Editor's note: As 2019 comes to a close, we take a look back at the 10 biggest restaurant and bar stories of the year. Readers couldn't get enough of an out-of-control bar and cheered on a hometown hero as it gained national acclaim, but, mostly, they wanted to know where to go for dinner.
That sets the Alamo City apart from other cities (cough cough, Austin) that go gaga for the latest flash in the pan. Whether trying out something new or revisiting an old favorite, San Antonio diners simply want to know if a restaurant delivers.
1. Wild Bar Rescue episode can't save San Antonio bar from riding out of business. The Real Housewives franchise may have plenty of thrown drinks, but that's nothing compared to one of this year's installments of Paramount Network's hit series. A 2019 episode featuring China Grove's The Tipsy Bull included a very public yelling match, a crude interaction with a taxidermy coyote, and a curious possum skittering across the floor. Unfortunately, the fame gained from the television appearance was too late to save the struggling suburban watering hole; it tanked in October 2018, long before the May 2019 air date.
2. These are San Antonio's best restaurants for 2019. For our annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, we took an in-depth look at the eateries that make San Antonio's dining scene so intriguing. The nominees for Restaurant of the Year ranged from a casual carnitas stand to an upscale spot that's always booked, but they all have one thing in common: they reflect the diversity that makes the Alamo City a great place to live.
3. 7 romantic San Antonio restaurants for a swoon-worthy date night. Who knew San Antonio was filled with so many lovers? This romantic roundup had readers enamored all year with recommendations for quaint hideaways, sleek downtown eateries, and cozy Hill Country gems.
4. Where to eat in San Antonio right now: 5 shops with outrageous desserts. As 2019's temperatures spiked, we had the scoop on the area's most over-the-top desserts. These local shops pile on the candies, sprinkles, and fruit to make gravity defying treats that taste as good as they look.
5. 5 San Antonio grocery stores open Christmas Day 2019. Our annual list of where to buy last-minute staples exploded on December 24 and 25, saving holiday feasts across the city.
6. Where to eat in San Antonio right now: 5 brand-new restaurants for 2019. At the start of the year, San Antonians were in the mood to try something new. Readers ate up our January list of five promising newcomers offering everything from creative deli sandwiches to classic barbecue and easygoing pub grub.
7. Surprising San Antonio eatery lands on national best restaurants list. National publications tend to ignore San Antonio in favor of Austin, so when The Jerk Shack beat out the Capital City's freshman class to nab a spot on Eater's 2019 list of the 16 best new restaurants in America, it was huge news. Of course, it wasn't such a surprise to locals. The Jamaican eatery helmed by Nicola Blaque has been drawing long lines since it first debuted in May 2018.
8. 6 San Antonio fried chicken sandwiches better than anything at Popeyes or Chick-fil-A. Who could forget 2019's great chicken sandwich wars that pitted two fast-food giants in a battle bigger than all the Kardashian feuds combined? The only clear victors were San Antonians, who skipped the drive-thru in favor of these local spots delivering innovative toppings, zippy condiments, and crunch to spare.
9. 10 menus you must try during San Antonio Restaurant Weeks 2019. Local foodies eagerly anticipate Culinaria's Restaurant Weeks, an easy-on-the-wallet promotion that helps attract customers during restaurants' traditionally slow periods. The 2020 winter edition comes roaring back January 20-February 1. Until then, whet your appetite with a look back at 2019's top picks.
10. 9 essential San Antonio restaurants that capture the spirit of Southtown. The eclectic neighborhood may no longer be San Antonio's best-kept secret, but it is still a respite from the touristy crowds downtown. Full of eclectic galleries and buzzy bars, Southtown also happens to feature some of the best eats in town.