We flat fell in love with Papi Tino’s at first sight. The old typewriter museum on e.6th street has been nicely re-imagined as a sexy little Mexican restaurant complete with a brilliantly staged vintage piano and soothing soft lighting but somebody in the kitchen needs to wield the whip hand a bit more forcefully.
More on that later.
Firstly, we love the no credit card policy. It’s expensive for a restaurant to provide this service so not having the machinery in place to swipe cards will hopefully help Papi Tino’s keep their prices nice and low. If you like the hobo lifestyle of having no cash on your person as you make your way across town on a Friday night then be aware that Papi does have a cash machine on premise.
We love the homemade bar that you can relax at while you wait on a table.
And wait….and wait.
This joint is cracking with all tables at capacity and a big crowd milling about the bar with drinks in hand. Those drinks are quite good too. No bullshit, bar mix-style margaritas are served here. The cocktails are tart and fresh with plenty booze keeping the evening buzzing along nicely.
Unfortunately, there is currently not enough tequila in Austin to make the enchiladas edible. To be fair, in recent years we’ve been spoiled senseless by high flying, super talented chefs like Dan Woodard, Bryce Gilmore and Raymond Tatum and their effortless ability to take common meat like chicken and make it sing like a nightingale.
Maybe the cooks at Papi Tino can stage a shift or two at one of these men’s kitchens so they can learn how to properly cook a chicken, the tough old yardbird filling the enchiladas here was beyond redemption.
Thankfully our appetizers of guacamole, queso and salpicon saved the night’s repast. Taking a cue from nearby Takoba, the kitchen here puts out delicious, house fried totopos but our party of 5 decimated the tiny bowl in seconds and we never saw a refill.
Requested salsa never arrived.
We resorted to eating our avocado and queso with forks like we were living in some sort of pre-tostada era Texas.
The enchilada platters each came with a scant tablespoon of glorious, refried beans. We could have eaten a thousand bites of these and they showcase some serious talent in the kitchen.
Live music from the front porch was nice and low. We could hear one another and never had to resort to hollering. Our attempts to end live music in Austin have been met with resistance but we did not mind the musical act at Papi Tino’s in the least.
We had some momentous days and nights at the old Fuck by Fuck You festivals that were held on these very grounds. The Gorch Fock house is no more. The band has been evicted and the property no longer houses Austin’s very own typewriter museum.
Fortunately it does host a promising effort from the folks behind Papi Tino’s. A little remedial work in the kitchen and Austin could have a new and major player in the Mexican food game.