Acclaimed San Antonio restaurant suddenly shutters with call to support local
It's undeniable that San Antonio is experiencing a moment as an emerging hospitality market. Almost every week brings news of a culinary newcomer, from casual upscale upstarts like Seasons 52 and Postino to cult fast-food purveyors like Dave's Hot Chicken and Bojangles. The boon of interest is giving fickle diners ever-glistening baubles but casting a shade on local businesses.
Even Alamo City's most celebrated restaurants are not immune from the pressures of accelerated competition. After a seven-year run, Sangria on the Burg, a national and local food media darling, will shutter on December 31. In a social media statement, chef and owner Ceasar Zepeda candidly blamed rising costs and declining sales.
The restaurant opened near Medical Center in October 2016, offering an unpretentious menu of tacos, salads, and sliders made with carefully sourced ingredients and global techniques. Though Zepeda never employed attention-getting gimmicks, his affable personality made him a go-to representative of the San Antonio culinary scene.
He notched up segments on The Cooking Channel's Food Paradise. He scored an impressive second-place finish on The Food Network's hit Guy's Grocery Games while keeping the San Antonio community at the forefront. Sangria on the Burg was a fixture of the city's many charitable events.
It was also a favorite of the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards judging committee. From 2021-2023, Zepeda was a Chef of the Year nominee, gaining a Restaurant of the Year nod in 2021. Fresh off opening, readers chose Sangria on the Burg as the Best New Restaurant 2017.
In his sign-off, Zepeda was characteristically supportive of San Antonio's culinary scene, reminding locals not to take their favorite restaurant for granted.
"Most importantly, in every decision you make, please support local," he wrote. "Please choose the mom-and-pop over the national brand. Please put a little extra effort into choosing a local family's business over a large chain. We sponsor your kid's teams; our kids go to school with your kids; we greet you when you break bread with your loved ones; and we become your friends and neighbors."