2020 in Review
San Antonio's 10 most popular food stories of 2020 include H-E-B love and Whataburger backlash
Editor's note: It has been a weird and heartbreaking year, but CultureMap San Antonio's annual top 10 most-read restaurant and bar stories are very much a celebration of the best of the Alamo City. Sure, we love our burger chains, but we love our community of local restaurants, too. But in this year of COVID-19, there was no other subject that grabbed our attention more than San Antonio's own H-E-B. Below are the top 10 most-read food stories of 2020.
1. Cult burger chain slides into San Antonio with special pop-up eatery. We all know San Antonians love Whataburger, but we had no idea how much they adore White Castle. News about the burger chain's Valentine's Day pop-up spread very, very fast. Within 24 hours of publication, all reservations for the unique dining experience were filled, forcing White Castle to issue a press release about it.
2. San Antonio's beloved Whataburger trades iconic A-frame design for new look. Whataburger unveiled its anticipated new look, and boy, howdy, people had opinions about it. Not only were folks mad about changes to the restaurant's iconic A-frame, they wrote in to remind us — frequently — that the chain's hometown is technically Corpus Christi and not San Antonio, where it is based.
3. San Antonio's beloved Whataburger opens first store with polarizing new design. Five months later, the San Antonio-based chain unveiled its first "new look" store near Waco in December, probably a good decision considering how South Texas readers reacted to the initial design plans.
4. 6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: One-price Mexican eatery opens near Pearl. Cervecería Chapultepec, a renowned Mexican fast-food chain with a unique fixed-price menu, made its American debut in the Alamo City this year, offering an entire menu of burgers, burritos, tacos, subs, and alcoholic beverages for just $2.90 each.
5. H-E-B updates restrictions on what San Antonio shoppers can buy during COVID-19 crisis. If we included every CultureMap story about H-E-B shopping restrictions, they would actually take up Nos. 5-8 on the most-read food story list. Instead, we'll just include the most popular one as a reminder of this unusual year and the remarkable endurance of San Antonians.
6. New Braunfels grills up first San Antonio location of popular burger stand and drive-thru. We really do love burgers, y'all! This mid-December news of Austin's beloved P. Terry's inching ever closer to South Texas was a recent smash hit. The burger chain's new store in New Braunfels officially opened on December 16.
7. H-E-B produces plans for even bigger store in San Antonio suburb. In other New Braunfels news, H-E-B is replacing a nearly 25-year-old grocery store in the San Antonio 'burb with a location that’ll be almost 25 percent larger than the original. Guess here everything is better — and bigger.
8. One of San Antonio's best restaurants mixes it up with move to Southtown. In July, we learned that one of San Antonio's best restaurants is "mixtl-ing" it up with a big move. Mixtli, the famed eatery from star chefs Rico Torres and Diego Galicia, is relocating from Olmos Park to Southtown. In October, the chefs unveiled what would be taking over the Olmos Park space.
9. The 6 top San Antonio restaurants defining the city's dining scene right now. CultureMap Tastemaker Awards were forced to pivot this year from the traditional in-person party, but that didn't stop us from honoring the best of San Antonio's culinary scene. Just like the Alamo City itself, the picks for Restaurant of the Year reflect the city’s diverse cultural flavors and tradition of fine hospitality.
10. Texas' best barbecue joint stars in new Netflix series. Pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas, was the subject of an episode of Chef's Table, the famed Netflix series that uncovers the best of global cuisine. The 85-year-old has helmed the pits at Snow’s since it opened in 2003 and has topped best-of lists ever since.