Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Austin >
Jan 24, 2014 11:06 AM

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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

      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. 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. 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

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

        2. 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. 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

              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

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

                1. re: girloftheworld

                  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.