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
Houston Street’s historic Burns Building is getting sinfully boozy revamp from local spirits brand Devils River Whisky. Part of the company’s headquarters, the revitalized space will encompass a full working distillery and offer premium tastings and tours. Capitalizing on the structure’s 1920s-era architecture, the forthcoming distillery will also include a rooftop live music space and Prohibition-themed bar offering both appetizers and smooth cocktails. “We were able to build out a gorgeous space that remains true to the historic nature of the building," says Devils River co-founder and head distiller, Mike Cameron, in a press release. "Guests will see the building's original copper hardware and the magnificent floor to ceiling columns from 1919." The concept is set to open in late 2021 at 401 E. Houston St.
Following weeks of previews and soft openings, San Antonio’s latest seaside cuisine concept finally embarked on its maiden voyage. Offering a menu as straightforward as its name, SA Seafood slings such staple dishes as crawfish, shrimp, oysters, trout, and crab legs. For those prefer to stay on dry land, the concept’s fried chicken wings are served whole or traditional style in multiple rubs and sauces, including buffalo, barbecue, SA Spicy Cajun, or lemon pepper. Also offered are a variety of sides dishes like fried rice, lo mein, and salad. Located at 5222 De Zavala Rd., SA Seafood is currently open for dine-in service and online ordering for carryout and delivery via Doordash. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 am - 9 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11 am - 10 pm, and Sunday from 11 am - 9 pm.
Brasserie Mon Chou Chou, a new French-focused restaurant concept at the Pearl officially opened December 7. As CultureMap previously reported, the concept is led by French-born executive chef Laurent Réa, formerly of Signature. Réa’s menu showcases regional French flavors via full entrees like braised Texas rabbit in dijon mustard and steaks served in maître d’hôtel butter, but also allows for a more casual atmosphere with offerings such as oysters and cheese plates. Brasserie Mon Chou Chou is located near the entrance to Hotel Emma at 312 Pearl Pkwy. and is currently open for dine-in service only (reservations can be made here), with curbside/takeout and delivery options launching soon. The concept's hours are Monday - Saturday, 3-10 pm.
Other news and notes
Elsewhere in French-inspired eatery news, Alamo Heights' Bistr09’s latest Saturday event combines both the culinary and visual arts — and all for a good cause. On Saturday, December 12, the eatery’s live auction experience, Brunch for a Cause, will see prominent San Antonio artists, including Thelma Lugo, Jesse Bursiaga, and Ginzell Diaz, stationed safely around the dining space. Here, they’ll create artwork for dine-in guests to bid on throughout the brunch (50 percent of proceeds will go to the artist, and the other 50 percent to anti-bullying nonprofit David’s Legacy). Through it all, guests will enjoy a curated three-course brunch menu from Bist09 chef Damien Watel. The event, which runs from 11 am – 2 pm is rain or shine. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite for $45 per person and include admission to the event and chef Watel’s three-course meal.
San Antonio barbecue is getting (even) tastier. Finally expanding its retail reach into the Alamo City are Martin’s Famous Sandwich Potato Rolls, a staple of Pennsylvania households since 1955 (but any beef-loving Texan knows they also make a darn fine brisket sandwich). Available alongside the best-selling sandwich rolls, exclusively at H-E-B, are other Martin’s products including old-fashioned real butter bread, cinnamon raison butter bread, and dinner potato rolls. Tastes good on th’ bun!
In true 2020 fashion, December’s arrival brought with it a new challenge for Bexar County bars. On December 8, County Judge Nelson Wolff issued an order that shutter all bar operations by 11 pm, Thursday, December 10. Bars without food were previously allowed to operate at a reduced capacity as of October 20 under an order by Gov. Greg Abbott, which ultimately left the decision to reopen up to each county judge. “There still exists a declaration of public health disaster in and for the State of Texas ... [t]he transmission of COVID-19 has not dissipated but remains a significant threat to the health and safety of the Bexar County community," reads Wolff’s order. This does not, however, apply to the over 3,000 area bars that have since rebranded their operations as restaurants under a TABC reopening loophole. Those can remain open.
For those looking to enjoy the winter season warm and indoors, Pearl is debuting curated boxes of holiday cheer — to go! Via the recently launched curbside service, Pearl customers can pre-order seasonal goodie packages ranging in price from a $35 tamale box with four varieties to a $360 Wagyu grill box that includes 10-plus pounds of premium beef. All 15 of Pearl’s unique gift box offerings are available now through December 15 for pick up (and December 18 for shipping) and can be ordered here.