Photos by Olivia Deffes.

Inside the Patio Tex-Mex Fusion, with Asian-inspired dishes and modern dining areas

Baton Rouge has a new option for Mexican food with a twist. The Patio Tex-Mex Fusion opened last month in the Old Hammond Highway space formerly home to the Velvet Cactus. The Patio boasts dishes with international flavor combinations and trendy decor that sets the mood for a night out or an elevated weekday lunch break.

The Patio comes from the Magnolia Restaurant Group, which also owns and operates Geisha, Sushi With a Flair and Umami Japanese Bistro. Owners Tien Le, Michael Tran, and Ton and Sonnie Suansawang hope to bring something new to Baton Rouge with their latest concept. The Patio has been in its soft opening phase since June 13 and recently introduced bar items with the addition of its liquor license last weekend.

“We’re foodies before other things,” Ton says. “We’re like three brothers. We come in, sit down, eat food, adjust the flavors, bring in our ideas and experience to try to make it more unique.”

Le concurs.

“We wanted to explore Tex-Mex, but why do we have to limit it there? Why can’t we use our other experience, knowledge and background in Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese,” he asks.

Inside, restaurantgoers will find an open dining area that is bright and inviting. Light pink walls are adorned with colorful prints and sombreros. Booths are upholstered in rich, turquoise velvet and wicker lantern lights hang from the ceiling. A large mural by New Orleans-area artist Zac Maras divides the kitchen and tables, depicting a woman holding a margarita surrounded by vibrant flowers and text that reads “Give me margaritas and tell me I’m pretty.”

The space was decorated by Brandy Salbador, who worked from inspiration photos from Le, Tran and Suansawang to turn the existing space into something new without changing everything.

“I wanted to bring more of a high-end, modern Mexican restaurant experience,” Salbador says. “So that’s where I started. They had some pictures of some teal colors they wanted, and I added in the pink. … I just wanted it to feel different than your average Mexican restaurant.”

The restaurant also has a large outdoor space which inspired the name “The Patio.” The outdoor area brings the restaurant’s footprint to about 6,000 square feet and provides plenty of space for additional tables and a small pond. Le says it was one of the main things that attracted them to the space. 

Like the name states, The Patio offers Tex-Mex favorites with a twist. Le says diners will find nods to Asian culture, thanks to the owners’ backgrounds and experience with their other restaurants.

The menu is full of Tex-Mex restaurant staples like cheese-smothered enchiladas, sizzling fajitas, deep-fried chimichangas and sugary flan. But some items are unique to the eatery, like The Patio Torta, a Mexican-style burger made using a blend of fajita beef and chorizo.

Mahi-mahi and shrimp ceviche

Asian influences are also a menu highlight. The Tuna Tostadas use sashimi-grade tuna and housemade gochujang aioli; the Lettuce Wrap Tacos feature ground beef, Thai basil and Thai seasoning.

The bar menu is still in the works, as The Patio just received its liquor license, but Ton says customers can look forward to house margaritas and tequila flights.

The co-owners say they plan to update the current menu as customers get comfortable with their offerings. They hope to get diners to try something new and expose themselves to flavors they may be unfamiliar with.





“We just want to give more of an elevated experience because we’re diving into more unique dishes right now,” Tran says. “We’re just setting up the base to get the restaurant running, get it flowing and get the staff right. And then once things get set up, we can start actually developing more.”

The Patio is open Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. The Patio is at 7655 Old Hammond Highway.

This article originally appeared in 225 magazine’s 225 Daily newsletter.