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
In May, CultureMap reported on the forthcoming American debut of Cervecería Chapultepec, a renowned Mexican fast-food chain with a unique fixed-price menu. According to the operation’s Facebook page, Chapultepec officially opens for business Thursday, August 13, and will serve its celebrated array of burgers, burritos, tacos, and subs, as well as alcoholic beverages including beer and cocktails — each for just $2.90. Chapultepec’s San Antonio location, which is situated near the Pearl area at 906 E. Elmira St., takes the place of shuttered Southern-style eatery Fontaine’s.
Popular live music venue and bar space Picks Bar has rolled out some inventive solutions to stay afloat in the current economic climate. Following the lead of such mobile booze-based operations as La Gloria’s margarita truck, Picks' owners Jessica Marinez and Amber Hernandez have introduced Billie the Bus, a mobile cocktail and food operation offering free delivery for orders placed within 10 miles of the bar’s brick-and-mortar location at 4553 TX 1604 Loop #1101. Built into a retooled school bus, the menu includes a variety of fruit-forward cocktail options including strawberry margaritas and frozen ginger lemonade, as well as make-at-home cocktail kits which feature 375-ml liquor bottles and a choice of four mixers. Picks is also moving forward with a new food operation in order to reopen as a restaurant under new state guidelines, according to the San Antonio-Express News. This reinvented menu, created in partnership with San Antonio comfort food staple Earl Abel’s, will reportedly feature elevated bar food including burgers, fried chicken, and fries. Picks reopened for in-person service last week and is currently open 4 pm-12 am, Monday through Tuesday; 4 pm-2 am, Wednesday through Thursday; and 6 pm-2 am, Friday through Sunday. Billie the Bus orders can be placed online at Picksbar.com.
A new Southwestern Chinese noodle operation is set to open soon at McCreless Market. Shifu Noodles will be headed by Chrystal Yi and Wendy Jiang, natives of Hunan and Sichuan respectively. Their forthcoming noodle house combines its owners’ experience working at Northwest San Antonio’s critically acclaimed Sichuan House. Yi and Jiang’s menu will reportedly feature a wide variety of homemade noodles including Dan Dan and homestyle, plus traditional proteins and greens. San Antonio-Express News reports the location's opening date is dependent upon Yi’s team securing its final round of permits. Shifu will be open for dine-in and curbside service 11 am-9:30 pm, Monday through Saturday (though closed on Tuesday), and noon-9 pm on Sunday.
Other news and notes
Texas’s most prolific Taco Journalism team is returning to primetime. United Tacos of America, the Mexican culture food and travel program, kicked off its second season last week on El Rey Network. (Editor's note: CultureMap contributor Trey Gutierrez serves as the show’s story producer.) Hosted by SXSW senior film programmer Jarod Neece and cultural engagement strategist Mando Rayo, the series is an extension of the duo’s long-running food blog, Taco Journalism. During production, United Tacos of America had to pivot from its usual travel show format as a result of COVID-19, forcing its team to adopt a revamped talk-show style. “It was definitely surreal,” Rayo says of filming under Texas Film Commission's COVID-19 safety protocols. “The great thing is we were able to deliver our content via things like Zoom interviews and guest [cooking demonstrations] in the parking lot right outside our studio.” New episodes from United Tacos of America's second season air Tuesdays at 7 pm and will feature appearances from such Alamo City personalities as blogger Stephanie Guerra, a.k.a Puro Pinche, and UTSA bicultural studies chair, Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark.
On August 5, upscale American eatery Boiler House began offering three new meals and cocktail kits for guests to prepare at home. Package options currently available for curbside pickup include cocktail kits; happy hour kits, which adds a snack to the aforementioned cocktail kit; and a dinner kit featuring two servings of an entrée and sides. Additionally, videos of executive chef Jarrad Gwaltney preparing each item are available on Boiler House’s social media platforms. In these instructional videos, Gwaltney teaches viewers how to make their very own sarsaparilla flank steak, the classic margarita on the rocks with whiskey bacon kettle corn and the Boiler House Old Fashioned. All kits can be ordered online or by calling Boiler House at (210) 354-4644. Boiler House’s cocktail kit is priced at $20, happy hour kit at $25, and the dinner kit at $58.
Pearl’s popular wine bar and bottle shop High Street Wine Co. is launching its own line of virtual wine classes and to-go wine pack offerings — with a socially conscious twist. For every wine pack or wine class purchased, High Street allocates service hours and sends its team members to volunteer with its nonprofit partners. At checkout, guests can choose which organization to support, including San Antonio Hope Center, Meals on Wheels, West Avenue Compassion, or San Antonio Food Bank. “We wanted to create a program that gave help where it was needed most,” said High Street general manager and beverage director Scott Ota. “Furthermore, the program could also directly raise money and awareness for each nonprofit and at the same time fill vacant volunteering positions.” Additionally, High Street has temporarily transformed its interior into a donation drop-off station to aid these nonprofits. To kick-start the program, the shop is providing complimentary Pearl beer to anyone who drops a donation from the approved list (donors must be 21 and older to receive complimentary beer). High Street’s wine packs and classes vary in price. Selections can be viewed on the business’s website.