News you can eat

8 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Fresh eatery blooms at Japanese Tea Garden

8 things to know in local food: Eatery blooms at Japanese Tea Garden

Japanese Tea Garden San Antonio
A prolific San Antonio restaurateur will soon be taking over operations at the Japanese Tea Garden's Jingu House.  Photo courtesy of San Antonio Parks Foundation

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

San Antonio restaurant Cappy Lawton will bring a new bloom to the Japanese Tea Garden this spring. San Antonio Parks Foundation’s director of communications Libby Day confirmed to CultureMap that the prolific restaurateur will be taking over operations at the Jingu House from Fresh Horizons Catering. Lawton, who runs Cappy’s, Cappycino’s, and Mama’s Café, is still working on the final menu. According to Day, there will be nods to the historic spot’s cultural heritage.

Construction is soon to begin on a new location of nationally acclaimed tortas ahogadas shop Ro-Ho Pork and Bread. A filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation states that the owners are developing at 618 Fair Ave. The restaurant has not made an official announcement yet, but the project is slated to be finished in late June.

Medical Center favorite Thyme for Lunch has become the latest local eatery to bow to pandemic pressures. On January 26, the restaurant’s owners took to Facebook to announce an indefinite hiatus brought about by “supply chain issues, rising staffing [costs], and other costs across the board.” Though the post did not share a reopening date, it did say the closure would last a “few months.” The last day of business was January 30.

Sleeper Floresville barbecue joint Two Sawers BBQ has also become a COVID casualty. Owners Randy and Jenna Sawers opened the concept as a tiny trailer in late 2015 before expanding to a brick-and-mortar in 2017. After six years in business, the couple said goodbye via an emotional social media post. January 22 was the last day of business.

Those obsessed with Instagram-friendly décor (or perhaps Trading Spaces designer Hildi Santo-Tomas’ aughts experiments with staple gun chic) have a new café to check out in The Rim. Via the social media platform (where else?), Kaffeinated Crepes and Coffee spilled the beans on its opening on January 29. Bedecked in hundreds of pink and purple silk flowers, the shop serves sweet treats seven days a week.

It looks like a new bar is giving it a go in the Stone Oak space that formerly housed black-lit club Chicago Bar. Newish company ADH Entertainment LLC has applied for a mixed beverage concept at 9141 Stone Oak Pkwy., suite 505 for a watering hole dubbed Forty-Two. Whether the name expresses an affinity for Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or baseball trailblazer Jackie Robinson is unknown. The drinkery does not appear to have established a web presence.

Other news and notes

Hot off The Hayden’s January 26 debut on the Cooking Channel, another San Antonio restaurant is getting its moment in the sun. This time, beefy Cooking Channel host Robert Irvine stopped by Paciugo Gelato and Caffè at 340 E. Basse Rd. to film a segment of Cheat Day USA. Franchise owner Mo Shideed has been wowing guests with a shivery spaghetti Bolognese, a riff on spaghettieis. The original dish, surprisingly of German origin, is made by extruding vanilla ice cream in a modified spätzle press. Shideed ups the ante with a ladyfinger “breadstick” and “meatballs” made of Ferrero Rochet candies. The episode airs at 2:30 pm on February 15.

Local beer maker Vista Brewing has teamed up with Salem, Massachusetts’ Notch Brewing on a collaborative pale ale. Brave Noise, available at the brand’s San Antonio taproom and its Driftwood ranch, raises funds for marginalized beer industry survivors of assault, harassment, and discrimination. Its namesake organization seeks to “provide inclusive and safe environments for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ throughout the beer industry.”