A homegrown food truck known for its creative takes on lumpia, or Filipino spring rolls, has found a permanent place to post up in Barrio Logan where it’ll soon open a takeout shop on the same site where it’s developing an incoming, full-service Filipino restaurant. Founded by local chef Spencer Hunter, who also runs catering outfit Hunters Home Kitchen with mom Benelia Santos-Hunter, Lia’s Lumpia will share the converted cottage and patio space on Logan Avenue that last housed the short-lived Cafe Califas with Milagros, a new restaurant due in Spring 2023 that’ll showcase the chef’s modern interpretations of Filipino cuisine.
Launched as a pop-up, Lia’s Lumpia evolved into a food truck after the team competed on The Great Food Truck Race: Holiday Hustle, making it all the way to the finale of the Food Network show. The truck will wind down its busy schedule, which includes regular stops at the new Snapdragon Stadium as well as at local breweries, later this month to pivot to the Barrio Logan storefront.
Offering a menu ranging from traditional lumpia to versions of the spring roll stuffed with mac and cheese, pork belly ramen, vegan curry, and pizza toppings as well as casual dishes like calamansi chicken wings, chicken adobo tacos, and Filipino-style smashburgers, Lia’s Lumpia will initially operate from a to-go window off the cottage’s porch, though Hunter tells Eater that he’s working on turning the backyard into a communal seating area where the kitchen will run out of a food truck or renovated shipping container.
Based on updated versions of longstanding family recipes and named for his grandmother, who opened a restaurant in National City in the 1970s that supplied lumpia wrappers to area markets, Milagros will occupy the property’s main house and front patio. While the space is being redecorated, Hunter says he’ll be hosting monthly ticketed dinners there as he tests and finalizes its dishes. Both Lia’s Lumpia and Milagros will be among the local restaurants featured at the upcoming Chew the Scene food and cocktail event, which kicks off the 2022 San Diego Asian American Film Festival; Milagros will be serving up longanisa Scotch eggs as a preview of its eventual menu.