NEWS YOU CAN EAT
A bittersweet farewell and a gaggle of chains seize San Antonio dining news
Editor's Note: It’s a brand-new year, but some of last year’s trends are still being felt in the San Antonio restaurant scene. Another acclaimed concept is closing its doors while the franchise invasion continues to run amok.
Openings and closings
2023’s industry-wide hangover continues in 2024 as yet another acclaimed concept is calling it a day. Via a January 4 Instagram post, Chocollazo announced that it would be serving one last Valentine’s season before closing permanently on February 17. Owners Mary and Frank Collazo started the venture in 2013 as a food truck before opening a brick-and-mortar flagship on Broadway in 2016. In 2019, the couple briefly ran a second location at Hemisfair before the pandemic forced a shutter in 2020. Although sweets will no longer be served at the Broadway location, the shop will still be kept in the family. Daughter Mikala Petrone will take over the space to open a plant shop.
Carnitas Lonja may have shuttered, but that doesn’t mean San Antonians will be deprived of Chef Alex Paredes’ cuisine. On January 2, the Lonja account was rebranded for a new concept in the same space — Chilaking. The announcement gave little detail, but fans can expect a menu devoted to chilaquiles.
It’s open season for out-of-state franchises looking to establish a foothold in San Antonio. According to social media posts, Beans & Brews has opened its first Alamo City outpost at 6507 W Loop 1604 N. The Utah-based franchise is planning a full entrenchment into Texas markets with a planned 40 stores, split between Austin and San Antonio.
Atlanta-based Chicken Salad Chick, meanwhile, continues its local invasion with the debut of its third area outlet in a year. A release spilled the beans on the chain’s grand opening at 1050 FM 306 in New Braunfels. Like the previous two entries into the San Antonio market, the new shop will be operated by locals James Oberg, George Shaw, and Jeff Rochelle, who are shaping up to have a busy 2024. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation filings, the trio will soon be turning their attention to another San Antonio outpost at 6010 UTSA Blvd.
The same shopping center, Roadrunner Creek, will also host a new location for Philadelphia sweets shop Insomnia Cookies. The concept is similar to other biscuit-based franchises like Crumbl and Tiff’s Treats, though it usually opens its stores around college campuses.
Other news and notes
San Antonio is already a hub of anime culture with the San Japan festival soon to enter into a new decade. Now, a traveling food festival is set to further the city’s bona fides. Otaku Food Festival will host more than 100 food vendors, cosplay competitions, and appearances from voice actors on January 27 and 28. Curiously, none of the details for the San Antonio stop have been announced, but its Facebook page regularly posts updates.