We’ve heard of chefs working out of food trucks before, but Patrick Ryan has one up on them: the first version of his solo restaurant, Port Fonda, was underground in an Airstream trailer. Naturally, Patrick started cooking at a young age, and he credits his mother and her parents with instilling in him a love of food and cooking. One of his first memories as a chef was making cinnamon apples with bacon in a cast-iron skillet and fresh-picked green beans with country ham, as Patrick recalls it being one of his grandfather’s favorite dishes.
After working around the United States in a variety of kitchens, Patrick returned home to Kansas City; as he puts it, he “saw Kansas City as a great opportunity to do something new and exciting for the area…I wanted to become part of the growing food and drink community.” After becoming frustrated with his early efforts, Patrick looked to his time at Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill as being one of the most enjoyable experiences of his career, and he decided to make his own stamp in the world of Mexican cuisine. Patrick opened Port Fonda in 2010, and two years later, he had become successful enough to emerge from the underground with a brick-and-mortar version of Port Fonda.
Specialties & Resources
Patrick’s culinary style blends traditional Mexican street fare with a Midwestern, farm-to-table approach to the selection of ingredients and the way the dishes are put together. At Port Fonda, starter offerings include house guacamole with avocados, hot-ranch chicharrones, and raw vegetables; spicy pumpkin seed dip with raw, roasted & grilled vegetables; grilled sweet corn with epazote, poblano rojas, cotija, habanero mayonnaise, chile, cilantro and lime; chilaquiles with chorizo verde, molcajete salsa, chips, fried egg, crema, cilantro, onion and lime; shrimp and grits with tomato/chipotle/mezcal, cotija butter and fresh herb salad; pork belly and pork shoulder soup with bacon-chile de arbol broth, grilled vegetables, masa dumplings, crunchy garnishes, fried egg, cilantro and lime; marinated pork shoulder with spicy tomatillo-poblano broth, hominy, crunchy garnishes, fried egg, cilantro and lime; and fried oyster tacos with cabbage, radish, cilantro, onion and white salsa.
The main courses at Port Fonda include molten chorizo with red chorizo, Chihuahua cheese, poblano rajas and oregano; spinach/artichoke dip with mojo de ajo, Chihuahua, cream cheese, crema and red salsa; braised beef chuck roll with grilled jalapeno, creamed corn, chayote salad, chile de arbol vinaigrette and cornbread croutons; marinated and grilled swordfish skewers with coconut-tomato achiote and mofongo; and braised pork cheeks with rancho gordo beans, pickled red onions and habanero salsa.