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Photo courtesy of Main Event

Main Event, the entertainment chain known for its arcade games, sports, and prizes, can’t resist adding even more to its roster. With two San Antonio-area locations (one on North Loop 1604 East and one on TX-151), the games are still the main event, but now dinner is taken care of too — not just a few items at a concession window, but a full restaurant called Family Kitchen that boasts “nearly 50 new and unique menu items.”

These items start with the standard arcade food staples — burgers, sandwiches, pizza — but Family Kitchen applies its own spins for a more creative menu. Whereas before, the entertainment venue served many more generic items, Family Kitchen revamped every item to make sure it was unique to the restaurant, in addition to adding new ones.

A Triple Lava Burger comes with cheese and cheese sauce; a PBB&J Burger combines the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a less-expected blueberry jam and a totally left-field burger, bacon, and cheese; and chicken wings come in eight different sauces and rubs, including a Nashville hot blend and a lemon pepper rub.

“Family Kitchen was developed with extra care, attention to detail and a focus on premium quality ingredients,” said Chef Wiley Bates III, director of culinary innovation at Main Event Entertainment, in a press release. “We’re excited for our guests to experience our new menu offerings, which have been seasoned with salt, pepper and love, and added playfulness that customers experience throughout the rest of the Main Event center.”

As expected at the arcade, the first priority across much of this menu is shareables, including loaded fries, nachos, and pizzas. The shareability does start with volume, with “Family Feasts” bundling commonly ordered items for four to six people, but it also means more inclusive options like vegan Beyond Meat substitutes and salads. Mocktails are also available, although the presence of a “Cotton Candy Shirley” makes it clear these selections are more about being fun for kids than catering to sober adults. (Alcoholic drinks are available at the bar or the restaurant, but are not included on the online menu.)

“The Family Kitchen was largely inspired by Main Event’s brand promise to be a place for families to bond,” said Main Event Chief Marketing Officer Ashley Zickefoose. “From shareable favorites with our Family Feasts to offering something tasty and memorable for everyone in the family….”

Main Event may remind visitors of Dave & Buster’s, for good reason: the two entertainment and food venues are owned and operated by the same parent company. Dave & Buster’s, initially from Dallas, is the significantly larger brand with 148 stores, but Main Event is catching up. The latter is founded and headquartered in Coppell, Texas, and now has 52 locations. Main Event centers are also more kid-focused, and typically larger than those in the Dave & Buster’s, since they offer games like laser tag and escape rooms.

Family Kitchen is accessible to any visitors, whether or not they play any games, but there are food and game bundles to streamline the experience. More information about Main Event and the new restaurant are available at mainevent.com.

Photo courtesy of Earth Burger

Pioneering San Antonio vegan fast-food chain poised for national expansion

Down to Earth

Despite the seeming uniformity of fast food, tides of public opinion about it are constantly changing. From the initial innovation, to commodification, to general mistrust, ironic obsession, and a genuine desire to enjoy something simple and ubiquitous, vegans have mostly been watching from the sidelines.

Earth Burger, the small San Antonio restaurant chain founded in 2014 that claims to have been the United States’ “first-ever plant-based fast food restaurant,” has placed a bid on the greater fast-food economy with a national expansion. The burger joint will move through the franchising process with help from Sinelli Concepts International, a Dallas group which operates and shares a founder with Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.

Sinelli Concepts and its investee Earth Burger know the market is there for franchises after receiving “hundreds of inquiries” from individuals and companies, many of whom have demonstrated experience in restaurants. A launch party on November 10 in San Antonio will invite others interested in franchising to gather information and get to know the business, from the food to the team. Attendees can also win prizes, from free Earth Burger for a year, to a full franchising fee ($30,000).

“Sinelli Concepts is proud to partner with a Texas-based brand that takes pride in offering customers accessible plant-based options,“ said founder Jeff Sinelli in a press release. “We’ve seen a trajectory of demand for plant-based food and more sustainable options. The future of fast food is here, and we know plant-based lovers and novices alike will enjoy Earth Burger’s flavorful offerings.”

The partnership initiated a complete rebranding, including unspecified changes to the menu, but the idea remains the same. The menu is meant to be very convenient — initially for co-founder Mike Behrend and his vegan collaborators’ kids — while remaining environmentally sustainable. And because Behrend, who used to be known for his chicken-fried steak, knows firsthand that none of this is useful if it doesn’t taste good, the restaurant places a heavy emphasis on flavor.

“As a Texan, I can strongly confirm meat is a central part of Texas food culture – but believe me when I tell you these burgers are just as tasty,” said Behrend in the release. “You’re not settling for an average bland fast food meal at Earth Burger. Our completely meatless menu features bold recipes and sauces we create in-house, bringing out the best flavor in our dishes. We want to provide a really delicious meal that just happens to be plant-based.”

Earth Burger makes it sustainability choices public on its website, with a list of sustainable products that it prefers to use when supply is available, including recycled and biodegradable materials. It also donates “a portion of sales from select menu items” to its Peach on Earth Project, according to a press release, although information about this foundation does not seem to be publicly accessible.

Space at the franchising event is limited. RSVP at earthburger.com, and have some info on hand to fill out the form.

Photo courtesy of Hometown Chef/Burger Showdown

10 top San Antonio chefs battle it out at upcoming Burger Showdown

Eat for a good cause

Ten San Antonio-area chefs plan to put their burger-making skills to the test in an October 14 event designed to benefit the San Antonio Food Bank.

Hometown Chef, a local online culinary series, will host the annual burger competition, Burger Showdown 3.0, at Alamo Beer Co. The event will take place 6-9 pm with VIPs being welcomed at 5:30 pm.

According to a news release, the outdoor event will position the competing chefs beneath the historic Hays Street bridge, and attendees get to vote for their favorite burger.

The first-place winner will be awarded a cash prize, along with a trophy. Second- and third-place winners will also receive a trophy.

"This is my absolute favorite event of all time. These chefs are phenomenal, and the battle is real - everyone wants to throw down the most badass burger, and if you're going to find one in San Antonio, it will be on this night!" says Homegrown Chef co-creator and food writer Kimberly Suta.

Suta also says Burger Showdown 3.0 helps to emphasize the benefits of locally sourced ingredients and traditional cooking methods.

"Additionally, I just want to say that we're really proud to promote, in small part, the slow food movement and the fantastic local ranchers that we have and are working with, such as Pure Pastures, Behind the Oak Farm and Peaceful Pork. Sustainable, healthy food raised by compassionate people is more important now than ever," she says.

Here are their participating chefs and their planned burgers, with descriptions provided by the event.

Chef Diana Anderson, JD's Chili Parlor: The Hostage Burger
A burger patty made with their signature five-pepper chili paste, topped with aged Wisconsin "jeddah," an all-beef hot dog, grass-fed pecan-smoked whiskey chili, Mexican cheeses, red onions, fried jalapeños, “chilified” aioli, and romaine lettuce; served on a homemade chili seed bun.

Chef Angelo Gordon of Jamaica Jamaica Cuisine: Reggae Burger
Made with seasoned ground beef, topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, pickled cabbage, and jerk aioli on a brioche bun.

Chef Louis Halaszyn of Cream Kitchen and Bar: The Westslider
Chorizo-marinated beef patty with smoked cheddar cheese sauce, sour pickle relish, shredded red and green leaf lettuce, and toasted hot Cheetos aioli on a Kaiser bun.

Chef Geronimo Lopez of Botika: BBC (Botika Burger Cartelua)
House-made patty cooked with Spanish chorizo, Chihuahua cheese, crispy onions, shoestring potatoes, and chimichurri on a sourdough bun.

Chef Joseph Thadeus Martinez of Tributary Modern Texas Cuisine: Elote Burger
A Dean and Peeler smash patty, Oaxaca cheese whiz, street corn relish, chicharrón corn nut crunch, and cilantro lime aioli on a potato bun.

Chef John O'Larnic of Chef's Backyard: Chef's Backyard Flavor Formula Popper Burger
Cheeseburger made with bacon, American cheese, cream cheese, fresh jalapeños, and Chef's Backyard Flavor rub.

Chef John Munoz of Smokies by Chef John: The Smoked Out Burger
Grass-fed ground beef, smoked gouda and chili peppers, layered with house-smoked brisket and sausage, topped with onion strings, and finished with a house-made barbecue sauce.

Chef James Richard Smith of toohotfortabc: The Marfa Lights Burger
A green chile flat iron cheeseburger.

Chef Dave Terrazas from The Art Institute of San Antonio: The Caribbean
A sweet, spicy, and savory asadero-topped burger, featuring layers of tamarind, citrus, Allspice, gold rum, with pickled green mango, avocado aioli, and sweet and Scotch bonnet peppers.

Chef Kristina Zhao of Dashi Sichuan Kitchen + Bar - The Dashi
Made with beef, pork belly, avocado, GGG, Sichuan peppercorn oil, tamari, and Kewpie mayo on a biscuit.

Additionally at the Burger Showdown, Ed Villarreal, host chef of Homegrown Chef will make french fries, and Stone Oak bakery Texas Cookie Shop will providing cookies for dessert.

General admission tickets of $50 per person does not include drinks, but beverages can be purchased via Alamo Beer. VIP admission includes one drink ticket and the aforementioned early admission.

Elotitos/ Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/elotitos.sa/photos/565552585250982]

7 things to know in San Antonio food: Favorite snack shop crops up in Government Hill

News you can eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

According to a coy Instagram post, Deco District snack shop Elotitos is branching out with a second location in Government Hill. The concept, which puts a contemporary spin on local favorites like corn in a cup, was mum about its exact location and opening date. But another East Side business offered a clue. In a separate post, Folklores Coffee House said that Elotitos would be its neighbor, placing the new Elotitos in the shopping center across from Fort Sam Houston.

Local chain Hometown Burger suddenly shuttered all locations on September 11. In a since-deleted social media announcement, the brand said, "It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing the permanent closing of all our Hometown Burger locations," but did not offer the reasoning behind the decision.

Potluck Hospitality is continuing its sleepless September with yet another restaurant debut. After welcoming Carriqui's first guests on September 2 and gearing up to open Ladino on September 19, the group will say hello to Full Goods Diner on September 22.

Other news and notes

The Pearl has announced a busy schedule of programming celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 - October 15. Starting with a huge Viva Dieciséis party, the near-downtown destination will offer deals and pop-ups throughout the month. Among the culinary offerings are a new mezcal margarita at Boiler House, free aguas frescas at Chilaquil, and several menu specials at La Gloria.

UTSA Libraries and online shop Masienda are teaming up for "MASA: Then and Now," a panel discussion featuring MASA: Techniques, Recipes, and Reflections on a Timeless Staple author Jorge Gaviria, Texas Monthly taco editor José Ralat, and Mixtli chef and co-owner Rico Torres. A deep dive into representations of the nixtamalized corn dough, the conversation will also include light bites from Naco Mexican Eatery and a book signing in partnership with Pearl book shop The Twig.

Maverick Texas Brasserie is on the hunt for a new chef after the departure of longtime chef Chris Carlson. According to a press release, the Maverick Restaurant Group will seek to reinvigorate its original casual French inspiration. "We're looking forward to the next generation of energetic and talented leaders in the kitchen and front of the house that can reignite the spirit that Maverick was founded on — making memories and lingering over simple but delicious food and wine," group president Peter Selig said via statement.

Alamo City fave Max & Louie's New York Diner got a shout-out on Yelp's recent "11 of the Most Outrageous Milkshakes" list. The crowd-sourced reviews app wasn't kidding. The BFS ups the ante on chocolate or vanilla shakes with a topsy-turvy pile of French fries, a loaded burger, and a pickle.

Beloved San Antonio burger chain flips into the suburbs with new location

Juicy news

Get your taste buds ready: Burger Boy’s sixth location in the San Antonio area is opening August 31 in Live Oak.

The new restaurant is at 8060 Pat Booker Rd., between Loop 1604 and I-35. It’ll be open 10:30 am-11 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 am-midnight Friday and Saturday. Dine-in and drive-thru options are available.

“We know this restaurant will be a fan favorite – not only because we stay local and true to our original ingredients, but because we’re serving customers that are looking for a hot, old-fashioned Burger Boy close to home. We’re more than happy to do that,” Burger Boy co-owner Bryce Pohlmeier says.

On opening day, the Pat Booker location will give $100 gift cards to the first five customers for dine-in and drive-thru. Free swag and gift cards will be handed out to the next 50 customers.

Burger Boy is known for its burgers, shakes, and crinkle-cut fries. Its signature meal is the Working Man Special, which features a burger, large fries, and a large drink.

The sixth location is the first Burger Boy outside of San Antonio proper. It continues Burger Boy’s expansion plans, which were put in motion five years ago by Pohlmeier, along with the three other co-owners, Rick Molina, Guy Ellison, Tony Salinas. The four men purchased the San Antonio-based brand from Carl Bates in 2017.

7 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Modern Pearl lounge teases new tropical bar

News you can eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

The owners of The Modernist are trumpeting a new project but are so far keeping most details on mute. In a July 31 Instagram post, the bespoke cocktail lounge teased a new concept called La Ruina. The bar will be dedicated to the spirits of tropical America with a focus on rum (the tagline is “ron y mas”). The location, however, remains a mystery. Zillow sleuths were only offered one tantalizing clue — the spot will be “housed in a graceful but well-worn building.”

Japanese chicken spot Krazy Katsu burst into the San Antonio scene with a grand opening on July 30. The fast-casual restaurant, located at 5257 McCullough Ave., specializes in herb-brined and panko-breaded chicken sandwiches slathered with sauces like Bourbon teriyaki, Kewpie mayo, and chipotle ranch. The eatery also nods to its hometown in various offerings, including hibiscus agua fresca, craft beer from local fave Viva Brewery, and a fusion take on chicken on a stick.

Francis Bogside gave an Irish goodbye to Southtown on July 31. According to a media alert, the popular pub will soon move to a new space. The long-running bar has been pouring since 2015, save for a year interrupted by a devastating Halloween 2016 fire. After extensive renovations, it commandeered sibling restaurant Brigid’s space and reopened with a small stage and wraparound bar. There is no word yet on where the bar will start its third act. Details are promised in the upcoming weeks.

It’s out with barbecue, and in with cheesesteaks at Weathered Soul Brewing Co. South BBQ is moving out of the brewery’s kitchen on August 7 to make room for Broadway food truck Eleanor 1909. Owner Brie Morris, a former Food Network stylist who has worked with Bobby Flay, Rocco DiSpirito, and Lorenzo Polegri, will bring some sparkle to traditional pub grub. Highlights include a smash burger with pimento cheese and candied bacon, oxtail queso, and smoked salmon deviled eggs. According to social media, Morris will start serving on August 9.

In another switcheroo, New Braunfels Italian joint 188 South closed its doors July 30 to make way for a second location of San Marcos bistro Cody’s Restaurant. There are no details yet on when Cody’s will start dishing out its upscale fare, but the restaurant has absorbed many of 188’s former staff members.

Other news and notes

River Walk tiki bar Hugman’s Oasis rolled out a new food menu on August 1. Well-known Alamo City chef Teddy Liang has developed five new dishes for the watering hole, including Kalua pork sliders and two flavors of popcorn chicken. The must-order item is sure to be the watermelon coconut bowl — a tropical concoction topped with fruit, ginger, roasted almonds, and chili salt dramatically presented tableside with dry ice.

Tickets are finally on sale for the hotly anticipated Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival on October 27-30. As previously reported, the mega event is a collaboration between the James Beard Foundation, Visit San Antonio, and local food nonprofit Culinaria, featuring a daytime Culinary Market on the San Antonio River and a stellar cast of national and homegrown culinary talent. Snag passes here.

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Legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers heat up San Antonio with 2023 tour stop

one hot minute

One of alternative rock's most legendary acts is headed to San Antonio on their highly anticipated North American tour next year. Red Hot Chili Peppers will play the Alamodome on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

Kicking off in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 29, RHCP will also stop in Houston's Minute Maid Park on Thursday, May 25 to close out the North American leg of the tour before heading to Europe. Effortlessly hip modern rock band The Strokes will support the Chili Peppers on both Texas stops, along with talented bassist-vocalist Thundercat.

Tickets go on sale at 10 am Friday, December 9 online. Other supporting acts along the way include Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, and King Princess.

Touring in support of their two No. 1 studio albums released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, the Chili Peppers have played sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more with notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson.Paak, Beck, and HAIM.

The first rock band in 17 years to score two No. 1 albums in one year, the band has been red-hot on the Billboard charts and at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they received the Global Icon Award and brought the house down with a performance of the No. 1 single “Black Summer,'' which also won the award for Best Rock Video.

Fronted by the impossibly chiseled and ageless (he's 60!) Anthony Kiedis, the Chili Peppers formed in 1983. Unabashedly proud of their LA roots, the band burst onto the scene with early singles such as "Higher Ground" and "Give It Away," both showcases of bassist Flea's slappin', funk-fueled basslines.

Throughout the peak of alternative music in the '90s, the band saw tragedy, personnel changes at guitar, and reinventions — Kiedes' rap-singing, Flea's bass grooves, and singalong choruses all constants over the decades.

While many '90s alt-rock acts fizzled, the Chili Peppers stayed relevant; the band boasts two anthemic singles with more than 1 billion streams — "Californication" and "Under the Bridge" — and more than 25 million followers on Spotify.

Expect this show to be packed with Gen Xers and new fans for what promises to be one hot minute.

Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 tour dates:

  • Wednesday, March 29 – Vancouver – BC Place
  • Saturday, April 1 – Las Vegas – Allegiant Stadium
  • Thursday, April 6 – Fargo, North Dakota – FargoDome
  • Saturday, April 8 – Minneapolis – US Bank Stadium
  • Friday, April 14 – Syracuse, New York – JMA Wireless Dome
  • Friday, May 12 – San Diego – Snap Dragon Stadium
  • Sunday, May 14 – Phoenix – State Farm Stadium
  • Wednesday, May 17 – San Antonio – Alamodome
  • Friday, May 19 – Gulf Shores, Alabama – Hangout Music Festival
  • Thursday, May 25 – Houston – Minute Maid Park

Texas-based 3D printing company tapped by NASA to build on the moon

To infinity and beyond

An Austin-based builder of 3D-printed homes, ICON, is making one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind by signing a $57 million contract with NASA to build on the moon.

According to a release from ICON, the Texas company will soon venture into a new frontier of space dimensions. The contract, announced on November 29, was awarded to the company under NASA's Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program allows ICON to use the $57 million award to build their Olympus system, which adds to previous construction done by both NASA and the Department of Defense for exploration of the moon and beyond.

"ICON’s Olympus system is intended to be a multi-purpose construction system primarily using local lunar and Martian resources as building materials to further the efforts of NASA as well as commercial organizations to establish a sustained lunar presence," the release stated.

The project will work in conjunction with NASA's Artemis program, which launched its first rocket in 50 years on November 15. ICON will work with the program to:

  • Use lunar regolith samples brought back from Apollo missions, in addition to other regolith simulants, to see their mechanical behavior in lunar gravity.
  • Bring advanced hardware and software into space through a lunar gravity simulation flight.
  • Create results to inform future lunar construction approaches for the space community.
  • Establish critical infrastructure necessary for a sustainable lunar economy and habitation.

“The final deliverable of this contract will be humanity’s first construction on another world, and that is going to be a pretty special achievement," said Jason Ballard, ICON co-founder and CEO.

"It's a construction system we call Olympus system that will allow us to use the local materials of the moon to build all the elements of infrastructure necessary for a lunar outpost and ultimately a moon base ... launch and landing pads, roadways, habitats, you name it, all the things on the moon," said Ballard.

He added that they hope to start building on the moon by 2026, starting with a launch and landing pad.

In addition to the grant, ICON was awarded a subcontract in 2021 to support NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate to create the world's first and only simulated 3D-printed Mars surface habitat. Called Mars Dune Alpha, it is located at NASA's Johnson Space Center and is assisting in long-duration science missions.

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Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: New beer garden quietly opens

New You Can Eat

Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings

The owners of Gold Feather have unofficially untapped a new venture, LadyBird Beer Garden. Although official channels are keeping details mum, a Facebook page run by landlords VLA Real Estate spilled the beans on the November 25 opening. In addition to serving craft beer, the concept at 447 W. Hildebrand Ave has a full kitchen, bar, and a small patio for enjoying the mild December weather.

Months after coyly announcing a second location, Elotitos Corn Bar sprouted a new Government Hill location on December 3. The snack shop is well known for its aguas frescas and elotes flights, offering the street food staple in various flavors. The new outpost is open Monday through Saturday, 3-9 pm.

Following the recent San Antonio expansion of Oregon-based Dutch Bros Coffee, another out-of-towner is gaining some local buzz. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, Arkansas franchise 7 Brew Coffee is brewing its first Alamo City location at 4825 Walzem Rd. Barring delays, the project will be completed in May 2023.

Pop-up concept Rose Hip Coffee has found a permanent home at 116 W. Olmos Dr. in Olmos Park. The broadened Rose Hip Market combines caffeine with boutique retail, offering everything from kid's clothes to ready-to-eat sandwiches and salads. The playful equestrian wallpaper might make it a can't-miss selfie spot.

Other news and notes

A new cocktail conference will lift San Antonio's spirits in January. The Culinaria-hosted Third Coast Cocktail Summit will feature seminars, tastings, dinners, and tipsy soirées during its five-day run from January 10-14. All-access passes are now available for $250 for industry and $500 for general admission at the nonprofit's website.

In other booze news, Kinsman's Brandy Alexander Tour is back in full swing for the holiday season. Dorćol Distilling's annual celebration of the famous desert cocktail has drafted 14 spots to offer the renowned desert cocktail this year, including several newcomers like Allora, Bar Loretta, Double Standard, Ladino, and Sojourn Trading Co. A full list of participants can be found here.