Patricio’s Mexican Taqueria Offers a Bite of Baja

December 26, 2012, 9:35 AM HST
* Updated December 26, 9:41 AM
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Every restaurant has an origin story. For Patricio’s Mexican Taqueria, it started
with cravings.

Owners (and spouses) Rena Grimaldo and Patrick Mitchell moved to Kailua-Kona
nine years ago from San Diego, California.

While the pair loved their new Big Island lifestyle, relocating meant giving up one
of their great loves. Mexican taquerias (taco stands).

“We used to eat authentic Mexican three or four times a week in southern
California” says Grimaldo, a former marketing professional for Fortune 500
companies. She recalls her time in San Diego fondly, adding “you could find good
tacos on every street corner!”

Gambling on the idea that the Big Island community would enjoy having an
authentic Taqueria to count on, the pair decided to open ‘Patricio’s’ in the Kona
Coast Shopping Center.


Mitchell, a building contractor by trade, took on the task of remaking their 1,200
square foot restaurant, a process that took approximately five months.
Grimaldo, who had some experience in interior design, set about creating a dining
space that looked appropriately Mexican, employing an artist to create colorful
wall murals and installing custom-made tables.

The interior of 'Patricio's.' Photo by Nate Gaddis.

The interior of ‘Patricio’s.’ Photo by Nate Gaddis.


“Authentic” is a word Grimaldo uses often in describing the restaurant, which
makes nearly everything from scratch, including the batter for their popular
Monday special, Chile Rellenos (stuffed, fried Poblano peppers) and the Masa
(cornmeal paste) for their Thursday favorite,Tamales.

Although their specialty items are gaining a following, it is the restaurant’s tacos
that remain its focus. “We don’t use crunchy shells here” explains Grimaldo,
insisting that soft corn tortillas are the best vessel to house the various fillings

Baja Fish Tacos are a point of pride at ‘Patricio’s,’ featuring Negra Modelo beer
batter and fresh made Pico De Gallo and Tartar sauces. Beer and wine are on hand, as is an in-house Sangria. Made-to-order tortas (Mexican sandwiches on toasted bread) and a salsa bar round out the menu.


The owners are currently marketing the business aggressively through radio and
print advertising, and offer specials through their Facebook page. Catering
services are available upon request.

Patricio’s is located in the Kona Coast Shopping Center at 74-5586 Palani Road,

Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Phone (808) 334-1000.

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