Major restaurants have been shuttering locations all around the country and across Minnesota. From Red Lobster and Applebee's to Hooters and Pizza Hut, the food service industry has been taking some hard hits.

Local restaurants are feeling the impact as well, with neighborhood spots also shutting down. The latest is a well-known Mexican restaurant in SE Minnesota just west of Rochester that has quietly closed up shop.

The restaurant is dark and empty, the phone number has been disconnected, and sources around town have confirmed it.

El Patron restaurant kasson closed
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Local Mexican Restaurant El Patron Closed in Kasson, MN

Located at the corner of highways MN-57 and US-14 in Kasson, El Patron took over the old Daniel's Restaurant spot back in November 2020. Despite the tough timing, opening during a pandemic, it was a welcomed addition to the taste buds of the Kasson community.

A little over a week after they opened, co-owner of the restaurant Eduardo Angel told the Dodge County Independent they were bustling with business right out of the gate. "Everyone was glad they got a chance to try our food,” Angel said. “People were happy with the food and service we provided. Our only issue was wait time.”

el patron closed kasson
El Patron - Kasson, MN (credit:

After 3 and half years in business, it appears the restaurant struggled to maintain that same level of excitement and appeal it needed to stay open. There has been no official announcement about the closing, nor is there any signage on the door about it, but the doors are locked and the restaurant has not reopened for about a week.

I was able to get ahold of someone affiliated with the restaurant and he confirmed that the El Patron location in Kasson is indeed closed for good.

Unfortunately, my own experiences and the stories I've heard from others around town about the now-closed restaurant have been disappointing. The service ranged from mediocre to poor, the food quality missed the mark more often than not, and for a Mexican restaurant, the lack of décor and overall ambiance didn't do them any favors.

READ MORE: How Much Does a 4-Course Meal Cost at the New Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Rochester, MN?

The same family owns El Patron locations in Austin and Winona, according to the DCI, both of which appear to still be open. While I don't have personal experiences to share about these restaurants, they have received mixed reviews on Google, ranging from "amazing," "outstanding," and "delicious," to "pretty average" and "just bad."

To be fair, some reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. I always believe in trying things out for myself rather than relying solely on others' opinions. So, the next time we're in the Austin or Winona areas, we'll give the remaining El Patron restaurants a try. We wish nothing but success for any local business.

What Other Mexican Restaurants Are in the Kasson / Byron / Dodge Center Area?

Plaza Morena mexican dodge center mn
Plaza Morena, Dodge Center (credit:

If you still need your Mexican food fix in the area, your best bets west of Rochester are Plaza Morena in Dodge Center and Owatonna and The Compadres in Byron, which also operates a food truck right behind Hardware Hanks in Kasson!

Both of these Mexican restaurants have great food and the service rarely, if ever, disappoints.

mexican food byron mn
Credit: The Compadres

Other amazing restaurants in Kasson-Mantorville include the famous Tammy's Place on Main Street, the highly-rated Hidden Pines Bar and Grill at the Zumbro Valley Golf Course, The County Seat Coffee House across from the Hubbell House in Mantorville, Haku Asian Japanese sushi bar and Chinese cuisine, Saker's Sports Bar, Country Pleasures Cafe, and the newest addition in the old Smiling Moose building, The Kickback Bar and Grill.

For more unique restaurants to visit, check out the list of Minnesota restaurants featured on national TV below!

All 37 Minnesota Restaurants that Have Been Featured on the Food Network

Many Minnesota restaurants have been featured on the Food Network over the years. Some have closed now, but I checked out the Food Networks website, the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives website, and to find all of the Minnesota restaurants that have been featured on their channel in the past and found these 37 (in no particular order) that are still open.

Gallery Credit: Carly Ross

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