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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 Pigpen Neighborhood Bar is wiggling its way out of a lengthy Covid closure. The Broadway mainstay took to Facebook on October 24 to announce it had ended its two-year hiatus. The family friendly destination has been on hold since June 2020, when Governor Greg Abbott closed Texas bars a second time in response to the pandemic. Although the post did not elaborate on the prolonged absence, it revealed that it would serve the same menu as before.

Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery also reemerged on October 24 after a brief reset. The Pearl staple shuttered on August 22 to undergo a few improvements. Among them were a few new menu items like stuffed ruby red trout, fried calamari, and classic Southern barbecue shrimp.

A new Peruvian concept has pounced on the former location of Tutti’s: A Place for Foodies in Southtown. Leche de Tigre, at 318 E. Cevallos St., is keeping its opening date mum. Still, diners can water their mouths by perusing an online menu full of cebiches, traditional favorites like lomo saltado, and pisco-based cocktails.

Anticipated arcade bar Be Kind & Rewind is officially pressing play at 115 Alamo Plaza on October 28. Owner Alex Amaro has stripped the former Fuddruckers of its workaday vibes, replacing it with neon and blacklight. Opening weekend will take full advantage of the retro set with an ‘80s night on Friday, a ‘90s/ Y2K party on Saturday, and karaoke on Sunday. Expect at least one version of “I Want it That Way.”

East Side spot Truth Pizzeria has bid arrivederci to San Antonio, according to an October 13 social media post. The small restaurant opened in the heat of the pandemic in June 2020, serving a menu of Neapolitan pies. The message did not offer an explanation for the sudden closure.

In brighter East Side news, trailblazing food truck park the Boardwalk on Bulverde is set to reopen in 2023. The space opened in 2011 as San Antonio’s first food truck park, closing in 2016 so the owners could focus on their Cruising Kitchens business. In a social media post, the team shared that it brought the concept back to address a need for “more impactful community activities.”

The Hill Country will taste la belle vie on November 1 when Bakery Lorraine opens its sixth location in Boerne. Located at 134 Oak Park Dr., the shop will serve the same sandwiches, salads, and pastries as the other outposts. Following the unveiling, guests can get their macaron fix Monday through Thursday from 7 am-6 pm. and Friday through Sunday from 7 am-8 pm.

Ahead of its first anniversary, Bubby’s Jewish Soul Food is getting a facelift. Owners Jason and Charlie Nuttall-Fiske announced the temporary closure on October 25, explaining the move is intended to “amp up [the] Bubby’s experience.” An expanded menu, gussied-up interior, and other improvements will be unveiled at a birthday celebration on November 14.

Photo courtesy of Sweetgreen

7 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Cult-favorite salad chain sprouts in the Quarry

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

Vibey Los Angeles-based salad chain Sweetgreen is digging into the Quarry. In late August, the fast-casual eatery filed its intention to spruce up the former Max’s Wine Dive space at 340 East Basse Rd., #101. Known for its tech prowess and collaborations with celebrity chefs like David Chang, Sweetgreen has rapidly broadened its footprint since 2007. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation project details say the spot will be ready for inspection in April 2023. Company reps did not return a request for comment.

San Antonio’s most lauded barbecue joint is firing up a new location. Another filing with TDLR reveals plans for a 2M Smokehouse at 1303 Lorenzo St. in Castroville. The restaurant, led by two-time James Beard-nominated pitmaster Esaul Ramos, will redevelop the former site of Dan’s Meat Market with a new kitchen addition, pit room, bakery, and outdoor seating. According to records, construction is expected to wrap up on June 30.

Move over, Baldwins. A less controversial quartet of siblings moved into the Omni La Mansión del Rio. Helmed by chef Andres Farias, Four Brothers began serving River Walk revelers on August 15. Replacing former onsite restaurant Las Canarias, the eatery finesses South Texas cuisine with Latin and French influences. Mains include a basil-crusted branzino, St. Louis-style ribs, and showy dry-aged tomahawk with confit potatoes and chimichurri.

Millennials looking to see the real-time financial impact of their latte habit can flock to San Antonio’s first Capital One Café as of August 18. The hustle culture hub, open to the general public, offers self-service banking, coworking space, and conference rooms. Capitol One credit and debit customers receive a half-off discount on drinks at the La Cantera shop.

Plant-based pizzeria Verve Pie is saying “thank you, next” to Cibolo. In an August 25 Instagram post, the restaurant explained it is looking to relocate to San Antonio. Staff shortages have made operations difficult for the last two months. Still, the restaurant wanted to hang on until existing employees could seek re-employment. A location within Alamo City limits will be closer to its customer base.

Other news and notes

Best Quality Daughter is taking a stand for reproductive rights. On September 11, the Pearl eatery will host a benefit dinner pairing chef Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin with Iron Chef personality Mason Hereford of New Orleans’ Turkey and the Wolf. Tickets for Good Trouble in Little China are $150 and will benefit Planned Parenthood South Texas and Lift Louisiana.

The Squeezebox is bringing a little sizzle to the St. Mary’s Strip with its inaugural Fajita Lounge Showdown on September 4. During the event, local chefs Kenny Loo of Golden Kirin Restaurant, Sergio Flores of La Tortuga Cocina Latina, Eddie Barrera of Sijang Korean Corn Dogs, Rory Torres of Crispy Bao Gang, and Steve Lopez will battle for a $500 prize. The $10 cover includes all-you-can-eat tacos and entertainment from The Texases.

Photo courtesy of Nékter Juice Bar

7 things to know in San Antonio food right now: SoCal juice bar squeezes into Alamo Heights

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
A new juice bar will soon bring a taste of Southern California to Alamo Heights. According to a release, Santa Ana-based Nékter Juice Bar will celebrate its grand opening June 25-26 at 5920 Broadway with buy-one, get-one offers on açaí banana berry bowls, superfood smoothies, or juices. Founded in 2010, the company has ridden the plant-based wellness trend to rapid expansion across the United States. The Alamo Heights outpost will be the chain’s first in San Antonio.

Hot on the heels of Double Standard opening in the Rand Building, another tavern concept has blazed into downtown. According to a social media post, Crockett Tavern debuted on June 20 at the Crockett Hotel near the Alamo. True to its historical surrounds, the restaurant is decked out in frontier regalia with brass sculptures from the Kerrville Museum of Western Art. The menu, from chef Justin Ward of the recently closed Glass and Plate, is equally rugged with dishes like beer-battered cactus, calf fries, borracho beans, and cast iron-grilled ribeyes.

After opening stores in New Braunfels and Cibolo, Zaxby’s is now looking to rule the roost in San Antonio. A release states the new location at 11903 Alamo Ranch Parkway will open its doors on June 27, making it the chain's 11th in Texas. The Georgia-based chicken franchise puts its deep fryer to work in various mains and sides, including chicken fingers, white cheddar bites, and fried pickles.

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records have revealed the location of the first Teriyaki Madness in Alamo City. In November 2021, local operator Daniel Gifford spilled the beans on his plans to bring three locations of the rapidly growing chain to the area but did not divulge locations or targeted opening dates. Now, a new state filing places the first outpost at 12822 W. Interstate 10, Suite 206, in the University Heights shopping center. The exact timeframe is still not public, but the project details state that the location will finish renovations of the former Which Wich space by the end of October.

A new food truck is rolling into downtown bar El Camino. Via an Instagram announcement, The Pita Chick announced it will heap on the hummus beginning June 22. The Mediterranean trailer offers falafel and shawarma pita wraps, loaded fries, and various sides.

Other news and notes
Sure, it’s hard to walk six feet in San Antonio without bumping into a margarita, but any city barkeep can attest that locals are just as fond of slamming daqs. Dashi Sichuan Kitchen + Bar is now mixing up a new competition devoted to the beloved cocktail. The Daq-Off, from 7-9 pm on June 26, will pit several area eateries and bars in a battle to determine the best drink. Tickets ranging from $20-$40 are available online.

Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails aims to transport visitors to Spain with its first-ever Paella on the River Walk event on June 30. The $50 general admission pass includes all-you-can-eat paella, a welcome sangria, and a performance from famed flamenco guitarist Randy Cordero. The $100 VIP package includes a gift bag, a reserved table, and the chance to win a luxurious two-night stay at Hotel Contessa.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Celebrity-endorsed Sugar Factory debuts downtown

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

The first San Antonio location of Sugar Factory American Brasserie finally has an opening date. The international brand took to social media to trumpet its June 15 debut at 849 E. Commerce St. #109 in the Shops at Rivercenter mall. As previously reported, the restaurant is an offshoot of the Sugar Factory brand — best known for its rhinestone Couture Pops. In addition to serving confections such as a spiked s’mores milkshake, the brasserie loads the calories with dishes like a Flaming Hot Cheetos burger, beer-battered calamari, and roasted lobster mac ‘n’ cheese.

Downtown nightlife will soon get a jolt of energy. According to an Instagram post, Jessica Marinez and Amber Hernandez are taking over the former site of The Davenport Lounge at 203 N. Presa St. for a brand-new concept. An early victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Davenport shuttered in March 2020 and the building has remained vacant since. The couple, who also own the poppy north central venue Picks Bar, did not divulge details on the new project.

Alejandro Paredes, the owner of Carnitas Lonja and Fish Lonja, is transforming the restaurants’ patio into a new concept. On June 1, the nationally acclaimed chef announced Lonja Square, a new nighttime market devoted to Alamo City’s best street food. The property will be divided into eight spaces with a focus on variety. According to the project’s bio, only one taco vendor will be allowed.

Hip lifestyle shop/ apothecary/ tea bar R+R Collective Co. said hello to Southtown during its grand opening June 3, according to an Instagram Story highlight. The concept comes from the owners of popular online vintage shop Be Kind, Rewind and local wellness brand Relyt. The shop stocks likeminded brands and serves a variety of tea and coffee drinks.

Other news and notes

More than 80 Texas breweries and businesses raised more than $43,000 for the victims of the Uvalde school shooting during a fundraising event at Bandera Brewing on June 4. One-hundred percent of the beer festival’s proceeds were donated to the Robb School Memorial Fund set up by the First State Bank of Uvalde. Those who could not attend the event can still donate here.

Summer favorite San Antonio Burger Week is back June 10-19. The juicy promotion, which benefits San Antonio Food Bank, offers some of San Antonio’s most talked-about burgers for $5-$8. Thirty eateries are participating this year, ranging from fast-casual joints like Burger Boy to upscale destinations like Ocho. See the full list of participants here.

Photo courtesy of Los Patios

New evening farmers market and movie night sprouts on San Antonio's Northeast Side

Family fun

Many locals love perusing through the produce and artisan goods offered at San Antonio’s many farmers markets, but waking up before the last tomato is plucked can sometimes be a dicey proposition. Luckily, an Alamo City development is helping night owls get the worm.

On May 6 from 4-7 pm, dining and retail destination Los Patios will debut its First Friday Night Market with an eclectic group of local vendors including Gardopia Gardens, Special Leaf, San Antonio Microgreens, Alamo City Kettle Corn, and more. Many of the restaurants and shops at the picturesque site will also stay open late to add to the fun.

The event will run concurrent to a sundown screening of animated hit Sing 2 on the property’s lawn. Guests are invited to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy a bounce house and lawn games. Admission is free and food is available for purchase.

For property owners Christine Mayer and Dr. Paul Mayer, both events are a chance to connect with the broader San Antonio community and provide a welcoming space for families. Also the owner of Blue Heron Recovery, Mayer recently revamped Los Patios as a sober campus with popular dry spots Comfort Cafe, Naco Mexican and Olla Express Cafe.

"We're so thrilled about this event - both the movie night and the night market in tandem,” says Christine via release. “It's a great opportunity for families to come out and chill in a safe and relaxing environment, which is part of our health and wellness movement here on property.”

The Mayers are looking to make the night market a monthly tradition. And it will be the start of a busy May: In addition to the Friday festivities on May 6, Los Patios will be the setting of a virtual fundraising event for Blue Heron staged by nonprofit group Chef Cooperatives. Ticketholders for Bringing Back the Garden can pick up chef-curated picnic baskets on May 14, then enjoy an online tour of the grounds on May 17. Tickets and further details are available here.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Famed chef constructs new casa in Southtown

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

San Antonio culinary majordomo Johnny Hernandez is once again in expansion mode with a new restaurant set to open in the spring. The local culinary ambassador is reimagining his former Southtown event space and residence at 411 E. Cevallos St., as Casa Hernán. There’s no word on the menu just yet, but a sneak peek video reveals a colorful Mexican-inspired interior.

An adventurous new concept is docking at 3299 Wurzbach Rd., the former home of Tink-A-Tako. A mixed beverage permit has been filed with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for Viking Tavern, a new bar and restaurant. Unfortunately, the rudimentary landing page reveals little about the joint. Though it does promise an April opening date, it’s unclear how far the owners are taking the Norse theme. Here’s hoping for a hefty mead selection!

Hot off the February opening of Kura Revolving Sushi Bar in the Quarry, another sushi chain is set to make a splash in Alamo City. Trapper’s Sushi Co., a Washington State chain, has filed plans with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for a Far West Side location at 415 Loop 1604. This will be the first Texas outpost for the restaurant known for its enormous selection of fusion rolls.

East Side residents now have a new place for birria. Chef Ernie Bradley of Kuriya and Cherrity Bar is now dipping into the food truck game with La Tienda de Birria, located on the same 929 N. New Braunfels Ave. property as his other concepts. The minimal menu features albóndigas, “quesatacos,” and traditional goat birria Friday and Saturday evenings.

Other news and notes

San Antonio’s wildest food party is roaring into the San Antonio Zoo on May 14. Though the lineup for Zoo-La-La has yet to be announced, the event will include plenty of drinks, bites from more than 40 local restaurants, and live entertainment. The VIP pass includes two private parties, including one inside the hippo viewing area of Africa Live! Tickets, ranging from $85-$150, are available here.

The San Antonio Food Bank will host more than 20 businesses and organizations on March 6 during the second annual Vegan Family Reunion. The free event, hosted by vegan frozen food company Rooted Vegan Cuisine, supports Black-owned businesses, artists, and charities while promoting plant-based eating. Vendors also will help fight food insecurity through special items benefiting the Food Bank.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

San Antonio suburb among the richest places in Texas for 2023, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio suburb cashes in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Alamo Heights has been renamed the third richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

2. San Antonio home sales slowed in December 2022, report finds. San Antonio sold 36,477 homes all year, a 10 percent decrease from 2021.

3. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and more music-centered events made our roundup of the best things to do in Alamo City this weekend.

4. San Antonio Home & Garden Show returns with HGTV star. Ati Williams will headline the San Antonio Spring Home & Garden Show, which takes place February 24-26.

5. H-E-B opens first location in growing San Antonio suburb. The state-of-the-art facility offers 110,000 square feet of floor space, providing everything from cat food to charcuterie.


Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights

OONCE OONCE OONCE

Though Full Goods Diner has barely been open for half a year, it has already become a San Antonio staple for working weekday lunches and lingering Sunday Fundays. Now the Pearl eatery is looking to be a hot spot after dark.

Via release, the popular local haunt just announced a new limited-time music series, Full Goods at Night. Starting on February 2, Full Goods Diner will open select evenings throughout the month.

The Full Goods at Night series will feature popular local San Antonio DJs, including El West Side Sound, Hector Gallego, DJ Plata, Steven Lee Moya, and Cami Gee. Guests can enjoy live sets while indulging in a specially curated food and drink offerings.

The menu will include some of Full Goods Diner's best—selling items, such as French toast sticks, barbacoa waffle fries, and jumbo cheesy tots. Libations like the Attaboy Negroni, Royal Bermuda Daiquiri, Pink G&T, and more will fuel the festivities.

In addition to enjoying moonlight brunch, guests can relish some prime people-watching. And, of course, the restaurant is just a hop from other nightlife destinations like Pink Hill, 3 Star Bar, and Summer Camp Bar, making it the perfect party starter.

The series runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from February 2-25, 6-10 pm. The complete DJ schedule is listed below.

February 2 — El West Side Sound·
February 3 — Hector Gallego
February 4— DJ Plata
February 9 — El West Side Sound
February 10 — Steven Lee Moya
February 11 — Cami Gee
February 16 — El West Side Sound
February 17 — Steven Lee Moya
February 18 — Hector Gallego
February 23 — El West Side Sound
February 24— Steven Lee Moya
February 25 — DJ Plata

4 San Antonio culinary pioneers win $21K from the Texas Food & Wine Alliance

CULINARY INNOVATION

Texas’ skyrocketing culinary scene is about to get a huge boost. The Texas Food & Wine Alliance’s grant program has awarded $107,500 to 19 culinary innovators around the state. This marks the Alliance’s 11th year providing funding to support culinary projects contributing to local communities.

The award winners were announced in a ceremony at Austin's Holdsworth Center on January 21. A private panel of distinguished culinary experts chose the winners out of 40 grant applications this year. Nine winners hail from Austin, three from Dallas-Fort Worth, three from Houston, and four from San Antonio. The awards range from $1,500 to $10,000, with a special $25,000 grant investment from Austin favorite Tito’s Handmade Vodka in honor of the company’s 25th anniversary. Grant funding will support chefs, farms, and culinary education groups, among others.

Out of the four San Antonio area winners, Talking Tree Farm received the most from the grant program, $6,250 to purchase shipping containers for storage and to buy a solar-powered cold room for their harvests. John Marshall High School’s culinary arts program will use their $5,000 grant to establish a morning café. Agricultural project Habitable Spaces and pasture-raised chicken farm Cielito Lindo Farm also won $5,000 each to purchase equipment or build infrastructure to further their endeavors in the culinary space.

Austin-area winners received the most funding from the grant program, totalling $53,750, while San Antonio winners received $21,250 in total. Dallas/Fort Worth winners were awarded $19,750, and the three Houston recipients won $12,750. All of the 2022 winners reflect just how diverse the state's trailblazing culinary scene continues to expand.

“All of this year’s funded projects will further enrich the state through innovation and giveback,” said Erika White, executive director of the Alliance. “We’re extremely grateful to each of the Texas communities, our sponsors and their support in allowing us to reward these mold-breaking projects.”

In Austin, organic farm Trosi Farms was awarded the most funding ($10,000), which will help construct a germination shed for more stable plant start production. Locavore pioneer Boggy Creek Farm won $7,500 in grants to provide ADA-compliant accessibility to their new climate-controlled Tomato House, while Texas’ first organic feed mill, Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & Farm, received $6,250 to help purchase a building to be used as a store for the local community.

The six other Austin area grant recipients, each winning $5,000, include Vista Farms at Vista Brewing, Jamaican family business Tierra Todun ATX, coffee roasters Rising Tide Roast Collaborative, culinary educator Chef Pascal Simon from Bake Austin, East Austin food truck Community Vegan, and Latinx pastry project Comadre Panaderia (who also just earned a James Beard nomination). All winners will be able to use their grants to improve efficiency and expand their businesses, or in Chef Pascal's case, further research and development for her upcoming cookbook for Gen-Z young adults.

After starting the program in Austin, grant co-chair and TFWA past president Cathy Cochran-Lewis says it was the Alliance’s dream to expand the grant statewide.

“We’re so humbled and thrilled to now not only support worthwhile projects across Texas but also to give more than a half million dollars in funding over the last decade to help dreams come true,” she says. “This is a tribute to the culinary talent and the community mindset we are lucky to have in our state.”

The winners in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas include:

For this year's Honorable Mention, the Alliance chose San Antonio eatery Tacos Cucuy, who will soon open a brick-and-mortar space with an expanded menu. Tacos Cucuy are currently looking for support to develop a Tex-Mex charcuterie program called La Cura Carnes Especiales.

More information about the 2022 grants and its recipients can be found on texasfoodandwinealliance.org.