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Patron Mexican Grill offers tasty dishes amid colorful surroundings

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By William Loeffler
Thursday, June 30, 2011
 

On its website, Patron Mexican Grill promises authentic Mexican cuisine in "an atmosphere of tranquility."

The cuisine might be authentic, but "tranquility" is not the first thing that comes to mind upon entering this lively family restaurant in Wexford.

It's loud, particularly when a contingent of black-clad servers swarm a table where a customer is having a birthday. This milestone is commemorated with an enthusiastic chorus of "Las Mananitas," a traditional Mexican song. One server beats out percussion on a plastic bucket.

But Patron Mexican Grill has its devotees who swear by its shrimp tacos and apple cider margaritas. This is no chain, but a business built by Martin Bolanos, who designed the menu using recipes from all over his native Mexico.

He says he will open a third Patron in O'Hara next month. They already operate a second location in Monroeville.

The hacienda-style interior features stone arches and bright colors, including lime green, sky blue and fiery red. The high-backed booths, shaped like the headboards of a bed, bristle with carved parrots, palm fronds and angels and colorful south-of-the-border landscapes. They're created by hand in Mexico, Bolanos says. No two are alike.

For diners, a good place to start is the sampler plate ($11.99). It features two small chimichangas with your choice of chicken or cheese, four hot chicken wings, a quesadilla, two taquitas and a bowl of fiesta dip, which consists of refried beans and ground beef pico de gallo topped with cheese dip.

The spinach quesadilla ($7.99) is simple but filling. It's a flour tortilla mixed with cheese and served with sour cream, lettuce and tomato on the side. Another good choice is the Fiesta Burrito ($7.99 lunch), which features melted cheese sauce and your choice of chicken or steak, sauteed with onions, tomatoes and bell peppers in a large flour tortilla.

Patron features an express lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Their lunch specials include a bean burrito, cheese enchilada and Spanish rice for $6.95. A la carte items that can provide a quick noontide fix include the beef burrito ($3.75; $6.99 for two) and the tostada ($3.99; $6.99 for two).

Additional Information:

Patron Mexican Grill

Location: 11675 Perry Highway, Wexford, PA 15090

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays; noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Details: 724-935-3559 or patronmexgrill.com

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