Patron Hits the Road in Antique Railcar, Hosting Parties on Train Tracks
The Patron Tequila Express, a refurbished antique railcar, pulled into Washington’s Union Station June 8, the second stop on the five-city Epicurean Express tour. Owned by John Paul DeJoria, who also owns Patron Spirits Company, the 85-foot-long luxury railcar serves as the backdrop to the two-night food- and fund-raising-focused events, which support the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit organization that helps rebuild homes, find jobs, and provide mental health support for people in New Orleans.
Following its initial stops in Chicago and Washington, the tour will also make appearances in Philadelphia and New Orleans before wrapping up in Los Angeles June 29 and 30.
The first evening event in Washington was a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception that took place in the narrow loading area between tracks 29 and 30. With a $50 ticket price, the event drew a diverse crowd of more than 150 to mingle in the peculiar space. Among the more recognizable faces were Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon and Lynne Breaux, a Louisiana native and president of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.
Local chefs Ann Cashion of Johnny’s Half Shell, Jeff Tunks of D.C. Coast and Acadiana, and David Guas of DamGoodSweet worked alongside New Orleans-based chefs Brian Landry of Galatoire’s and Greg Reggio of Zea Rotisserie Grill to create appetizers with a Southern twist. Rammy-winning mixologist Gina Chersevani (PS 7's) and Damian Torguson (Brasserie Beck) worked the bar, pouring special Patron-infused cocktails like a Hibiscus Margarita and an Apertivo, a blend of tequila, Campari, pink grapefruit, sour mix, and ginger ale.
Night two was a more intimate gathering for 25 guests, who paid $350 each for a seated dinner on the same narrow loading area. While the space had unconventional, fairly simple decor, the cuisine aimed higher, with local chefs R.J. Cooper (Vidalia), Robert Wiedmaier (Brasserie Beck, Marcel's, Brabo), Brian McBride (Blue Duck Tavern), Peter Smith (PS 7's), and Guas serving up a seafood-centric five-course meal. Mixologist Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve, PX Lounge, and the Majestic created the drink menu, pairing each dish with a Patron-based cocktail.
During both events, guests were invited to tour the refurbished train that has hosted presidents and governors, and also served as the inspiration behind the House of Blues Foundation Room. The train, still used by DeJoria, serves as a rolling ambassador for Patron’s charitable efforts as well as his company and personal motto of “success unshared is failure.” St. Bernard Project co-founder Liz McCartney praised Patron’s philanthropy: “Patron has been an incredible corporate partner to the St. Bernard Project not only financially, but all of the Patron executives and many of their employees have traveled to New Orleans to volunteer with us.”
While the food, cocktails, and train drew the crowds, the event also raised money and awareness for the St. Bernard Project. After two stops, the tour has hauled in $35,000 towards its ultimate goal of $75,000.
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