NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Fine dining chef unpacks nostalgic pop-up concept at popular Grayson Street bar
With new restaurants seemingly opening daily, San Antonio’s culinary scene is more exhilarating than ever. But even those with a packed reservation schedule sometimes crave something different.
Enter pop-ups — a San Antonio obsession that grows more popular each month. The latest to enter the fray is Restaurant Claudine chef Mel Cavazos, who debuted Throwback Sammies, a one-night-only concept that sprouted up at Three Star Bar on May 29.
“I want to do something comforting that everyone can relate to,” explains Cavazos of the nostalgic concept. “I want the menu to read simply but totally unexpected when you eat it.”
The small menu includes a trio of dishes that evoke childhood memories. Cheese bread is reimagined with Romesco sauce, burrata, and basil, while another sandwich has all the fixings of a Sunday pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and gravy. Those desperately waiting for fall will no doubt flock to the Thanksgiving Meltdown, complete with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry.
One dish, however, is even more personal. In honor of a recently passed friend, Cavazos added a “secret” vegan sandwich featuring buffalo cauliflower and homemade pickled vegetables.
“He loved his vegan wings,” Cavazos remembers.
The chef tells CultureMap that Throwback Sammies is just the start of a series of pop-ups she hopes to hold monthly. As she continues developing a career at Carpenter Carpenter Hospitality’s ever-growing restaurant empire, she sees the pop-up series as a chance to keep exploring her culinary voice.
“I want to expand and explore more options,” Cavazos says, adding, “I love sandwiches, but that’s not what I like to be known for.”
Future Throwback Sammies pop-ups will be announced via Instagram.