From casual trattorias or tucked-away new American joints, neighborhood restaurants — eateries that aim for loyal repeat customers instead of a steady flow of one-off guests — are the hottest movement in the American market. So it’s no surprise that one of San Antonio’s veteran chefs would want to make the trend his own.
Chef Jean-Francois Poujol is well-known around Alamo City for his work at Soleil Bistro & Wine Bar, Tost Bistro Bar, and Tribeca 212. Now, he is setting his sites on the eclectic Beacon Hill neighborhood to give the trend an Italian twist with SoHill Cafe.
Located in the former home of Casbeers Cafe and Cantina at 1719 Blanco Rd., SoHill will open on November 3 with a menu of fresh pasta, salads, and wood-fired pizza, according to a release.
The latter has been a specialty of the chef since the beginning of his more than 25-year career. He began his career in Studio City, California, under Ed LaDou, who developed the first menu at California Pizza Kitchen and helped popularize the state’s distinct pizza style during his stint at Wolfgang Puck’s legendary Spago.
Before settling in San Antonio, Poujol would go on to work for the celebrity chef himself, starting as a pizza maker at the Los Angeles Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill before rising through the ranks to sous chef. His experience shows in SoHill’s fermented dough, a local rarity.
His new restaurant brings California cool to Beacon Hill with a casual interior featuring dark walls accented with light furniture and pops of primary color. Although the scratch kitchen takes great care in its sourcing and preparation, the actual dishes are approachable. Think chicken, bacon, and ranch pies; spaghetti and meatballs; and simple arugula salads with slice strawberries, blue cheese, and candied walnuts.
Although the restaurant will not have a cocktail program, guests can settle into a booth with a glass of wine or a cold beer. Nonalcoholic drinks like Top Chico and tea will also be served.
Once up and running in November, SoHill will be open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 am-9 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11am-10 pm.