The neighborhood of Mahncke Park, north of downtown San Antonio, is situated in a prime location. The area lies across from Brackenridge Park where a wide collection of cultural, educational, and recreational destinations co-exist.
But within Mahncke Park is a treasure trove of a different kind. Several local, independent restaurants operate within walking or biking distance from each other on Broadway Street, offering myriad genres of food and great options from the usual chain eateries. Casual and family-friendly are terms that also tie all of these restaurants together, making the corridor that much more alluring for neighborhood foodies who don't want to go too far out to get their fix.
The Smoke Shack
This barbecue joint sports a roof with the Texas flag painted on it, so you can't miss it. The Smoke Shack was born from a popular food truck based at Loop 410 and Nacogdoches Road. The truck is still around, but the owners, Chris and Kate Conger, decided to expand their love for barbecue and Southern-comfort cuisine into a brick-and-mortar spot on Broadway Street. The menu includes the Smoke Shack Mac — mac and cheese piled with chopped brisket and barbecue sauce, as well as fried chicken, sandwiches, sliders, and plenty of Southern-inspired sides.
Right behind Smoke Shack lies The Pigpen, which serves as more of a neighborhood bar but with a family-friendly attitude. The Congers bought this property, the site of the former One-O-Six Bar, and transformed it into a place for all San Antonians to enjoy with craft beer, specialty drinks, comfort food, and snacks for children. Opened in December 2015, there's a playground and patio, and the atmosphere is accommodating towards large groups and fans wanting to watch their favorite team on the big screen.
Across from Smoke Shack and Pigpen is Picante Grill, which has a rustic cantina-style setting. The menu is filled with modestly priced Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, such as sopa de huitlacoche — black mushroom, melted white cheese, avocado, and corn in a chicken broth. Then there's the pato al pipian verde made with pan-roasted duck breast, pumpkin seed, and herb sauce. It's an older restaurant — well, older than many nearby venues — but still proves reliable.
Tomatillos Cafe y Cantina
Tomatillos is a very brief jaunt down Broadway from Picante Grill. Tomatillos serves up classic Tex-Mex, such as flautas, tamales, and pescado de cilantro, at affordable prices. Tomatillos also has an array of margaritas — more than a dozen — along with agua fresca. The restaurant has a colorful, personal feel, complete with blinking lights, interesting decor, and a little waterfall feature. Bonus: There's also karaoke on certain nights.
King's Palace has been serving up classic Chinese-American cuisine such as crab rangoon, Mongolian chicken, and shrimp sizzling rice crust soup for several years. The eatery features some intriguing decor — located in a pagoda-like building — and offers delivery within the area.
Similar to King's Palace, Hung Fong features generous portions of food on its budget-friendly Chinese-American menu. It also sells what some may call kitschy items in case you want to bring the experience home. The dining room is spacious and bright.
Van's Chinese Seafood Restaurant
Van's gets a little more diverse with its pan-Asian menu that delves into Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese. Its authentic Asian soup for two offers either a crab meat fish maw or seafood tofu option. There's a variety of noodle soups, rice dishes, vermicelli, and clay pot offerings. Van's also boasts a great selection of wine.
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