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El Patio is 60

s
singlemalt Jan 24, 2014 11:06 AM

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.

  1. chispa_c Jan 24, 2014 11:29 AM

    I think I went there once with my parents in the early 70's. All I remember is they had saltine crackers in a bowl on the table with butter pats. Pre-chips & salsa I guess. I've never been there as an adult.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chispa_c
      s
      singlemalt Jan 24, 2014 01:41 PM

      According to the article, the reason for the Saltines was that the frat boys would come in and eat the chips and salsa and not buy anything. Now, so says the paper, they are serving chips and salsa.

    2. t
      tori_atx Jan 24, 2014 02:51 PM

      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.

      1. amysuehere Jan 24, 2014 05:12 PM

        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
        is cheapish
        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.

        1 Reply
        1. re: amysuehere
          s
          singlemalt Jan 24, 2014 05:31 PM

          And also I think they stay open late at night to catch the after party crowd.

        2. i
          ieathereforeiam Jan 24, 2014 06:20 PM

          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.

          1. rudeboy Jan 24, 2014 06:59 PM

            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.....

            3 Replies
            1. re: rudeboy
              t
              tori_atx Jan 24, 2014 08:08 PM

              Maybe that's it-- I always get the guacamole and a couple of their flat tacos with queso drizzled over the top on those fresh fried tortillas.

              1. re: rudeboy
                girloftheworld Jan 26, 2014 07:46 PM

                I was taken there because "it is a part of Austin history".
                I guess it is kind of like kissing the blarney stone....you are not exactly going to love doing it but well it has to be done.

                1. re: girloftheworld
                  r
                  Rene Jan 26, 2014 09:30 PM

                  Me, too.. Part of Austin history. I think my hosts were much more enthusiastic than warranted but I had a great time. I still love it, reminiscing about my Austin initiation 20 years ago in May. So funny.

              2. slowcoooked Jan 25, 2014 08:02 AM

                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.

                1. d
                  danny_w Feb 1, 2014 01:36 PM

                  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.

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