After checking out this small restaurant, I now think of the Saturday Night Live sketch with Chris Farley shouting about “living in a van down by the river” when it comes to mind but I digress this is a food blog. I heard of Papi’s a few years ago when it was mentioned in an article about Table 301 Restaurant Group founder and president Carl Sobocinski. His vision includes selling the various restaurants in the group’s portfolio to trusted employees. Papi’s was sold to former employees, Jorge Barrales III, and his parents, Jorge “Papi” Barrales Jr., and Laura Sanchez. It’s a cool concept and a dream turned reality for Papi and his family.
One weekend, Chris and I headed down to the river walk to check it out. The brightly colored restaurant is fairly small with only a few tables inside and a couple on the patio. You order at the counter and select a bottled drink from the cooler by the register. I tried a traditional Mexican soda which was good. Typically, I prefer fountain drinks since I’m part camel and addicted to refills.
We ordered white queso and chips to pass the time. The chips were sturdy but the queso was a little on the watery side. La Parilla or White Duck have the best white queso offerings.
The food arrived quickly. Everything was fresh but didn’t have a strong flavor profile. The key is the sauces. In that way, it reminds me of Tropical Grille. The sauces add that extra kick.
They also have gelato which was a nice treat after we finished lunch. I had peach and Chris had cookies and cream. Very good!
The location is in the center of downtown. I liked supporting a family business and the food was solid. My favorite is still La Parilla on Woodruff. This is a good spot to grab a quick lunch when you are downtown checking out the sights.