When Salvador “Sal” Hernandez arrived in the United States at the age of 20, he knew he wanted to own a restaurant. His journey was not easy, but after working in the restaurant and club industry as a dishwasher, prep cook and, eventually, executive chef, he was finally ready to open his own restaurant.
In September 2020, El Patio Mex-Tex Grill and Bar opened despite the uncertainties and unknowns caused by the pandemic. Hernandez is continuing to grow the business and take advantage of the patio and outdoor seating.
“We are Mex-Tex,” Hernandez says. “I felt that true Mexican cuisine was not represented when I dined at Tex-Mex restaurants.” So, he created a menu that blends authentic Mexican recipes with his love for Texas barbeque.
“The similarities of bold flavors in both Texas and Mexican cuisine led me to create a menu with a blend of both strong styles,” he says of how his Mex-Tex idea was born.
The menu is also influenced by the chef’s love for Mexican street food with trompo al pastor as the star of the show. The trompo at El Patio is prepared street style, fire-cooked and served on a tabletop mini-rotisserie, which Hernandez had custom-made in Mexico.
Diners can choose from pastor, chicken or beef and each is served with tortillas, pineapple and a duo of salsas ($22). In Brazilian steak-house style, servers slice meat off the rotisserie for guests, which then collects on the cast-iron plate below. Or customers can slice the meat themselves.
The menu at El Patio has a wide variety of options including tacos that come three to an order, served with Mexican rice. The protein options for the tacos include barbacoa ($10), carne asada ($9.50), chicken ($9), beef birria ($11), and fresh veggies ($9.50).
The beef options are made with brisket that is smoked overnight in a pit. Other menu items include a smoked brisket sandwich ($11), smoked chicken sandwich ($10), a chile relleno ($15), brisket enchiladas ($15) just to name a few.
If you don’t want to try the tacos, El Patio offers a weekend brunch from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. that has a little something for everyone. They also have a build-your-own dessert cart where you choose from churros, sopapillas, and ice cream that is served in a mini traditional paleta cart.
El Patio Mex-Tex, 4400 State Highway 121 (Lewisville). Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.