La Patrona Comida Mexicana owner Kevin Aldana assembles a birria taco in the back of his food truck that travels around the Bay Area including Kelly Brewing Co. in Morgan Hill. Photo: Juan Reyes

Food trucks became a product of the Covid-19 pandemic when bars and taprooms such as Kelly Brewing Co. had to follow mandates of serving food in order to remain open.  

At the time, taproom manager Isaac Laing was just trying to pivot and go with the flow as the restrictions began to lessen up.  

Once everything got “back to normal,” as Laing put it, he continued to bring back the food trucks and noticed having them around was better for business. 

“We’re giving them a space,” he said. “It’s good for them, it’s good for us.”

Laing calls it more of an agreement since Kelly Brewing Co.—which opened in 2018—is not profit sharing with any of the vendors.  

His biggest goal in all of this is attempting to have a food truck or pop-up restaurant just about everyday, especially when special events are happening simultaneously. The brewery will test for knowledge during trivia night on Tuesday evenings, while those who enjoy live music can show up to a jam session on Wednesday. 

“We’re just trying to make it the hangout,” Laing said.

Laing likes to rotate the vendors and mentioned that certain days are busier than others. He said it’s mostly about narrowing it down to what customers are craving. 

Some vendors have designated days such as Vegan Vendetta on Monday and Dre’s Good Eats on Wednesday.

On Friday, he’ll switch it up the best way possible by bringing in popular trucks such as La Patrona Comida Mexicana based out of Hollister.

The Aldana family owns and operates the mobile kitchen trailer that offers dishes inspired by Mexico City street food, which is where 58-year-old Adolfo and his wife Leonor, 52, originally hailed from. Their sons, 27-year-old Kevin and 22-year-old Brandon, also help run the business. 

The Aldana family (from left to right: Kevin, Leonor, Adolfo, Brandon) own and operate La Patrona Comida Mexicana food truck based out of Hollister. Photo: Juan Reyes

“We’re trying to incorporate popular street gastronomy out there from Mexico City and put a little modern twist to it,” Kevin said.

Kevin put a big-time twist on an all-time American classic by creating the birria grilled cheese sandwich, which is loaded with pepper jack and mozzarella cheeses and piled high with birria (beef stew), onions and cilantro on a toasted Texas toast.

One thing to point out is that La Patrona does not yet offer al pastor as an option for meat, which is popular in Mexico City. The dish is marinated pork shoulder stacked on top of each other and cooked on a rotating spit before it is thinly sliced for tacos or other dishes. 

It’s been on the menu at least three times in the past month but it’s something the Aldana’s are still trying to perfect before they can offer it to the public.  

“A lot of people like the tacos de al pastor,” Adolfo said.

Prior to opening for business, Kevin was like most people struggling to get a job during the Covid pandemic, especially in his market. 

Kevin graduated from UC Davis with a degree in sociology with an emphasis in law society. His plan was to attend law school and work an internship with lawyers. 

Meanwhile, his mom Leonor was a nail technician but the salons were also shut down due to strict guidelines and restrictions. 

Kevin said his mom has always been great in the kitchen and usually ends up cooking food for family functions. 

“Everybody always gives comments,” Kevin said. “One day she was like, I’m just gonna do it. So we did it. We started and we haven’t stopped since.”

Kevin and the rest of the gang bought their first trailer one year ago. They began to set up shop in Morgan Hill at around the same time and continue to return. 

The next goal for the Aldana family is to have an opportunity to open a restaurant in the area hopefully in the near future.  

“Morgan Hill has definitely welcomed us with open arms,” Kevin said.

It’s gems such as La Patrona along with other popular vendors such as Fire and Rice and Roy’s Backyard BBQ that keep beer patrons coming back to Kelly Brewing Co. for more.

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