El Patio is 60
There is an article in todays local joke, the AAS, about El Patio having been in business for 60 years. Interesting reading for all you Austin history buffs.
I wonder how many of you out there have actually dared eat there? The last time I was there was probably over 40 years ago when I went there one night after work at the Tower Drug , formerly on San Jacinto, with Mercy Ramos .. She was one of the cooks at the TD and we went for dinner. (Mercy, btw, was the hostess at Fonda San Miguel for some years, so you may have met her one time).
I wondered for years how the place has stayed open but apparently it is still going strong.
I'd happily eat there, but I very rarely do because if I'm driving "all the way into town" (I live up in WilCo) and I want Mexican food I go to Cisco's or Habanero or Polvo's.
I went once ages ago. Admittedly, I'm a food snob when it comes to Mexican. I remember this place being HORRIBLE and dirty.
It survives because:
It's right on the drag on campus
caters to a crowd that has no idea what Mexican food is (for the most part)
are mostly young and/or drunk enough not to care about the sanitary conditions
This, however, is a very biased opinion from a long-ago memory...I'm feeling snarky tonight - I had to work outside this morning.
the handful of times i've been there in the last 20 years it has been horrible. And I'm not sure what kids eat there. I've always been the youngest person in the joint.
Pretty sure everything i had there came from a can.
I like to go there every three years or so. Most of the food is horrible. The waiters have nice jackets, but stained with glop in spots. I think that you should all go. Here's how you order there:
Three Shiner Bocks
Guacamole - fresh and excellent
Chile Con Queso - they fry the tortillas perfectly
Sorbet (Sherbet - Orange).
You WILL NOT be disappointed.....
We went soon after moving to Austin in late '04 and remember only that it was mediocre even on our relatively untrained tex mex / mexican palates. We had much better options despite out east and in the midwest, frankly. We've not been back - but I'll gladly go again with the guacamole and queso in mind.
I guess you really do have to like Austin history and "the way things used to be". I LOVE El Patio and since you brought it up I can't wait to go again.