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Beloved San Antonio chef dives into Southtown with new coastal concept

Beloved local chef dives into Southtown with new coastal concept

Villa Rica SA fish empanadas
Fish empanadas are among the coastal treats on Villa Rica's menu. Villa Rica/ Facebook

Johnny Hernandez is about to get another jewel in his crown. Hot on the heels of opening his custom-made burger shop, Burgerteca, on the River Walk’s Mission Reach, the favorite San Antonio chef announced an opening date for his latest seafood focused concept.

Villa Rica will open at 403 Blue Star in Southtown on February 22, serving a coastal menu inspired by the cuisines of Veracruz, Baja, Yucatan, and the Pacific. The new concept is in collaboration with Mexico’s Guzman family of restaurateurs, who operate popular seafood eateries in Veracruz, Puebla, and Mexico City.

The menu will feature Mexican seafood selected daily such as the Veracruz-style tumbada-style rice with fish, shrimp, octopus, crab, and clams swimming in a creamy fish broth, and Tuna Marejada, a light dish with tuna, cream cheese, avocado, jalapeño emulsion, and ponzu.

The beverage program will include a small selection of wines but will be mainly focused on tropical cocktails like Pisco sours and mojitos.

In keeping with the theme, the interior will be outfitted with brightly patterned tile from Puebla, and commissioned artwork made from papier-mache and clay. The tables will sport custom-made ceramics and hand blown glass.

Villa Rica marks the fifth concept for Hernandez in the San Antonio area, including Burgerteca, three La Gloria locations, two outposts of The Fruteria, as well as Tejas Steakhouse and Saloon in Bulverde. Hernandez also operates La Gloria in Las Vegas, The Fruteria in Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and three restaurants in England under the MEXico name. In November, 2017, Hernandez closed the Alamo Quarry location of El Machito, but it will be reopening at Brooks on the South Side sometime in 2018.

Villa Rica will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 5-10 pm and Friday-Saturday from 5-11 pm. Sunday brunch will run 10 am to 4 pm.