Papalote: A Fresh Neighborhood Gem

What’s better than Mexican food? Mexican food made completely with fresh ingredients, which is exactly what Papalote Mexican Grill offers. Owned by Victor Escobedo and Jodi Hernandez, Papalote serves authentic Mexican dishes that bring back “memories of sunny Sunday afternoons spent in Chapultepec in Mexico City celebrating somebody’s birthday.”

As Papalote translates to “kite” in Spanish, the interiors of the cozy restaurants (there are two locations and a food truck) have beautiful kites hanging from their ceilings to not only emulate that reminiscent feeling, but also create a welcoming atmosphere for Papalote guests.

When Victor first sat down to come up with the menu, he was certain about two things: Every dish served would be fresh, and there had to be a burrito on the menu. His first proclamation was fulfilled. Papalote’s meat is grilled right before it is served so all of its mouthwatering juices are oozing directly onto the freshly cooked rice and beans.

And the burrito? Papalote’s triple threat burrito—filled with steak, chicken, and prawn—managed to not only find its way onto Bobby Flay’s show Throwdown ten years ago, but also take home the win! For anyone whose mouth is watering and hasn’t yet tried Papalote’s food, Victor would recommend his personal favorite: the grilled chicken. Its savory marinade perfectly complements the creamy beans and flavorful rice.

When COVID-19 first hit the streets of San Francisco and many businesses started closing their doors, Papalote was one of the few restaurants that managed to continue serving its customers. About two years ago, when delivery apps were picking up speed, Victor decided to list the restaurant on Uber Eats. Thrilled with the success and ease the app provided for their customers ordering takeout, Victor continued to branch out into other delivery apps and took the time to make sure everything was working well. This paid off immensely, as they already had a system in place to fall back on when the pandemic started.

That being said, the shift from mainly dine-in to delivery has been its own challenge. Losing the sense of community that was gained through customer interactions hasn’t been the easiest feeling to get used to. However, Victor is delighted to continue being able to serve the San Francisco community and maintain Papalote’s reputation of being “first and foremost, a community and neighborhood restaurant.”

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