumption, I’ll go there significantly less now. The real “problem” is that the restaurant was so popular, there was a line at any time of day, but I suspect there will be less of one now prior to 7pm.

  • For my family, it was a real treat having a leisurely weekend lunch at one of the tables along the sides of the Lupe sandbox, where we could eat great fajitas and watch my son play while we were waiting for the food or after he was done eating.

    Some of the kids threw sand or ran through the restaurant, but most of them just minded their own business playing and enjoyed themselves. My son is four and well behaved and never caused any trouble for anyone. But being a kid, I guess for those who despise children, he gets dumped into the same category as all the brats.

    It must be really tough for the people who feel that kids are annoying to go out to eat these days. Finding a Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston without a sandbox full of kids would require a lot of time and effort. I can totally understand why someone would not want to go to all the trouble of trying one of the 20 other Tex-Mex places near Lupe.

    Maybe we have changed because we have kids now, but when my wife and I pay a sitter to leave the kids at home and go out on a date night, we find the tiny, crowded restaurants with bar areas full of adults drinking too much and talking too loudly to be at least as annoying as the little urchins at the kid-friendly places.

    Perhaps we should petition the owners to ban drinking, loud talk and obnoxious adults, or I guess we could just go somewhere else. Which, come to think of it, would have been a pretty good solution for all the childless people whining about the children ruining their good time at Lupe.

  • Yeah… they removed the sandbox and built an elaborate patio with a mexican arch. I agree it looks better and has much nicer presence than the sand box however I think they put the sand in the food. Thier food sucks.

  • I’ve never been to lupe. When I heard they had a sandbox I was thrilled. Only to find out its been removed?? Bummer

  • We religiously went to Lupe every Friday and ate at the outdoor long picnic table alongside the sandbox. We met up with all our friends who had kids and didn’t mind ‘parenting’ for those less attentive or with further proximity. It was such a leisurely, relaxing, kid friendly, fun place to have early dinners. We spent lots of money on drinks and food and crammed into one table with 12-16 people! Made the mistake of going there ONCE since the playground closed. Not the same feel, no longer kid friendly and funny, the food didn’t taste nearly as good as it did before. Won’t be back. Sad there isn’t a place inside the loop besides Mission Burrito, which we love and now frequent instead of Lupe’s, that is kid friendly and easy going. Would be nice to be waited on instead of waiting in line. #missingtheoldlupes

  • Sandboxes are practically an invitation for three-coke-can-with-an-apple-on-top-like objects to appear there. Especially so near to Woodland Heights. Can’t be having any of that, now, not in a chain restaurant.