The last time I was in this aging venue -- it dates back to the 1980s and looks it -- was a few years ago, to check out the restaurant's lunch buffet. My dining companion refused to stay, insisting that the dining room "looks dirty and smells like cigarette butts and dirty feet." The buffet wasn't very visually attractive anyway.
The Kansas City Star reported, in November 2009, that the Kansas City Health Department had temporarily closed Patrikio's for health-code violations -- including live and dead cockroaches.
The original Patrikio's was on the Paseo. A friend of mine says she recalls dining there in the late 1950s: "It was very clean and nice and one of the few Mexican restaurants in Kansas City, and it served liquor. It was like the Mexican version of Stroud's."
My friend Larry, who grew up on the Paseo in the 1970s, says he was never very impressed by the food at Patrikio's. "But I had friends who loved it for some reason." Another south Kansas City native, Wendy Tapper, dined with her parents at the Holmes Road location of Patrikio's many times as a teenager and, later, as a young newlywed, and she says it was "greasy and fabulous."
"In those days, there was even a wait to get in; it was that popular," Tapper says. "Years later, I took my next husband to Patrikio's after telling him how wonderful it was, and it was just awful. There's no other word. Really bad."
"We thought it was really good in the 1970s," recalls former restaurateur and author Lou Jane Temple. "The art crowd would go there. We all thought Mexican was really avant-garde and cool then. I do remember that they had good margaritas and chile rellenos. It's hard to believe now, but going there was kind of an event for that time in Kansas City."