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Legendary Portland Restaurateur Brings Espresso Martinis and Buñuelos to Belmont

Lucy De León, daughter of Salsas Locas’s owners, opened La Patroncita at the end of August

Lucy De León, furthest left, stands with her parents — the owners of 50-year-old Salsas Locas.
Salsas Locas
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

The daughter of legendary Mexican restaurant Salsas Locas’s owners just opened a new go-to outfit for powerful margaritas and cinnamony, sugary buñuelos. Lucy opened the doors to 2832 Southeast Belmont Street’s La Patroncita at the end of August. According to KGW8, the entrepreneur is prioritizing a sleek and feminine ambiance, family dishes including enchiladas and her mom’s desserts, and live music such as mariachi.

The restaurant is a new look for the family of business owners, though it joins a host of restaurants on Belmont Street including fellow Mexican restaurant Taquería Los Puñales. The menu is more modern than classic old school taquerias, though De León pulled on her childhood growing up with restaurateur parents for inspiration. La Patroncita general manager Anthony De Lucia told the outlet a favorite drink of his, for instance, is the Chica Fresa, an espresso martini with tequila. Unsurprisingly, there’s a full bar of pretty beverages and an accompanying robust menu of esquites, quesabirria, and those buñuelos. “The buñuelos were something that my mother would always do as a treat,” De León told the outlet.

Two women.
Lucy De León has long worked with her parents’ businesses, but La Patroncita is her first endeavor with her at the helm.
Salsas Locas
Tacos. Salsas Locas

Tortilleria y Tienda De Leon’s — otherwise known as Salsas Locas — has been a phenomenal spot for tacos, burritos, and cochinita pibil since 1973. The older Mrs. De León, as she’s referred to by the business’ website, gained the makings of her mighty fanbase by making tamales and salsas for friends in the early ʼ70s. This new outpost of the family institution is its own entity, and De León told KGW8 her parents are retired at this point anyway. Salsas Locas is still operating in Southeast Portland near Reed College; La Patroncita, for its part, is not taking reservations but is open for walk-ins.

La Patroncita (2832 Southeast Belmont Street) is open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.