Loco Patron, a Valley Mexican restaurant chain, opened its third location at 222 S. Mill Ave. in Tempe on Dec. 29.
The restaurant chain, which has two additional establishments in Scottsdale and Ahwatukee, has leased 5,000 square feet of lower level space in the Tempe Gateway retail building. The restaurant aims to combine a nightlife aspect with the popularity of a half-indoor, half-outdoor patio bar of previous locations.
University alumni Josh Levine, Jeremy Jazwinski and Ryan Vertuca came up with the idea for the Loco Patron restaurant while attending ASU and working as bartenders at Bar Louie.
Jazwinski said Bar Louie’s success and the work experience he gained there encouraged him to start a patio bar. In 2004, Jazwinksi and Vertuca opened the first Loco Patron restaurant in Scottsdale.
“It really caught on, and people really liked it,” Jazwinski said. “Bars and clubs come and go, but we thought we really had something.”
The business expanded to include the Ahwatukee restaurant in 2008.
Jazwinksi said he was interested in opening a restaurant on Mill Avenue because of the resurgence of new businesses in the area.
“After spending some free time on Mill Avenue, I noticed how great it is and popular it has become,” Jazwinski said. “I have friends that would strictly go to Mill Avenue rather than Scottsdale.”
Loco Patron Tempe manager Alicia Long said the new restaurant sets itself apart from the original Scottsdale restaurant by offering more seating space to accommodate larger crowds.The restaurant is adjacent to the Third Street and Mill Avenue light rail station and plans to offer specials for light rail riders.
“We hope to bring some life to the north side of Mill Avenue,” Long said.
Jazwinski said the Ahwatukee and Scottsdale locations focus on serving authentic Mexican food; however, they wanted to make the Tempe location more of a destination spot.
The new Tempe location offers bottle service and live entertainment in the evenings.
Justin Glancy, an employee at the Tempe location, said the restaurant features high-end lighting and a sound system that the other locations have not had.
“We will have a custom disc jockey booth delivered and installed soon for great nightlife promotions,” Glancy said.
Loco Patron will celebrate its official grand opening Jan. 17. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily and offers a Taco Tuesday special featuring $1 tacos.
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