Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso

It took a bit longer than expected, but Piatti finally reopened its second San Antonio location at the Èilan Hotel and Spa on July 18. The trattoria had been shuttered since mid-2022 when its California-based parent company decided to give both properties a facelift.

The move comes on the heels of the January reemergence of its Quarry location. Piatti has been a staple of the local restaurant scene since the ‘90s. Though part of a chain, the sibling San Antonio eateries are Texas’ sole locations.

The new space is a warm departure from the industrial trappings of the original design. Gone are the former’s putty walls, reclaimed wood accents, and cast-concrete fixtures, replaced by spring green banquettes and yards of Venetian plaster. Texture envelopes the room, whether from chenille upholstery or the well-worn vintage cooking utensils made into art by Molly West.

As with the Quarry outpost, the La Cantera menu has been modernized, too. Standouts include a lemon ricotta ravioli with sage brown butter; a hand-pressed flatbread with maitake mushrooms and pesto; and pork chop Saltimbocca served with green beans, fontina, and a Marsala sauce.

The beverage program also has new vigor thanks to a revamped wine list and amaro-heavy cocktail offerings. The libations range from a play on the Aperol Spritz with grapefruit bitters to an Italianate riff on the classic Paloma. Craft beer and a selection of zero-proof sippers round off the menu.

Still to come is the weekday aperitivo hour. From 3-6 pm, patrons can live out their White Lotus fantasies via deals on drinks and bar snacks like lumache and cheese, eggplant caponata, and hand-pulled mozzarella arancini.

“We’re very excited to reopen our Eilan location and see our longtime customers again,” said Piatti Culinary Vice President David Kurtz via a release. “We used this time as an opportunity to refine what we do best as well as introduce exciting menu additions and can’t wait for diners to experience this new chapter of Piatti.”

Piatti \u00c8lian Hotel San Antonio

Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso

The new Piatti interior is washed in Venetian plaster.

Photo courtesy of the Westin Riverwalk

Classic River Walk restaurant unveils stunning new revamp


Millions harvested carrots in FarmVille, the Black Eyes Peas turned up every wedding reception, and belts grew in inverse proportion to scarves. Few touchstones from 2009 had staying power. By providing a quiet respite from the rowdy River Walk, Zocca Cuisine D’Italia managed to outlast them all. Still, we can’t begrudge the long-running restaurant for getting a little work done.

After a meticulous renovation, the Westin Riverwalk has unveiled the revamp of its signature restaurant and bar. Dallas-based design firm Waldrop + Nichols drew inspiration from San Antonio and Italy to create a warm, neutral palette accented with metallic flashes and rich textures.

The team opened the space to include a sumptuous lounge outfitted with overstuffed alcove banquettes and chunky contemporary seating. Earth-toned abstract frescos and glistening parabola fixtures lend brio to the otherwise minimalist space.
Naturally, the interior took advantage of the River Walk views just beyond the walls. Retractable windows catch the breeze and allow patio guests a peep into the restaurant.

Not resting on its laurels, the Westin Riverwalk also recently appointed executive chef Ron Mays to reinvigorate the menus. While firmly rooted in Italian cuisine, Mays brings a playful approach to dishes like ossobuco di Agnello, shrimp and polenta, and a tiramisu affogato.

“The opportunity to breathe new life into an iconic establishment such as Zocca is an absolute honor,” said Mays via a release. “I am excited to share a palatable, yet approachable menu made for everyday dining with an elevated experience attached.”

The cocktail menu fits in the same mold. White Lotus habitués will surely find succor in the two Negronis or a tropical take on the Aperol spritz. Guests who have wondered what those imposingly tall bottles of Galliano are used for should check out brunch. A fern bar mainstay, the Harvey Wallbanger, is reinvented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Zocca is now open daily from 6:30 am-10pm on weekdays and 7 am-10 pm on weekends. Bar hours are 11 am-midnight daily. Guests will be serenaded with live music during Sunday brunch from noon-3 pm and Thursday nights 5-6 pm.

“Zocca has an established reputation for creating authentic dishes with a relaxed al fresco Italy-like atmosphere conducive for socializing, relaxing, and connecting,” said Maria Martinez, general manager of the Westin Riverwalk, in a statement. “We’re pleased to revive the vision and spirit of the restaurant, a true River Walk staple, and we’re proud to share this concept with our hotel guests and locals alike.”

Zocca San Antonio

Photo courtesy of the Westin Riverwalk

Zocca's bar plays peekaboo with the River Walk beyond.

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H-E-B soars to No. 2 in Forbes' prestigious list of best employers in Texas, plus more top stories

hot headlines

Editor's note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From animal crossings to page turning, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B soars to No. 2 in Forbes' prestigious list of best employers in Texas. In addition to being based in San Antonio, H-E-B operates more than 300 stores in Texas and employs 154,000 people.

2. Wildlife advocacy tour treks to San Antonio's spectacular land bridge. The land bridge is getting national attention through a promotional road trip meant to highlight the structure's role in protecting local ecosystems.

3. Texas Book Festival releases full lineup of 300 authors, including Roxane Gay and Ali Hazelwood. The weekend will be full of panel discussions, author readings, book signings, and much more.

4. San Antonio foundation pounces on bold program to return ocelots to the wild. Following the proposal, the East Foundation will release ocelots onto a section of its San Antonio Viejo Ranch.

5. Famous furniture store Louis Shanks shutters last remaining San Antonio location. The furniture retailer first opened in 1945, with the San Antonio store opening in 1983.

San Antonio International Airport clears runway for 1st nonstop flight to Europe

booking tix now

Big news for Texas travelers: San Antonio International Airport's first-ever nonstop flights to Europe will begin in 2024.

Passengers can now book tickets via Condor Airlines for flights from San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to Germany's Frankfurt Airport (FRA) between May 17 and September 6, 2024. Flights will initially operate three days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – and flights to Frankfurt are expected to take a little more than 10 hours, while flights coming in from overseas will last about 11.5 hours.

The seasonal service is a "spectacular win" for the city, according to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and could bring in an estimated $34 million annually. The airport has been seeing wins left and right, having just been named one of the nation's least stressful airports, and consistently handling busier and busier days.

"Germany is where San Antonio has the most demand for travel in Europe because of the cultural, historic, tourism, military, and business ties," Mayor Nirenberg said in a news conference on September 21.

San Antonio Airport System Director of Airports Jesus Saenz foreshadows that the SAT-FRA flight is "just the beginning" of possible flight expansions for the airport in the future.

"We fully believe San Antonio will utilize this service to Europe and take advantage of Condor’s extremely competitive airfares," he said. "Once that happens, we anticipate Condor will expand their services even further."

The airline will be using a brand new Airbus A330-900neo aircraft for the nonstop flights, which features 30 business class seats, 64 premium economy seats, and 216 economy seats.

"With our growing fleet of A330neos, we can provide better travel options to more Americans every year," said Condor CEO Ralf Teckentrup said in a release. "I am particularly proud to offer the only nonstop connection from San Antonio, Texas to Frankfurt, Germany – the heart of Europe, where travelers can enjoy the popular touristic sights of Germany or travel beyond conveniently by air, road, or rail. I invite everyone to try out our newest and most luxurious in-flight experience ever."

Monday flights will depart from SAT at 10:05 pm and arrive in Frankfurt at 3:20 pm the following day. Returning flights from FRA on Mondays will depart at 3:40 pm and arrive at SAT at 8:05 pm.

For Wednesday and Friday flights, departures from SAT will take place at 8:25 pm and arrive at FRA at 1:40 pm the next day. Returning flights from FRA will depart at 2:00 pm and arrive at SAT at 6:25 pm.

New honky-tonk surprisingly two-steps into St. Paul's Square


When Steve Mahoney first relaunched Francis Bogside and sibling wine bar, Anne’s, in the former home of Smoke BBQ, rumors circulated on how he would use the expansive upstairs space. Now, San Antonio has its answer. In a surprise move, the veteran bar owner debuted his latest venture — honky-tonk concept Blayne’s — on September 22.

The name pays homage to the late Blayne Tucker, the former co-owner of the Mix and managing partner of Floore’s Country Store. A tireless advocate for the city’s musical scene, he helped usher in the Save Our Stages Act, assisting hundreds of venues to stay afloat nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[Blayne’s] impact in San Antonio is nothing short of extraordinary,” said Mahoney via a release. “We hope to continue his efforts and support live music in the city.”

Fittingly, music will be in the air at Blayne’s, starting with The Babylonz and DJ Guero Vaquero from 5 pm to 2 am on the soft opening night. A large dance floor, pool tables, and bar games complete the honky-tonk vibe.

Like many of Mahoney’s bars, Blayne’s has a solid food program. The Tex-Mex fusion menu features eclectic pub grub like red curry short rib mini tacos, southwest eggrolls, street corn bites, smoked barbacoa pizza, and customizable nachos. The initial press announcement didn’t deeply discuss the drink options but promised margaritas, house cocktails, and beer.

Though no official announcement has been made, Mahoney has another bar up his sleeve. The Francis Bogside website teases the January 2024 opening of Robert’s, named after Mahoney’s late business partner, Robert Darilek. Details, including the location, are slim, but the landing page touts “feature club-style seating, an extensive whiskey list, and a cigar menu.”

Following the September 22 sneak peek, Blayne’s will be open Wednesday through Saturday, 5 pm to 2 am.

Blayne's San Antonio

Photo by TXTroublemaker

Blayne's food menu includes red curry short rib mini tacos.