El Patio Escondido takes Best of Van Alstyne Restaurant

| May 3, 2019 | Reply

The whole El Patio Escondido staff enjoyed the patrons’ singing along with Big Joe Walker (seated in the center) to “Happy Anniversary To You” recently when they celebrated seven years of being in Van Alstyne. Shown, left to right, are Priscilla, Maria, Aurora, William, Sam, Big Joe, Jonathan, Priscilla, Juan, and Maria. Patrons stood in appreciation of the staff and everything that makes El Patio Escondido the Best of Texoma’s Best Restaurant in Van Alstyne.

Story and photo by Mary Jane Farmer

Just a week after El Patio Escondido Mexican Restaurant celebrated its 7th anniversary of serving Van Alstyne it’s unique Tex-Mex food, its patrons voted it in as the Best of Texoma’s Best Restaurant in Van Alstyne. And owner William Pacheco and his staff are not only thrilled with the honor, but also very aware that it’s their patrons that made this happen.

Pacheco, with his mother, Aurora Lopez, and brother, Juan Pacheco, are the hands-on backbone of this restaurant on West Van Alstyne Parkway, but also have a loyal staff that are just as hard-working and enthusiastic. And, William said just this week when one staff member had to leave suddenly and another immediately jumped in to do her work, “We all do that. We do whatever work needs to be done.”

El Patio Escondido actually began 45 years ago in Dallas, then, too, as a family business. Then, Dallas development forced them to find a new location. William said they moved to Honey Grove for a short while, then to Celina, “in hopes of growing there.” That didn’t work out well, and again, they started looking to relocate. William had a cousin who was leasing the building which is now El Patio Escondido, but not using it. William asked him about using the building. The answer was yes, and the move-in began. And it’s been all uphill since then.

Some of their Dallas customers come up to Van Alstyne, William said, and many of those always order the same items from the menu. And many of their loyal Van Alstyne patrons also have identified their favorite choices, others order something different each time they come in.

Pacheco said, “No matter where we have gone, they seem to find us. We are still here, and we will be here for them, all.”

That also translates into memories, as well. “We have so many memories, it’s a tie between just how many memories are theirs and how many are ours. We’ve had so many celebrations, some good, some unpleasant, but we are all tied together.

“We have made and served special food to babies, to pregnant women on their way to the hospital. So many couples dated here, have married, and continued to come to El Patio now with their kids. We’ve even served some last meals, not always knowing it would be so.”

One of those families that keeps coming back is Dr. Caleb Braddock’s. The reason? “When you live in Texas, you are pretty picky when it comes to Mexican food.  El Patio is my family’s go-to for Mexican because it’s always delicious and authentic and the people are great!  We have 4 kids and the staff is always excellent with them and takes great care of us,” Dr. Braddock said.

El Patio Escondido is unique, too, in the area in that it brings in live music on Monday and Saturday nights, with no cover charge. Music-loving patron Nancy Mathews smiled, while eating a sopapilla, when she said, “The music on Monday nights is always the best. I told Priscilla (wait staff) that I don’t drink tequila and asked if they had any whiskey, she said they do. She made me a special drink that mixes whiskey with pineapple juice, and that’s become my standard drink. And the food, the staff, are just great here.”

The restaurant celebrated its 7th anniversary the Saturday night prior to the Best of Texoma gala, with Big Joe Walker playing music and with every patron, or at least every one who picked up the tab at their table, receiving a $7 credit toward their next visit. And this Saturday night will be a Cinco de Mayo celebration, with the Hunter-Brown duo bringing the tunes.

Some prefer to come on the nights when there isn’t live music, and Wednesdays, when there are enchilada specials, are always popular, as are Taco and Tequila Tuesdays.

Pacheco said, “Our appreciation is tied back to the customers. I’ve never said our food is good. I’ve always let our customers say that for us. There’s enough customers out there that feel our food is good and worth coming back for.”

El Patio Escondido is open Monday-Saturday, with the kitchen open until 9 p.m. Call-in orders can be made at 903-482-5588.

Category: *- Features, El Patio Escondido, Van Alstyne News

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In the music production business, including event production, booking, photography, reporting, and other such essentials, since 1980.

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