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
Things are getting (even) spicier on San Antonio’s Far West Side. Chef and restauranteur Nicola Blaque will open a second location of her popular Caribbean-inspired restaurant, The Jerk Shack, at the new 151 Plaza development in summer 2021. Founded by the Culinary Institute of America graduate in 2018, The Jerk Shack's original location at 117 Matyear St., has earned widespread acclaim (and CultureMap's Best New Restaurant Award in 2019) for its array of herb-marinated meats as well as its Caribbean-influenced takes on tacos and coleslaw. Blaque’s new 2,220-square-foot dine-in/drive-thru operation will feature a menu similar to her first, plus a newly expanded beverage program with beer, wine, and select craft cocktails. The forthcoming brick-and-mortar marks Blaque’s third Alamo City restaurant concept; her second, Mi Roti, opened in July.
The husband-and-wife team behind Choccollazo unveiled another sweets shop on October 17. Black+ White Modern Creamery is located next-door to Mary and Frank Collazo’s original dessert shop at 4011 Broadway, and features a sleek, New-York inspired design. The shop specializes in indulgent ice cream offerings with hearty helpings of toppings mixed in. Set to rotate sporadically, Black + White’s current flavors include such unique offerings as honey and cornbread, Thai tea, cereal and milk, and Oreo chocolate brownie, plus non-dairy options made with almond and coconut milk. Black + White is currently open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 am-8 pm and Friday - Saturday, 11 am-9 pm.
La Botanica, Texas’s first vegan restaurant with a full bar and community space, closed its doors for good on October 20. Founded by vegan chef and LGBTQI+ activist, Rebel Mariposa, La Botanica served a variety of fresh entrees and appetizers inspired by the traditions of Tex-Mex, Gulf Coast, and Mexican cuisine. Since opening in 2015, the cafe became a beloved gathering place of San Antonio’s queer community, hosting numerous social justice-focused benefits and events such as film screenings, live music, and drag performances. In a statement posted on La Botanica’s website, the business revealed its shuttering came about as a result of its lease. “We challenge you [to] create micro La Botanica spaces for the people in your life who need community the most,” read the restaurant's post. “Receive all people with empathy and compassion. Advocate and defend those who are marginalized and underserved. That's how you keep La Botanica alive.”
Other news and notes
To celebrate the fall harvest, Pearl Farmers Market is releasing a series of videos featuring Hotel Emma chef John Brand on its social media pages from now until Thursday, October 22. Brand will share his favorite pumpkin recipes using seasonal produce from Pearl Farmers Market's regional producers. So families can follow along at home, the farmers market is also offering pumpkins locally sourced from Braune Farms near New Braunfels, which can be ordered online for curbside pickup. Additionally, pumpkin carving stencils will also be available at the market to take home at no charge and can be picked up on October 24, 25, and 31. Interested parties can schedule their curbside pumpkin pick-up here.
Classic French brasserie Bistr09 is getting a taste of New York Fashion Week, courtesy of renowned designer Cesar Galindo. The restaurant’s B9 Fashion Brunch, a socially distanced fashion show taking place on Sunday, October 25, will feature a runway with models showcasing Galindo’s latest creations. The Houston-born designer's career includes stints designing period costumes for the Miami City Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera, as well as showing off collections at New York Fashion Week. During the event, Bistr09 is set to offer its signature brunch options, including eggs Benedict, omelets, and pancakes, plus handcrafted cocktails and brunch favorites like mimosas. B9’s fashion brunch takes place Sunday, October 25, from 11 am -3 pm. Reservations are required for seating and can be made at Bistr09’s website or by calling (210) 245-8156
Even in a year plagued by difficulties and setbacks for the craft beer industry, one local brewery has much to celebrate. On October 17, the Alamo City-based Freetail Brewing Co. took home the silver medal in the 34th Great American Beer Festival’s American pilsner category. The operation’s winning brew, which carries the weighty name "Imagine a World with Beer Cellars Instead of 401Ks," beat out more than 100 challengers during 18 days of judging sessions. Freetail was the only San Antonio operation receive recognition at the festival and one of only 10 Texas breweries to claim a prize. The award marks Freetail’s third GABF honor since the operation opened in 2008; the brewery last won gold in 2019 for its Baltic-style porter “Snap Yo’ Baltics.” Freetail’s silver-medal American pilsner is currently available in 4-packs of tallboys at the brewery’s taproom at 2000 S. Presa St, which is open 4-9 pm, Tuesday through Saturday and and 1-6 pm on Sunday.