Charles Attal knew within a minute of hearing the news from his cousin that something had to be done.
Kristyn Ciani, granddaughter of El Patio founders Paul and MaryAnn Joseph and daughter of longtime El Patio employee Roseann Joseph-Ciani, had alerted Attal that her uncle David had decided to close the restaurant his parents opened in 1954.
“We have to save it,” Attal, a co-founder of C3 Presents, told his cousin.
Ciani had supported her uncle in his decision to close the restaurant after four decades and never imagined she would have the opportunity to continue the family legacy. The call from Attal, who is also a partner in Stubb’s BBQ, changed all that.
And a visit to the restaurant and a glimpse of the seemingly endless lines of people saying farewell to the Tex-Mex institution, which closed Aug. 9, reaffirmed their decision.
The next generation of family formed a group that included Ciani, Attal,his sister Jennifer Attal-Allen, her son Sled Allen and Sway and La Condesa founder Jesse Herman to reopen the business, which has been in the family for 65 years.
“It’s literally in my blood,” Kristyn Ciani said. “I never thought I would have been able to be a part of something so cool like this.”
El Patio will reopen at 2938 Guadalupe St. by the end of September, the family said.
“Our roots run deep in Austin, back to the late 1800s,” said Jennifer Attal-Allen, whose grandmother was a half-sister of El Patio co-founder Paul Joseph. “Family is everything to us. So to now, along with my brother, son, and cousin, be able to continue this tradition Uncle Paul and Aunt MaryAnn started, means more than I’m able to put into words. It’s especially a very proud moment for me personally, that the next generation who is stepping up includes my son, Sled.”
When longtime guests return to visit El Patio, they will see familiar faces and familiar dishes. The staff from both front and back of house is returning to the restaurant, some of whom have worked at El Patio for more than 35 years. The menu will remain the same, though the bar will expand with additional drink offerings. The new owners say they have no intention of messing with the heart and formula of what made their family restaurant such a treasured institution.
“Jennifer and I grew up in that restaurant, so it’s an honor to be a part of something that now my own kids can grow up in,” Charles Attal said. “We will continue to bestow the same respect upon it that David and the rest of our cousins have since day one.”
El Patio will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.
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