Fajita Fiesta is officially no longer with us. But don’t mourn them just yet. The family behind the restaurants is running two other restaurants in town.

To catch you up: Fajita Fiesta once had three locations — one on Shaw Avenue, another at Cedar and Nees avenues and the little one downtown that was open for 25 years. They’re all gone now. The Shaw Avenue one is now Guri’s GrubHouse, a farm-to-table gastropub that we’ve written lots and lots and lots about. The Cedar and Nees location closed in 2009 after 10 years (and then became Mateo’s and most recently Uncle’s Bar & Grill, which last week had an eviction notice on the door and a disconnected phone number).

The Fajita Fiesta at Van Ness Avenue and Divisadero Street is now Papi’s Mex Grill Express, with the same family running it. Owner Raul Gutierrez saw the changes happening downtown — new lofts and young people coming in — and decided to tweak his restaurant. Instead of the traditional sit-down meal with waiters and waitresses, the restaurant is now a faster-paced order-at-the-counter affair.

It has a simplified menu (look for the “el menu” portion of the menu boards). Customers pick what kind of meat they want — chicken, beef, pork, seafood, etc. — and then decide if they want it as tacos, in a quesadilla, as a torta, a burrito bowl or a salad.

If the name Papi’s sounds familiar, it’s because Gutierrez and his family have run Papi’s Mex Grill at Cedar and Shepherd avenues for nearly two years. The downtown Papi’s is an express version of the more traditional Papi’s up north. Expect to see dishes that are popular at the northern Papi’s, such as the chile relleno burrito, at the downtown location too.

Bethany Clough

Bethany Clough

Bethany Clough has the most fun job at the Bee. She writes about restaurants, shopping and has the low-down on local businesses. She also really likes cats.
Bethany Clough
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7 thoughts on “Fajita Fiesta is out, Papi’s is in

  • October 13, 2014 at 4:50 pm
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    I hope they have changed the quality of the food. You can change your name as many times as you want, but if the food still sucks, it’s never going to work.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm
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    the express sounds like a good idea. the food at the shepard location is always good, but the service is frequently terrible. sometimes the servers don’t care and sometimes the kitchen is super super slow. we only go to the shepard location for take out so now we have a choice downtown too.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm
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    Good prices, good service, good food. Thats my opinion of success in a restaurant. But once any of those items are lacking is when people will not support the bizz. Especially if its a local bizz.

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  • October 14, 2014 at 7:55 pm
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    I was in the old place about a year ago and decided I was never going back after I watched a cockroach take a leisurely stroll across the cash register. Pass.

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  • October 14, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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    Honestly i’ve been going to Papi’s and have had nothing but the best experience. Its a nice environment. And i have had some of the friendliest service there. I hope this express carries same quality of food as the Main restaurant. If thats the case i will be going a bit more often as it is closer.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2014 at 10:37 pm
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    Papi’s on Shepard and Cedar has the greatest food selection and great PR in town. Hubby and o go for breakfast, yummmm!! We take a group of 20-25 and they accommodate us to no end. Of course, we make the reservations ahead of time which gives them time to set up. Love Papi’s withe their great music in the background. Bravo to their restaurant!!!❤️

    Reply
  • November 21, 2014 at 10:29 am
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    Tried it. Nothing new. Certainly not great. I’ll pass.

    Reply

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