ST. CLOUD – When Aldo Coconi opened a Mexican restaurant in St. Cloud four years ago, the focus was simple: fresh food in a fast-casual environment.

Coconi is now expanding that concept by reopening his downtown St. Cloud restaurant with a new focus on Argentine flavors in addition to patron favorites such as tacos, gorditas, tamales and churros.

The progression is a natural one for Coconi and his wife, Florencia.

"My wife is from Argentina," Coconi said. "We decided to combine the Mexican food with Argentine food."

The Patagonia & Giliberto's is expected to open at 125 Fifth Av. S. in downtown St. Cloud in early May, Coconi said.

The menu will feature empanadas, lomitos and choripán. Coconi described a lomito as a steak sandwich and choripán as Argentina's version of a hot dog: pork sausage on a toasted bun with chimichurri sauce or salsa.

Giliberto's Mexican Taco Shop at 2301 Division St. will remain open 24 hours. The Patagonia & Giliberto's will be open 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

Coconi opened the second Giliberto's location in the downtown St. Cloud space in late 2019. The downtown site closed last spring at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and it has been closed since.

Giliberto's is a family-owned chain of restaurants with locations in South Dakota, Utah and Minnesota, including a new location in Mankato expected to open this summer.

Jenny Berg • 612-673-7299

Twitter: @bergjenny