Nestled in the bustling Kern Place neighborhood near UTEP is one of El Paso’s newest eateries: Ita Kitchen.
Short for “cocinita,” the Spanish diminutive for kitchen, Ita Kitchen opened in May next to the also recently opened bar Lost & Found on the corner of Stanton and Robinson.
The restaurant’s co-owner, Michelle Savage, calls it a food truck without wheels, and said the location is ideal for this kind of culinary experiment.
“One thing we love to do in our business is to invest in a neighborhood, and so when we found out Lost & Found was opening in Kern, we were really excited to work with them to add a food component, and see what we could create that would add value to the community.”
Ita specializes in what Savage refers to as comfort food and bar food favorites.
“We do things like chicken wings, burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese, tacos, quesadillas – those comfort foods that everybody loves to munch on whether it’s Saturday night or brunch on weekends.”
You can order at the window and eat it at the outdoor patio of Lost & Found; you can take the food to go; and you can even order ahead of time at the bar’s website itakitchen.com.
“During the day, it’s nice, laidback, and calm – you can come casually eat with coworkers, but at night it’s more of that late night bar scene, so really it covers both worlds.”
Savage, her husband Tyler, and his sister Mariah are no strangers to the restaurant business – they’ve been the owners and operators of the Savage Goods bakery that has sold at various farmers’ markets since 2013, and opened a brick-and-mortar location on Oregon Street in 2018.
“My husband’s sister moved here for a job and just started saying ‘this is such a great city, it’s on the verge of some really incredible things happening,’” said Savage, a native of Wisconsin who moved to El Paso with her husband in 2012.
“We visited, spent one afternoon here and immediately fell in love with El Paso. So we packed up our car and moved down here. It feels like home. We really love it.”
At Ita Kitchen, all ingredients are either made from scratch or locally sourced.
Local vendors include Bakka Ranch, Myer’s Mushrooms, Quality Produce, Guadalajara Tortillas, Bella Cora Bakery, as well as asadero cheese made regionally in Texas. The asadero gives the quesadillas and burgers a special flavor, as did the tomato jam and sweet onion jam on the burger.
Ita also provides full-scale catering, from backyard birthday parties to 200-person weddings.
“We love to feed people,” Savage said. “I feel like an Italian grandmother, I just want to feed everyone.”