PORTLAND, Oregon — Smacked down in the heart of Portland’s Belmont District lies a new pink and hip hangout spot. La Patroncita has made its way into the Rose City’s scene of Mexican food restaurants to look out for.
La Patroncita, which translates to “little girl boss,” offers authentic Mexican food dishes, colorful cocktails and a modern-chic Mexican look. It's a dream come true for owner Lucy De León.
“This was a goal and a dream for me to open our own place where people could come and sit down and enjoy, you know, good music and a good atmosphere too,” said De León.
De León is the Latina businesswoman behind La Patroncita. At the age of 21, she began working for her parents and always dreamt of owning her very own restaurant serving up her family's traditional Mexican dishes and culture.
Her parents are no longer in the food industry but their family business, Salsas Locas - Tortilleria Y Tienda DeLeon's, is still operating in Southeast Portland near Reed College. La Patroncita has a different look from Salsas Locals, with its more feminine and sophisticated vibe, but the home taste and family values remain.
"A lot of the stuff that we're doing back there [in the kitchen] is stuff that reminds me of me growing up. For example, the buñuelos were something that my mother would always do as a treat...especially for holidays," said De León. "So that's something that we're doing as a dessert."
Buñuelos are made from fried dough that is covered in cinnamon sugar. Other staples at La Patroncita include enchiladas, quesabirria, and esquites to share, as well as an array of fun colorful cocktails with unique fun names.
"The 'Chica Fresa' — that's like an espresso martini with tequila. It's really good," said Anthony De Lucia, general manager at La Patroncita.
La Patroncita opened in late August at 2832 Southeast Belmont Street. De Lucia said they are currently not offering reservations because they are a counter service restaurant, making it a challenge, but are figuring out a way to offer that option in the near future.