Ink Food & Drink

Kitchen Convo: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Ivan Macias

Ivan Macias began working from the ground up as a food runner at El Patrón when he was 15.
Ivan Macias began working from the ground up as a food runner at El Patrón when he was 15.

Longtime El Patrón server Ivan Macias loves to work.

The proof is in the pudding with this 22-year-old originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, who moved to Kansas City with his family when he was 3  1/2 years old and has been working his cajones off ever since he was legally permitted.

With the consent of his parents, Macias began working from the ground up as a food runner at El Patrón when he was 15. “I could only work 20 hours a week,” he laments, saying he would’ve worked more if allowed. Macias juggled his workload with his schoolwork, earning an overall 3.8 GPA and a number of scholarships by graduation.

But why go to college when you’re already doing what you love? Macias instead became more involved at El Patrón and started his own business, following in the footsteps of his parents. Macias buys properties, renovates them and then rents to tenants.

Like his parents, he has a few successful properties already, but this hasn’t stopped him from continuing to serve up the grub.

A short break from El Patrón at around the same time he started his real estate/construction venture at age 17 led him to help run Fogo de Chão. By 19, Macias — who began at Fogo de Chão as a buser — became the PIC (person-in-charge), keeping tabs on inventories, orders and general organization of the hot spot Plaza locale.

Working in a corporate environment was illuminating for Macias, but he soon felt the pull back to El Patrón, where it all started.

Although he had a few other job opportunities, “It really inspires me there,” he says. “How everything works. It’s a family-owned business and a fun environment that makes for a good customer experience as well.”

Working at El Patrón is enjoyable enough for Macias that even with the income he brings in from his real estate/construction business, he continues as a server. There’s an overlap between the two gigs in what Macias sees as making sure everyone is happy, whether it’s a customer at the restaurant or a tenant in a house he’s renting.

“A lot of people don’t like what they do,” he says. “And that’s why you have to find something you like, own it and do it!”

You can celebrate Cinco de Mayo at El Patrón, where there will be outdoor seating, live music, a DJ and some of Macias’ favorite food in the city.

Q: Favorite ingredient?

A: I love my food to have a little spice to it.

Q: What is an ingredient you hate?

A: I hate ranch. I just never have been able to eat it.

Q: What’s a dish you love to serve?

A: The stuffed avocado with shrimp. The smell is outstanding.

Q: What’s something you don’t like to serve?

A: I like it all!

Q:When money and calories aren’t a concern, what do you splurge on?

A: The Parrillada at El Patrón. And a pitcher of our premium margaritas.

Q: What is your favorite cheap meal on the fly?

A: Probably Subway.

Q: Best meal you’ve had this week?

A: I have to say the avocado with shrimp again. I could eat it every day!

Q: Favorite dessert?

A: Fried ice cream.

Q: Favorite KC barbecue

A: I usually make mine at home.

Q: Dream vacation?

A: Somewhere close to a beach where I can find a nice steakhouse and have a drink.

Q: Which celebrity would you like to serve?

A: Sylvester Stallone. I love his movies.

Q: Pizza: Hot and fresh, or cold and morning after?

A: Hot and fresh.

Q: What else would you do if you weren’t a server?

A: I always wanted to work on cars, doing bodywork and auto tech.

El Patrón Cocina & Bar

2905 Southwest Blvd.