News you can eat

7 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Famed tamale chain unrolls opening date

7 things to know in San Antonio food: Tamale chain unrolls open date

Delia's Tamales
Delia's is finally opening in the Alamo City. Photo courtesy of Delia's Tamales

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

Overshooting its projected spring 2020 opening, Rio Grande Valley-based fast-food chain Delia’s Tamales is set to unveil its first San Antonio outpost on Friday, July 31. The location will be the popular family-owned operation’s first outside of the Valley, where Delia’s founder and namesake, Mexican immigrant Delia Lubin, first turned her door-to-door tamale business into a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 1998. Today, Delia’s six Texas locations, as well as its forthcoming San Antonio operation, serve 18 different types of the traditional steamed masa dish, including sweet cream cheese and veracruzano pork. According to KSAT, the new Delia’s will offer drive-thru service exclusively when it opens at 13527 Hausman Pass. Hours are 7 am-8 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 7 am-6 pm on Sunday.

A popular Houston-based halal operation is opening its hotly anticipated second San Antonio food truck on Saturday, August 1. Abu Omar Halal, which started as H-town's first halal food truck back in 2011, opened its first Alamo City trailer across from University of Texas at San Antonio campus back in 2018, an outpost that has earned a cult following of students and foodies alike. To celebrate the truck’s grand opening at 5830 Babcock Rd., Abu Omar’s will offer patrons 50 percent off the new location’s menu items, including kabobs, falafels, and shawarma. The Medical Center location’s hours of operation will be 11 am-midnight, daily.

It was a day of disappointment and optimism for restaurateur Adrian Martinez as he took to Facebook Live on July 28 to announce the relocation of Smoke, downtown’s premier barbecue restaurant, event venue, hidden basement bar, and tequila tasting room. “Although we killed it when it comes to curbside, takeout, and catering, it doesn’t make sense to operate a space this big right now, simply because we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” said Martinez in an emotional monologue. The owner went on to announced Smoke would be relocating to more humble digs roughly half a mile up north. The new location at 501 E. Crockett St. opens on Friday, July 30, for curbside and to-go service. It also feature 8,000 square feet of space, including an outdoor live music area set to be completed by September. “We’re far from calling it quits,” said Martinez. “We have a hell of a brand and a hell of a following… we’re going to adapt and we’re going to thrive.”

A Northwest Side restaurant’s inventive approach to customer safety made headlines last week. A video on Alamo Biscuit Co.'s Instagram page demonstrates a "sanitation portal," which sprays patrons' bodies with disinfecting mist. Users press a button on the portal side before walking (with eyes and mouth closed ) through a chlorine-based spray that reportedly kills 99.7 percent of germs. While the establishment’s unique approach to sanitation has received diverse reactions across social media, the company made a point to clarify the safety measure is completely optional. What’s not optional, however, is the use of face masks when ordering within Alamo Biscuit's indoor dining space. That's a statewide requirement.

Other news and notes

Note: The pandemic has wreaked havoc on breweries across the state, but the past few weeks have been particularly stressful as state guidelines have forced them to shutdown ... again. Despite this frustration, Alamo City breweries have remained resilient, grabbing headlines with inventive recipes and collaborations. Below, we highlight a few of their stories and urge you to support your local craft brewery.

After the unexpected popularity of Islla St. Brewing Co.’s Big Rojo, the operation’s founders took to Instagram to announce they’re working on getting the popular libation back on store shelves. The brew, a bright Berliner Weisse brewed with Big Red soda syrup, sold out in three minutes — and crashed the brewery's online point of sale — when it was released in mid-July. “Over the next few weeks, we will be finalizing TABC label approval and working with a few great partners to get this beer into the local market,” read a statement from Islla St. head brewer Joaquin “JD” Peña and his brother/co-owner, Josh Peña. The beer’s eventual wide release will also come with a new original label design, replacing previous designs that took inspiration from both the original Big Red logo and its H-E-B brand counterpart, Wild Red.   

Elsewhere in brewing news, Weathered Souls Brewing Co. is starting to see results from its Black is Beautiful project, where the operation shared its new imperial stout recipe with other breweries to raise money for black-focused nonprofits. Since the project was announced, over 1000 breweries across 20 countries have signed on to participate. Last week, popular operations across Texas released their own spins on the brew. According to proceeds from Weathered Soul’s own sales of the stout have already raised $40,000 for the San Antonio chapter of mentorship nonprofit 100 Black Men.

Just 24 hours after exploiting a TABC license loophole that allowed guests to enjoy beers outside of Roadmap Brewing Co.’s taproom, the brewery announced it’d be returning to to-go service only. On July 23, Roadmap Brewing Co. said customers could purchase beer to enjoy at tables located along Eighth Street (not technically onsite, but close enough). The announcement was amended the following day. “We are being told that under TABC Code 11.49, our premise is actually defined 'as the surrounding grounds, appurtenances, etc.,'” Roadmap said in a Facebook post that went on to label TABC’s logic “laughable.” Roadmap's beer-to-go operation is currently open seven days a week from 2- 8 pm, daily.