By the horns
Bullish hospitality group charges ahead with 4 new San Antonio concepts
One of San Antonio’s most successful hospitality groups is charging ahead with ambitious development plans. Gerardo de Anda of Gusto Group USA, the owners of Toro Kitchen + Bar, The Cellar Mixology, and Cuishe Cocina Méxicana, tells CultureMap that company has four new projects in the works and an expansion of one of its most popular concepts.
The first to arrive will be The Bunker Mixology, a subterranean bar located at 229 E. Houston St. #10, the former downtown site of The Last Word and Jet Setter. Arriving in mid-March, the clubby, brick-clad space will greet guests with an imposing blast door before opening to a lounge dotted with contemporary furniture and art.
Though it shares some similarities with the underground Cellar Mixology in St. Paul’s Square, de Anda says it will have a more refined feel.
“Bunker will be more refined with a focus on art and storytelling,” he explains.
Once Bunker gets off the ground, the group will then focus on growing its Toro brand. In late April, the location in Stone Oak will relocate to a new space with private rooms and a more expansive interior and exterior, more details to be announced.
Then, it’s off to 15900 La Cantera Pkwy #22130 in mid-May for a brand-new outpost of the tapas concept. De Anda assures that the new Toro will have the same, seasonally rotating menu as the previous locations.
But it will also arrive with a feather in its cap. While waiting to feast on boquerones and patatas bravas, guests will be able to be able to grab a cocktail at Lounge 43, an intimate upstairs speakeasy.
Still following along? Gusto Group has even more tricks up its sleeves. The hospitality juggernaut is targeting mid-June for two more establishments — this time returning to St. Paul’s Square, the home of the original Cuishe and Toro. De Anda says the group continues to be inspired by the historic district.
“We fell in love with St. Paul Square the first time we toured it, especially the basement,” he says. “We understood it was going to be a challenge, but we ... we believed in its potential and we continue to strive to ensure St. Paul Square is rediscovered by locals and tourists.”
Gusto’s latest foray into the neighborhood comes with retro glamour. Stylus Mixology will be a tribute to the glittery nightlife of the ‘70s. It’s companion concept, Boombox Pizza & Bar, borrows one of the most oft-repeated phrases of the ‘80s — “carpe diem” — as a guiding principle behind its eclectic model.
Naturally, the business will serve pizza by the pie and by the slice. De Anda says the eatery will also incorporate a shop selling vintage clothes, nostalgic merchandise, and vinyl. Its proximity to Vice Coffee should make it an essential spot for local crate diggers.
Once those sibling hangouts opens, one would not fault Gusto Group for collapsing in a heap. But perhaps the company has the indefatigable energy of another late-‘80s icon — Jessie Spano. De Anda hinted that even more news is yet to come.
“We are working low-key — in its very preliminary stages — [to bring] the streets of Japan to San Antonio,” he says.