Eating Good in the Neighborhood.

My dad and stepmom are habitual diners. Before they fled for the Carolinas, I knew I could find them in specific places on specific days. Breakfast? First Watch. Drinks? El Vaquero. Dinner? Applebee’s. I used to joke that they know their waitress at Applebee’s more than they know me, but then I wondered if it might be true, so I stopped. As much as I avoid suburbia and its chain restaurants, I know why they’re successful, especially with my family. People want consistency, they want convenience. And sometimes, they just don’t want to think. After a long week, it’s understandable.

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I noticed a similar pattern starting to develop with my weekend evening activities, recently. For two weekends in a row, I’ve been ordering carryout from Don Patron III, a Mexican restaurant within walking distance from my house, to enjoy at home with a book. This restaurant has changed names three times since I’ve lived in the neighborhood, and I think that the most recent rendition of the restaurant is the best.

With sister stores in Pickerington and New Albany, this small chain may be looking to rival Columbus’ Mexican sweetheart, the previously mentioned El Vaquero. Personally, I believe that they’re really two different camps of restaurants. Don Patron’s menu is, simply put, manageable. I don’t have to read through hundreds of combinations to determine what I want. And while the prices seem higher than your typical shopping center fare, the quality matches.

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This past Friday, I chose Carnitas Michoachan to accompany Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees. The chunks of slowly-cooked pork, accompanied with fat, were tender and perfectly-cooked. Paired with the orange slice and the flavorful rice, it made for a satisfying dinner for $11.95. I’ve previously had Burrito de Luxe (a pair of so-so burritos covered in limp lettuce and sour cream) and a few of the seafood entrees (tossed with a wine and butter sauce that makes my heart do back flips.)

My growing admiration for Don Patron III is, perhaps, based on the same reasons that my dad has his favorites. It’s close. It’s convenient. It’s consistent. I don’t have to think. And, I might add, with the exception of Maya’s birthday, it is never packed. Which makes the carryout process a calm and stress-free one, allowing me to get home to my book, all the more quickly.

Don Patron III
2977 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43202
614.447.9820

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6 thoughts on “Eating Good in the Neighborhood.

  1. Lisa says:

    I have ALWAYS wondered about this place, but to be honest, the way the sign is lit at night (splotchy paint and all) has been a deterrent. I’m so glad the food comes highly recommended…looking forward to trying it sometime!

    Love the new tomato pic on your header by the way.

  2. Jaydubs says:

    Kyle and I keep talking about going there, but haven’t yet. Your endorsement might propel us to finally go.

    I still miss Talita’s. It wasn’t awesome, but I have a sick (sick!) love for hot lettuce, and they had that in spades. Tried the place that came in afterward and was not impressed.

  3. Jill says:

    @lisa Maya’s been lobbying for a new picture since, well, since rosemary’s been out of style. I decided to change it just in time for tomato season to end.

    @jaydubs There’s no lack of hot lettuce at Don Patron III!

  4. Jaydubs says:

    Sweet fancy Moses, that’s just what I needed to hear!

  5. betsy says:

    Thanks for the suggestion! We will be trying it the next time we crave Mexican. Our last 2 tries at El Vaquero were disastrous and we were at a loss of where to go.

  6. Marilyn says:

    We discovered the Don Patron in New Albany several months ago. I’ve been a fan of El Vaquero for many years, and a frequent visitor to Mexico, so I’m pretty particular about my Mexican food. Don Patron is delicious! I’m especially fond of their chile verde. And the guacamole is among the best I’ve ever had. Yummmmm-eeee.

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