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 weekly roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

Near-downtown seafood joint Señor Fish has abruptly shuttered after a little more than two years in business. Though the owners did not issue an official statement, the concept’s Facebook and Instagram profiles have been deleted, and the Google Business profile lists it as permanently closed. Signage for a new concept called Ay Caramba has popped up at the 1915 Broadway address with an Instagram account promising an imminent opening.

Farther into the city core, Broadway Delicatessen has also hung up its apron. According to a Facebook post, the spot will stay open until the first week of September or until supplies run out. The owners did not share the reason behind the decision.

Spine-tingling caffeine slingers Gravves Coffee have revealed the opening date for a brick-and-mortar. The new shop will first welcome guests at 2106 McCullough Ave. on September 2 — just in time for spooky season. Vampires should beware, however. Currently, the business is only advertising daytime hours between 8 am and 2 pm.

Recent Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation filings are abuzz with restaurant expansion news. First up is local mini-chainStout House. The sudsy concept will soon begin construction on its fifth location at La Picosa at Brook’s City Base. According to records, the outpost will debut with two patios when construction wraps up in June 2024.

Instant Donuts is expecting a third addition to the family. The business, surely the subject of many Homer Simpson daydreams, filed paperwork for a new location at 14124 Culebra Rd #116. The build is set to be completed by December.

Other news and notes

The newly spiffed-up San Antonio locations of Piatti have introduced brunch. On Saturdays and Sundays starting September 2, guests can day drink between 10 am and 3 pm. The menu includes lemon ricotta pancakes, poached eggs on polenta, and boozy temptations like a limoncello bellini.

Photo courtesy of Carpenter Carpenter Hospitality

Hotly anticipated San Antonio sushi restaurant finally sets opening date


In 2020, Houston and Emily Carpenter transformed San Antonio’s dining scene with Little Em's Oyster Bar, a stylish ode to coastal cuisine in Southtown. Since then, they have opened four more concepts in a rapid clip ranging from a swanky Southern showpiece to a casual fish market.

With two young children at home and yet another restaurant on the way, one couldn’t blame them for taking a Rip Van Winkle slumber.

First, however, they will have to get to the home stretch of opening the feverishly anticipated Nineteen Hyaku in the new Jefferson Building at 1900 Broadway. Houston shares with CultureMap that the sushiya is gearing up for a September 27 debut.

Unlike many of the casual joints in Alamo City’s sushi scene, Nineteen Hyaku will be a luxury experience. In contrast to the maximalist tendencies of Carpenter Carpenter Hospitality’s previous ventures, the interior quietly celebrates materials. Architect Javier D. Alonso and interior designer Alegra Volpe greet guests with an expanse of Carrara marble and warm slatted wood walls.

The modernism continues to the plate with a large nigiri selection supplemented with rolls, tempura, Wagyu beef, and duck karaage. Robatayaki, a tableside grilled cooking method, will be available — as will be a coursed omakase option.

“Similar to our other concepts, we felt there was a need for it,” Houston explains of the concept. “Sushi in a beautiful space with unparalleled hospitality, San Antonio deserves it.”

Chef de cuisine Ruben Pantaleon will run the kitchen, drawing on his experience as the “tamago kid” at chains like Nobu and Roka Akor. General manager Brenda Carielo, an alum of Austin’s ELM Restaurant Group and MML Hospitality, will oversee the front-of-house.

Houston credits such pros with helping him juggle a busy home life and budding restaurant empire.

“It’s all about having a strong team, which we do,” he says. “They execute day-in, day-out, allowing us to grow the business and our family.”

Though Nineteen Hyaku is the last opening on the horizon, don’t expect the Carpenters to indulge in that long-awaited break. Houston hints that the portfolio may have room to grow.

“Not sure about rest, but we are definitely going to take the time to fine tune and build upon the foundations we have,” he says. “Stay tuned though!”

\u200bNineteen Hyaku San Antonio

Photo courtesy of Carpenter Carpenter Hospitality

Nineteen Hyaku's menu will focus on modern Japanese cuisine.


7 can't-miss meals to reserve during this summer's San Antonio Restaurant Weeks


It’s inevitable. Every San Antonio restaurant experiences a seasonal slump when locals spend long weekends tubing, watching double matinees in the theater, or otherwise avoiding melting like the villains of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Filling seats when everything is sticky is no easy task.

But almost 15 years ago, Culinaria had a lightbulb moment. What if you coax folks away from swimming pools with something impossible to resist: bargains on some of the best eating in town? It was a natural fit for a nonprofit promoting San Antonio as a food destination.

Now, the two annual editions of Restaurant Weeks are a tradition for local diners looking to strike a few eateries off their ever-growing list. From August 12-26, guests can enjoy prix fixe deals on brunch, lunch, and dinner ranging from $20-$55. The only hard part is figuring out where to make reservations.

Since it’s too darn hot to sweat over making decisions, we’ve made it easy. Break out the linen and stop by one of these seven can’t-miss spots. Then keep checking the Culinaria website for menu updates.

One of the biggest bargains during Restaurant Weeks, this Pearl district beauty is offering a $55 four-course dinner starting with crowd-pleasing openers like olive-brined octopus and chicken liver mousse. The mains will satisfy both seafarers and landlubbers. Choose from sautéed flounder, PEI mussels, roasted pork line, or balsamic-glazed chicken. A $25 three-course brunch is available too for a repeat visit on Sunday Funday.

Damien and Lisa Watel’s French brasserie has long been a favorite for unfussy but elegant dining. This summer’s Culinaria offering is no different, serving up hits like soupe de poisson (a rich fish-based broth) and skate wing and frites for $45. Dessert is a particular indulgence with a choice of chocolate mousse or a luscious crepe a l’orange.

Box Street Social
A few words of advice. Book a reservation at Box Street Social now. The dreaded heat bubble seemingly isn’t diminishing the Hemisfair hot spot's popularity one bit. Once the seating is secured, daydream about which $25 main will make the ultimate cut. The strawberry cheesecake French toast, topped with Graham cracker streusel and meringue, is particularly enticing.

Colette at the Phipps
We have so many questions about the standing tuna sandwich, one of the offerings for this newcomer’s $55 dinner. Google’s image search provided a half dozen whimsical examples, some defying the laws of physics. That’s reason enough to make Colette a Restaurant Weeks stop. A refreshing lemon posset dessert is just the cherry on top.

Go Fish Market

Play hooky and spend an afternoon nibbling on a $35 feast that starts with everyone’s favorite hot weather nosh, charcuterie. From there, guests can enjoy anchovy skewers, calamari and peppers, or fried fish. A bottle of crisp rosé is practically mandatory.

La Frite Belgian Bistro
La Frite, c’est chic! Live la vie boheme with this charming Southtown bistro’s $35 dinner. For the starter, the mussels are a must and are available in three mouthwatering varieties. The entrée is equally tempting. Opt for flaky rainbow trout or curry lamb shank.

Outlaw Kitchens
Vegetarians will relish this Alta Vista spot’s $45 menu, which switches up in the middle of Restaurant Weeks. From August 17-19, guests can enjoy rigatoni Bolognese loaded with mushrooms, lentils, and aromatic sofrito. Then, they can return August 24-26 for a 100-layer lasagna stuffed with fresh tomato, zucchini, eggplant, and bechamel. Meatier options are available on both weekends.

Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine
Locals need little excuse to stop by this Alamo Heights favorite for lunch. For one, the famously punchy ’09 margarita has been starting parties for generations. Order two, then an Uber, and gird the stomach with a $20 lunch consisting of dishes like ceviche, pollo en salsa verde, and vanilla tres leches cake.

Rendering courtesy of White Lodging

First San Antonio Kimpton hotel unveils over-the-top bar and restaurant concepts


In building construction, topping out is a huge thing. The tradition marking the laying of the highest beam on a structure has a long history of rites from chugging beer to placing a tree atop the roofline. Forest-dwelling spirits, after all, are in constant need of appeasement.

Now that San Antonio's first Kimpton Hotel has hit that all-important milestone, it has chosen to appease a different crowd — the public busybodies thirsting for more information. When the 423 S. Alamo property broke ground in October 2022, developer White Lodging offered scant details. Now, it's leaking details on the hotel's four upcoming concepts.

The marquee space will be an upscale steakhouse settling into the main building of a repurposed 18th-century German-English schoolhouse. Additional historic structures will be used for eight tony guest suites and a shaded courtyard cocktail bar.

More booze will come from another bar focused on whiskey. A rooftop bar, a modern must for any high-end hotel, completes the nightlife picture. Menu details have been promised closer to the opening date.

In addition to the bustling hospitality program, Kimpton will offer plenty of amenities for guests. CultureMap previously reported that the sleek new structure will feature a rooftop pool and more than 11,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space.

With its prime positioning, the hotel will be convenient to some of San Antonio's most popular sites, including the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, River Walk, Alamo Plaza, King William District, La Villita, and Hemisfair.

"This is a pivotal moment not only for Kimpton San Antonio, but the surrounding community," said White Lodging Chief Executive Officer Jean-Luc Barone in a statement. "Together with other surrounding developments, we are creating a new destination district by solidifying the connection from downtown to Southtown."

Kimpton San Antonio

Rendering courtesy of White Lodging

The Kimpton plans include a stunning rooftop lounge.

Krazy Katsu/ Facebook

6 things to know about San Antonio food right now: Fried chicken truck nests in Medical Center


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 weekly roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

One of this year's nominees for our Tastemaker Award for Best New Restaurant is experiencing a growing spurt. Via social media, food truck Krazy Katsu shared it was making the leap to brick-and-mortar with a Medical Center shop. Although it did not divulge the address of the upcoming joint, a video in the carousel revealed the location as the former Project Pollo space at 9390 Huebner Road. Owners Jessica and Phillip Gonyea expect to open around the end of August.

A Tex-Mex legacy has been cut short. In a short social media post, Cha-Cha's New Gen Café announced its immediate closure. The restaurant was a vegetarian-friendly rebirth of one of San Antonio's classics. Four years after founders Margarita and Ricardo Ruiz shuttered their Bandera Road staple, daughter Bania Ruiz revived the concept at a new location, combining new plant-based offerings with her parent's traditional fare.

The relentless cheeriness of most of San Antonio's caffeine scene will soon be countered with a brick-and-mortar version of St. Mary's Strip truck Gravves Coffee. Mauricio Cruz and Daniel Contreras created the brand in 2018 before going mobile in 2021 with their unique menu of Goosebumps-hued elixirs. Fittingly opaque, the proprietors kept mum on the location and opening date. A request for comment via Ouija board went unreturned.

Hip-hop bake shop Cookie Plug is adding a new location to its San Antonio roster. The franchise — known for its graffitied aesthetic and "thicc" cake-like treats — opened its first area store at 3830 N. Loop 1604 E. #103 on April 15. Now it's set to cater to tourists downtown. A sign has popped up at 507 E Houston St. #105 advertising the upcoming outpost, confirmed by the chain's website. With Voodoo Doughnut still drawing crowds, the downtown corridor is set to be the city's corridor of both culture and cavities.

East will meet west as San Marcos gains its first location of Kikko Ramen & Poke in 2024 — never mind that the "east" is Beaumont. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, the restaurant is moving into 403 N Guadalupe St. near Texas State University. The buildout is expected to be completed by the end of April 2024, just in time for finals.

Other news and notes

Stone Oak seafood spot Arenas Marisqueria and Lounge has plunged into lunch service. The entrees — all priced at a modest $10.99 — include a shrimp chile relleno, mole enchiladas, and deep-fried tilapia.

Photo courtesy of City of San Antonio

City drops jam-packed summer schedule of downtown family fun in San Antonio


For parents, it’s an eternal struggle. Though they look forward to giving their kids a well-deserved break from the academic wind, the energetic flock also needs things to do during the long summer days. Luckily, the City of San Antonio has locals covered with a packed schedule at downtown Travis Park, La Villita, and Market Square.

The affordable family activities start with the ever-popular Movies by Moonlight at Travis Park. Every Tuesday in both months (with a break on July 4), guests can enjoy nostalgic favorites like Cool Runnings, The Karate Kid, and A League of Their Own. A full schedule can be found here.

Over at La Villita, the Alamo Kiwanis are bringing back Fiesta Noche del Rio, a series of cultural performances at the Arneson River Theatre held every Friday and Saturday from June 10 through August 6. Tickets for the dancing spectacular are available online for $8-$20 or can be picked up at any local H-E-B with a business center.

June will also find weekend happenings at Market Square. A rotating assortment of live entertainment will delight visitors every Friday and Saturday from 10 am-6 pm. The attractions will include music, working artists, and, of course, food booths.

Speaking of food, vendors will be popping up downtown throughout the summer. On the second Thursday of every month, guests can marvel at La Villita’s architecture while noshing on favorites from La Villita Cafe and Guadalajara Grill. Guests will also want to check out Lunch Break on Houston Street. On the first and third Thursday of every month, food trucks will park outside the Majestic Theatre with special musical guests.

In case folks are worried about that frequent bugbear — downtown parking — the city has a webpage with an interactive map. San Antonio also offers free parking downtown on Tuesdays from 5 pm-2 am in city-owned parking facilities, and the City Tower Garage provides free parking on Sundays from 7 am-midnight at 117 W. Commerce.

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Online home searching platform Compass buys top San Antonio-based brokerage

real estate news

National residential real estate agency Compass has acquired Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio, in a move that will expand its position as the leading national firm and its growth in Texas by more than 600 agents.

Although the sale price was not disclosed in Compass' announcement, the local brokerages completed $5.24 billion sales just in 2022 alone.

Compass added that the Austin and San Antonio leadership will have direct oversight of daily operations as part of the terms of the acquisition. Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio co-founder Yvette Flores maintains that she and her leadership team will strive for a "seamless transition" into the national firm that respects the home-grown culture they have created.

Realty Austin was founded in 2004 by Flores and Jonathan Boatwright, and has grown through the years to become one of the most innovative brokerages in Central Texas and beyond. The company expanded its operations to San Antonio in 2021.

Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio CEO Gabe Richter said in the release that Compass' leading-edge technology will help his agents foster greater successes, particularly in one blossoming San Antonio category: luxury real estate.

"Our agents have consistently set records with remarkable achievements," Richter said in the release. "Now, by aligning with Compass, they gain access to a transformative technology platform that enhances efficiency and elevated resources that empower them to secure even more luxury listings."

Compass was founded in 2012 as the largest real estate brokerage in the U.S., and preserves its stronghold as the No. 1 brokerage in Texas thanks to its milestone acquisition. The national brokerage has already surpassed $10 billion in sales in Texas in 2023, according to the release.

“With this acquisition, we've positioned ourselves as Austin's leading brokerage — our commitment to setting new standards and inspiring innovation for all our exceptional agents remains the top priority while honoring what Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio has built," said Compass Texas President Rachel Hocevar.

Fantastic visuals and original story make The Creator a must-see sci-fi film

Movie Review

In the relatively risk-averse world that is modern Hollywood, getting an original story is a rarity. The vast majority of potentially blockbuster movies these days are ones that have a connection to some kind of existing intellectual property that already has a well-established track record. So anytime something interesting arrives that’s not a sequel/reboot/remake/commercial for a product, it deserves to be celebrated.

And that goes double when it’s done as well as the new sci-fi film, The Creator. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world in 2065, 30 years after a sentient artificial intelligence detonated a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. Joshua (John David Washington) is an American soldier who for years worked undercover alongside A.I.-enhanced robots, many of which are fitted with clones of human faces, to try to find their reclusive leader, Nirmata, in a part of the world now called New Asia.

A personal tragedy sends him into exile, but he’s recruited back into service by Colonel Howell (Allison Janney) to seek out and destroy a weapon that may turn the tide in the war for good. Turns out the weapon is a robot in the form of a child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), and when Joshua discovers that fact, he finds it impossible to carry out the mission. Instead, he does everything he can to protect the girl he calls Alphie, with the military hot on his tail all the while.

Written and directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) and co-written by Chris Weitz, the film is astonishing in a number of ways, but mostly for its ability to draw the viewer in visually. The CGI is amazingly believable, making it easy to immerse yourself in the storytelling. From a foreboding super-weapon in the sky called NOMAD to the futuristic landscapes to the whirring metal cylinders that appear to be the brains of the robots, the film is full of fantastic details that make it a feast for the eyes.

The concept of A.I. is increasingly being used as a storytelling tool, and here the filmmakers seem to try to play both sides of the fence. Many people in the film fear its capabilities, especially given the nuclear event. But by literally putting human faces on many of the robots, it becomes more difficult to see them as pure evil, a dilemma that’s at the core of the problem for both Joshua and the audience.

Washington, who’s fast becoming as reliably good as his father, Denzel, is the star of the film, and he does a great job in that role. But stealing the show every second she’s on screen is Voyles, who delivers a debut performance the likes of which hasn’t been seen in many years. She is utterly convincing and heartbreaking as Alphie; while the story may have worked with a lesser actor, she helps take it to completely different level.

Also putting in great work are Janney, who proves herself as badass and fearsome a military leader as any man; Mark Menchaca as her No. 2; Ken Watanabe as an A.I. robot; singer-turned-actor Sturgill Simpson as a friend of Joshua; and Gemma Chan, redeeming herself after the misfire of Eternals.

John David Washington in The Creator
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

John David Washington in The Creator.

The Creator could’ve earned praise simply by giving us an original sci-fi story. But by accompanying it with awe-inspiring imagery and performances that elevate the story immeasurably, Edwards and his team have made a film that will likely be remembered for years to come.


The Creator opens in theaters on September 29.

Nola breaks new ground and a Hill Country eatery heads to City Hall in San Antonio food news


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 weekly roundup of essential food news.


The long lines at Nola Brunch & Beignets may soon double. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Records, the brunch behemoth is opening a location at 1101 Broadway. The restaurant did not return a request for comment by publication time, but Nola executive chef Melissa Villanueva is listed as the tenant. It's unclear if this is a relocation or a second outpost, but the project is set to wrap up in March 2024. CultureMap will update as we hear more information.

New Braunfels will have a new dining destination when an ambitious redevelopment is completed. According to state filings, Wiggins Hospitality Group — the folks behind McAdoo's Seafood Co. — will renovate the town's former City Hall into a mixed-use building incorporating offices on the ground floor. New Braunfels Historic Landmark Commission records give more details about the unnamed eatery, including plans for a bar and courtyard. Construction is set to wrap up in May 2024.

Other news and notes

San Antonio standout The Jerk Shack will be featured in a new book from national food site Eater. The restaurant — an Eater darling since being named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Hillary Dixler Canavan in 2029 — appropriately contributed a chicken dish.

Favor gave some insight into San Antonio's ordering habits via its first-ever dining report, released September 19. Alamo City requested more orders for barbecue than any other city in the state but surprisingly fell behind Austin in overall taco orders. The delivery app also shared a few tidbits about how San Antonians customize their meals. Locals favor lean brisket, flour tortillas, chorizo, and — controversially — chili with beans. Read all the findings at favordelivery.com.

Not content at only being a Food Network personality, chef Braunda Smith is now set to break the internet. The owner of Lucy Cooper's Ice House will soon be featured on the popular web series America's Best Restaurants. The restaurant confirmed the filming via a Facebook post but did not share when the segment will be aired.