Deco District Eats

4 under-the-radar restaurants for the best Deco District dining

4 under-the-radar restaurants for the best Deco District dining

El Paraiso Ice Cream paleta popsicle Deco District
El Paraiso's paletas pair well with summer days in San Antonio. El Paraiso Ice Cream/Facebook

The Deco District of San Antonio, located along Fredericksburg Road, has long been a family-friendly community. While portions of the historic neighborhood have fallen into decline, revitalization efforts are ongoing, and there's plenty to explore. 

Part of Deco District's charm is that its residents are heavily invested in the local, independent businesses that are walkable and bike-friendly. That includes a good number of amazing restaurants. 

Sure, there's Deco Pizzeria with its occasional live entertainment and front patio. There's the Original Donut Shop, quite popular for its two concentrations of doughnuts and tacos. Tip Top Cafe is famous for its chicken-fried steak and onion rings. Then there's Brown Coffee Co., which has footprints elsewhere around town. Beyond these popular choices though, is a slew of dining gems that continue to draw generations of locals who call the neighborhood home.

Julio's Cafe
Julio's Cafe serves up affordable breakfast and lunch. Like many of its contemporaries in the Deco District, the establishment is no-frills. Try its tasty Tex-Mex items, such as chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, carne guisada, and pork chops. The barbacoa, as well as the chips and salsa, are particularly on point. The service is friendly at family-owned Julio's, although be warned about the parking — it can be a challenge at times.

Rios Barbacoa
Rios Barbacoa is another budget- and family-friendly option, but it is only open on Saturday and Sunday. Its barbacoa offerings are some of the best in town, be it served by the pound or on a taco — but that's not all. Tamales at Rios are consistently delicious, and the pico de gallo is solid.

The Hut Diner
This family-run restaurant serves up home-style, scratch-made American fare for breakfast and lunch. With breakfast available all day, you'll find sizable pancakes, made-to-order waffles and eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, as well as different kinds of sandwiches and burgers. Cold beverages come in mason jars and the coffee is more than reliable. You can dine at a booth or at the counter. The Hut Diner, aka the San Antonio Coffee Hut, is a great mom-and-pop alternative in Deco District.

El Paraiso Ice Cream
El Paraiso Ice Cream is one of the oldest local paleta companies and a fixture in the Deco District, enticing neighbors with a sweet tooth and a hankering for fresh, healthy ice cream and fruit bars. Families come here to enjoy them on El Paraiso's front patio beneath its iconic blue and white half-shell structure, especially in the spring and summer. While its original homemade recipes were refined in Chicago, the flavors are influenced by the culture of Guadalajara, Mexico.

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