Editor’s note: We’re looking back at the hottest San Antonio headlines of 2021, and today we dive into the biggest restaurant and bar stories of the year. It wouldn’t be a San Antonio list without H-E-B making an appearance, but this year’s most popular dining headlines also highlight several restaurants making their San Antonio debut, as well as local favorites finding the spotlight.
1. H-E-B reverses mask decision for customers after backlash. In early March, Texas’ favorite grocer reversed course and issued a clarification that it would still require — not recommended — guests wear masks inside its stores.
2. San Antonio eatery nabs No. 1 spot on list of America’s best brunches. In May, a list based on Yelp data named a local cafe as the top spot in the country for brunch.
3. Revered Dallas taco shop opens in San Antonio with 2 prime locations. Velvet Taco, the global-inspired shop from Dallas, made its Alamo City debut in March.
4. Long-awaited upscale steakhouse fires up first San Antonio location. After years of anticipation, Redlands Grill fired up at La Cantera Heights in late March.
5. Feds freeze out local Dairy Queen operator for $358,000 in back pay. New Braunfels-based R&S Dairy Queens operates 19 franchise locations in the area.
6. San Antonio’s 8 best new restaurants heat up Tastemakers tournament. This summer, we heated things up with our annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards tournament, in which you voted for San Antonio’s best new restaurant of 2021.
7. San Antonio cafe grabs No. 1 spot on Yelp’s top Texas restaurants. Yelp dished out even more praise for one beloved San Antonio cafe.
8. Mexican steakhouse picks prime San Antonio spot for first U.S. eatery. A Brazilian steakhouse chain selected the Shops at La Cantera for its first U.S. location, which opened in January.
9. 6 San Antonio eateries among Texas Monthly’s best new restaurants. In the midst of the pandemic, this list looked a little different, focusing on favorite takeout dishes and drinks from across the state.
10. California chain unleashes hot dogs and biergarten on San Antonio. The award-winning West Coast chain softly opened a San Antonio location in January.