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.


A new River North watering hole made its official debut on March 3. River Sun has been sporadically open for service since November but is now regularly operating Tuesday through Sunday. The psychedelic interior provides a suitable trippy setting for cocktails like Pact of the Forest (using pecan-washed Bourbon), and The River Speaks (a tequila concoction with clarified lime and jalapeño pearls).

Psst! A new brunch spot is bubbling up in Stone Oak. In a social media post, Mimosa Gossip said it was “do days or less” from opening. The concept hasn’t posted any details about the food offerings. Still, it will feature several flavors of its namesake drink and assumably a safe place to shade your second cousin.

Weeks after Palestinian conceptSaha announced a series of pop-ups at Little Death, another concept has begun a residency at the St. Mary’s strip wine bar. Akhany Coffee Roasters will be slinging Thai-inspired coffee drinks Thursday and Friday, 7:30 am-1 pm, and Saturday, 8 am-1:30 am for the “next few weeks,” according to an Instagram post. The business’ original trailer isn’t going anywhere, however, and will still sling caffeine Wednesday to Sunday, 8 am-2 pm.

Other news and notes

Alamo Beer Co. is putting some va-va-voom into its programming with an April 29 party devoted to pinup legend Bettie Page. The event will feature live music from Pavel Demon & the Revenant and Solitary Runaway, a lookalike contest hosted by Taffy Cardenas and Samantha Deathray, and a mini car and bicycle show. Admission is free for the shindig, which runs from 3-10 pm.

Move over Choco Tacos. Taco Cabana has introduced another unlikely dessert treat. Chocolate Chimis will delight local sugar monsters by filling two chocolate chimichangas (natch) with chocolate cream cheese. The treats are available for $2.99 at all locations.


6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Mysterious taco joint unwraps on Northwest Side


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.


It’s a San Antonio taco mystery. A new fast casual joint has popped up at the shopping center on 5238 De Zavala Rd., but so far, its owners are relying heavily on word-of-mouth. Although the bright and modern space obviously cost a pretty penny, neither the website nor the Instagram page list an address for the Street Taco Company. The eatery appears to have opened in early January, serving familiar favorites like bistec, pollo, and pastor with sides like frijoles charros and elote. Everything else is an enigma, including why the logo claims it has been around “since 2007.” Is it a liminal space; is it part of a forgotten subplot of Lost? Taco snoops demand answers.

Other news and notes

Slice, slice bay! All Access Promotions and Entertainment, the folks behind the annual San Antonio's Brunch Festival, are launching San Antonio’s Pizza Festival on October 13. The planners have rented out the Alamo Biscuit Co. shop and parking lot for an event promising to showcase local restaurants and food trucks. Though plans seem to be still nascent, more info can be found on the Facebook event page.

Pop open a cold one between February 24 and March 5. San Antonio Icehouse Week is back to celebrate Alamo City’s open-air beer joints. The owners of the Friendly Spot and Dakota Eastside Icehouse teamed up with the San Antonio Current for the inaugural fest last year as a way to honor South Texas culture and give small businesses a post-pandemic lift. This year, more than 30 watering holes are participating, offering drink specials, giveaways, and a social media scavenger hunt. For a full list of participants, head here.

Alamo Beer Company has scored a wordlie by teaming up with the San Antonio Brahmas. At the team's meet and greet on February 9, the East Side brewery unveiled a new design for the 19.2-ounce Alamo Original Golden Ale featuring Brahma branding and a QR code for tickets. For now, the cans are only available at Alamo’s beer hall and at the Alamodome, but the outfit promises they are heading to liquor and grocery stores soon.

Popular Pearl restaurant Brasserie Mon Chou Chou is inaugurating a new quarterly tasting menu dedicated to offering locals a more luxe dining experience. Beginning March 29, the eatery will offer La Table de Chou Chou, intimate prix-fixe dinners with seating for only 14 guests. The series kicks off with a tribute to the gastronomy of France’s Alsace region, the homeplace of executive chef Laurent Réa. Future dinners will explore other French regions, highlight specific ingredients, or welcome guest chefs. Seats are available for $350 per person (include wine pairings but excluding taxes and tip) and can be reserved by emailing stephanie@southerleigh.com.

Hyatt San Antonio Hotels is making a stand for inclusivity by hosting the Change Starts Here Vendor Showcase on February 22. Between 11 am-4 pm at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk’s Grand Ballroom, the hotel group will spotlight Black and other minority-owned businesses ranging from graphic design firms to wineries. Among the expected vendors are Weathered Souls Brewing, whisky company Uncle Nearest, juice makers Jeany’s Caribbean Elixirs, gluten-free chocolatier Mamma Reign, and more.

Paloma Blanca/ Facebook

13 San Antonio spots shaking up National Margarita Day


It’s a cruel coincidence that National Margarita Day falls on February 22, smack dab in the middle of San Antonio’s second coldest month. But even a winter chill won’t stop locals from enjoying the city’s favorite refresher. From upscale restaurants to dive bars, margs are served everywhere. The only tricky part is knowing who does them best.

The Bar at Mixtli
Everything at this modern Mexican Southtown restaurant is considered, so its no bombshell that its margaritas should follow suit. But the Overproof Spice Margarita really pulls out all the stops, both for its octane and it’s one-two punch of serrano and arbol salt.

El Camino
Although this downtown hangout has a traditional marg for the purists, the vibrant outdoor space calls for something with a little more color. The Mission Rita does just that, adding the crimson zing of prickly pear.

El Mirasol
This long-running Alamo City restaurant is the place to go for those who like a little flavor in their tequila. There’s 17 of them to choose from, ranging from mainstays like blue curaçao and strawberry to surprises like amaretto or apple pucker.

Hands Down
This artsy Southtown bar has been one of the most unanticipated recent additions to Alamo City nightlife, so it’s fitting that its margarita would be just as remarkable. Though based on the classic build, it has a woodsy kick courtesy of palo santo bitters.

La Fonda on Main
La Fonda has been at it since 1932, which has given it more than enough time to get the formula right. Its cucumber jalapeño take is especially zippy when paired with a platter of bacon-wrapped Diablitos.

La Ruina
OK, this rum bar’s El Tamarindo isn’t a margarita per se. But it has tequila, lime juice, and a touch of sweetness from ancho pepper liqueur. We say that’s close enough.

This perennially chic River Walk eatery is a top spot for those who like a little sweetness in their margarita without an instant cavity. Ranch Water — that kissing cousin of the marg — is well represented too, made here with earthy sotol.

Paloma Blanca
Few local libations are as famous as this Alamo Heights favorite’s vivacious ’09. But be warned! Don't expect to get anything else accomplished if you down a couple of these at lunch.

There’s no better excuse to visit Rosario’s new Southtown digs than National Margarita Day. The San Antonio staple has several varieties from a refreshing variety spiked with mint and watermelon to the Cocorita, a frozen marg mixed with a piña colada.

The La Babia margarita at Hotel Emma’s resident bar is as minimal as a Luis Barragan building. Blanco tequila, orange liqueur, and freshly squeezed lime juice slide into a shaker before landing in a turquoise etched glass.

When San Antonians rave about the mythical powers of the chispa, they are probably thinking about this spot. Order them with the traditional tequila or shake things up with mezcal. There’s even a $40 ultra-premium option for impressing the in-laws.

Summer Camp Bar
Have your own wet hot American summer (or winter) at this poppy Grayson Street newcomer. The Hot Pants Margarita is particularly steamy with jalapeños and a spicy rim.

Tony’s Siesta
This neighborhood haunt is celebrating the holiday with a vintage night market — and of course margarita specials. Shop around with a classic mango marg on the rocks or an intriguing mezcal and tequila frozen with hibiscus and cherry.

Double Standard/ Facebook

7 iconic New Orleans cocktails to sip during San Antonio's Mardis Gras

Laissez les bon temps rouler

Sure, you could celebrate Fat Tuesday with a technicolor daiquiri. Plenty of revelers do just that, stumbling around Bourbon Street (or the River Walk) with a topsy-turvy whalebone filled with enough go-go juice to ensure Wednesday morning regret. The hangover will be bad enough without us tauntingly saying, “ya basic.”

Still, we beg you to reconsider: New Orleans cocktail culture is legendary and well-represented throughout the world, including San Antonio — the only other U.S. city to make it past 300 years old while partying so hard. Alamo City is awash in cocktails that the Big Easy made household names. By all means, imbibe (with a rideshare app at the ready); Mardis Gras is only one night. But remember, the most spectacular floats make the parade.

Corpse Reviver at Double Standard
This eye-opener became popular in New Orleans due to the city’s adoration for AM tipples, a propensity that San Antonio shares. Double Standard knows the score. The downtown bar opens at 11:30 am daily and is glad to soothe any throbbing headache with Corpse Reviver No. 2. Pairing London dry gin with absinthe and Cocchi Americano, it’s the only drink that matters after catching too many beads. The extra crispy fries help too.

French 75 at Near Dark
Southtown haunt Near Dark certainly regales in its goth charms — but there is a little bit of NOLA in its ramshackle collection of antique mirrors and checkerboard floors (at least the spookier parts). So it’s a surprise that one of its signature drinks is so effervescent. Invented in Paris and named for a powerful French field gun, the French 75 has long been a staple of New Orleans’ most soigné bars. Though Near Dark doesn’t include NOLA-standard cognac, it does give it the setting the drink deserves.

Hurricane at Southerleigh Haute South
We’ve all seen those lipstick-red concoctions served in a bulbous glass. Thanks to Pat O’Brien’s, the Hurricane is synonymous with the Paris of the South. His version added a little razzle-dazzle via passionfruit to go through less-than-popular rum. Sailors loved them as undoubtedly San Antonio’s service men and women do today when served on draft at one of The Rim’s busiest hot spots.

Mint Julep at Restaurant Claudine
Though this iconic Southern libation is more associated with Kentucky today, it has deep roots in Louisiana. A rum version was popular in the Big Easy in the late 1700s, long before haberdashers proved their mettle during a certain horse race. Restaurant Claudine’s version has the standard Bourbon — Buffalo Trace, to be exact — but it’s just the thing for a weekday bacchanal. Order charbroiled oysters and a mess of cornbread, then sit a spell.

New Orleans Buck at The Bar at Bohanan’s
One of the oldest cocktail categories, the Buck purportedly got its name when whiskey was added to the previously nonalcoholic Horse’s Neck, giving it a “kick.” The New Orleans variation substitutes rum and keeps ginger. Its lively profile makes it the ideal early evening libation, whether downed before a night at a Frenchmen Street jazz club or a show at the Majestic Theatre.

Sazerac at Amor Eterno
According to popular myth, this New Orleans icon was first served in an egg cup, or coquetier in French. The bungled American pronunciation led to the word “cocktail” being coined. That’s hogwash, of course, but it speaks to the drink’s importance in the barkeep’s canon. Amor Eterno features it currently on the classics menu and mixes it with the traditional build. Just the way it should.

Vieux Carre at The Esquire Tavern
This rye-based sipper was created in 1937 by Hotel Monteleone head bartender Walter Bergeron, which makes the Esquire older. Nonetheless, it makes perfect sense for the River Walk mainstay to serve a post-Prohibition classic. Its version nearly mimics the original, only omitting three drops of Peychauds. But let’s not get hung up on bitters when a cocktail has the necessary oomph.

Toro Kitchen + Bar/ Facebook

Bullish hospitality group charges ahead with 4 new San Antonio concepts

By the horns

One of San Antonio’s most successful hospitality groups is charging ahead with ambitious development plans. Gerardo de Anda of Gusto Group USA, the owners of Toro Kitchen + Bar, The Cellar Mixology, and Cuishe Cocina Méxicana, tells CultureMap that company has four new projects in the works and an expansion of one of its most popular concepts.

Toro Kitchen + Bar San Antonio

Gusto Group is expanding its Toro Kitchen + Bar concept.

The first to arrive will be The Bunker Mixology, a subterranean bar located at 229 E. Houston St. #10, the former downtown site of The Last Word and Jet Setter. Arriving in mid-March, the clubby, brick-clad space will greet guests with an imposing blast door before opening to a lounge dotted with contemporary furniture and art.

Though it shares some similarities with the underground Cellar Mixology in St. Paul’s Square, de Anda says it will have a more refined feel.

“Bunker will be more refined with a focus on art and storytelling,” he explains.

Once Bunker gets off the ground, the group will then focus on growing its Toro brand. In late April, the location in Stone Oak will relocate to a new space with private rooms and a more expansive interior and exterior, more details to be announced.

Then, it’s off to 15900 La Cantera Pkwy #22130 in mid-May for a brand-new outpost of the tapas concept. De Anda assures that the new Toro will have the same, seasonally rotating menu as the previous locations.

But it will also arrive with a feather in its cap. While waiting to feast on boquerones and patatas bravas, guests will be able to be able to grab a cocktail at Lounge 43, an intimate upstairs speakeasy.

Still following along? Gusto Group has even more tricks up its sleeves. The hospitality juggernaut is targeting mid-June for two more establishments — this time returning to St. Paul’s Square, the home of the original Cuishe and Toro. De Anda says the group continues to be inspired by the historic district.

“We fell in love with St. Paul Square the first time we toured it, especially the basement,” he says. “We understood it was going to be a challenge, but we ... we believed in its potential and we continue to strive to ensure St. Paul Square is rediscovered by locals and tourists.”

Gusto’s latest foray into the neighborhood comes with retro glamour. Stylus Mixology will be a tribute to the glittery nightlife of the ‘70s. It’s companion concept, Boombox Pizza & Bar, borrows one of the most oft-repeated phrases of the ‘80s — “carpe diem” — as a guiding principle behind its eclectic model.

Naturally, the business will serve pizza by the pie and by the slice. De Anda says the eatery will also incorporate a shop selling vintage clothes, nostalgic merchandise, and vinyl. Its proximity to Vice Coffee should make it an essential spot for local crate diggers.

Once those sibling hangouts opens, one would not fault Gusto Group for collapsing in a heap. But perhaps the company has the indefatigable energy of another late-‘80s icon — Jessie Spano. De Anda hinted that even more news is yet to come.

“We are working low-key — in its very preliminary stages — [to bring] the streets of Japan to San Antonio,” he says.

McIntyre's Southtown/ Facebook

9 San Antonio spots to score big on Super Bowl Sunday

Game plan

Hey, the Cowboys didn’t make it to the end. That’s something San Antonians will have to live with. But chances are, most locals will be watching the Super Bowl on February 12 anyway. The commercials are (mostly) clever. Riri is performing for the first time in years. And, at the very least, it’s an excuse to tackle a mountain of mozzarella sticks. Whatever one’s reason for watching the big game, it’s more fun to watch with a crowd. Let these 10 local spots be your weekend goal.

Backyard on Broadway
This Alamo Heights-area complex is kid-friendly until 9 pm, which should be just enough time to see the last touchdown. It’s pet-friendly, too, in case Rover is a big Eagles fan.

Big’z Burger Joint
This UTSA-area hangout is full of genius ideas for the championship day. For one, the $2 Gatorade shots are a brilliant blend of hydration and intoxication. Have one too many? Soak them up with the All-American burger, a monster half-pound Angus patty topped with a butterflied hot dog.

Charlie Brown’s

With plenty of screens to watch the action and a quiet enough atmosphere to discuss the commercials, this North Side neighborhood haunt is as comfortable as an old jersey. The food wears equally well, especially the pizza and its killer rib eye deal.

The Friendly Spot
No, the name wasn’t plucked out of a hat. This rambling bar really is one of the most sociable spots in town. Keep the camaraderie going with hundreds of craft brews and shareable snacks like Buffalo chicken jalapeño poppers and fried cheese curds. Then, settle in to watch the big game on a giant inflatable screen.

The Hangar
Not a huge football fan? This Broadway strip bar has plenty of games to keep fair-weather fans busy until halftime. The menu is mainly fried, but there’s no sport in salads. Munch on the celery served with a dozen wings for a bit of roughage.

Lucy Cooper’s Ice House
No food pairs with football better than wings, so here’s the Sunday game plan. Head to this North Side icehouse and pony up $49.99 for 40 cluckers. Choose up to four sauces and wash it down with a $12 beer bucket. Way to be on the ball!

Get cracking to this luxe Southtown sports bar, and you might go home $1,000 richer. Still, football squares isn’t the only game available. Cravorites will be dishing out crawfish from 2-6 pm, and the bar will be cranking out $20 mimosa carafes and domestic beer buckets until 8 pm. The big game, of course, will be broadcast from multiple flatscreens.

Picks Bar
This North San Antonio hot spot is staging a drag brunch and a Super Bowl watch party on the same day, which is reason enough to visit. It also has a sturdy cocktail program (both boozy and zero-proof) for those who punt on the usual longnecks.

Tony’s Siesta
There are Chiefs fans, there are Eagles fans, then there is the Rihanna Navy. The latter will be at Tony’s Siesta for a Gay-lentines bash featuring themed cocktails, bubbles, a food pop-up, a DJ, and the most important concert of the year. Score!

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Bask in local artistry with the inaugural San Marcos Studio Tour in April


A new way to interact with local Central Texas artists is debuting at the end of March. The inaugural, self-guided San Marcos Studio Tour will feature more than 50 artists all across San Marcos and the surrounding area.

The tour will be led by women-owned and operated MotherShip Studios, an up and coming studio and gallery located between San Marcos and Martindale. MotherShip aims to facilitate community development by providing an affordable, welcoming studio space for local artists.

A special event will kick off the tour on the evening of March 31 at the MotherShip warehouse. The evening celebration will feature a group exhibition, live music, a giveaway, an artistic demonstration, and more. Attendees can also try one of the specially crafted complimentary drinks by local breweries such as Middleton Brewing, Still Austin Whiskey, and Austin Beer Works, who are sponsoring the event.

The studio tour will take place the weekend of April 1-2. Tour maps will be provided with numbers assigned to each artist’s studio, and signs will be posted to help tour-goers find their way around. During the weekend, visitors can also check out different group showcases at the warehouse in between their studio stops. While at the warehouse, they can also browse a catalog by the tour’s artists that will be available for purchase.

One of the goals of the tour is to showcase the “raw spaces” each local artist creates their work in, according to a press release. From their paint-splattered or photo-covered walls, these creative environments are where an artist feels most comfortable to create their work.

The San Marcos Studio Tour is free and open to the public. The tour’s kick off event will begin at 7 pm on March 31, and the self-guided tour will take place from 12 to 6 pm on April 1-2.

More information about the tour can be found on MotherShip Studio’s website.

Own a piece of Utopia with this Hill Country riverfront retreat listed for $2.5M


Have you ever wanted to buy a retreat or say you own a slice of Utopia? Now’s your chance – the Utopia River Retreat, a remarkable 12-acre property on the Sabinal River in Utopia, Texas has hit the market for $2.5 million.

The secluded, tree-filled, riverfront estate boasts nine guest cabins and "the Fortress," a historic lodge that can sleep 12 guests.

Each cabin has its own full kitchen, living space, and covered porch. Three cabins have two bedrooms that can host up to six guests, and six cabins are single-bedroom that can sleep up to four guests.

The property has been a sought-after wedding destination since the first wedding ceremony took place there in 1861. The only structure on the land at the time was a stone fort, which has since been converted into the Fortress.

Other features of the Fortress include:

  • Two master suites
  • Three semi-private lofts
  • A full kitchen
  • Fireplace
  • Wrap-around porch
  • Original stonework on display

Another highlighted feature of the property is the renovated hay barn. The previous owners turned it into a bespoke event space with an open floor plan, wood beam ceilings, a stone fireplace, and attached deck. Also around the barn is a large green space and a covered gazebo with a breathtaking view of the Sabinal river.

The Utopia River Retreat sale is facilitated by Chad Foster, the founder and broker of Uvalde-based real estate group Foster Farm and Ranch.

“With its current amenities and space for expansion, Utopia River Retreat provides potential buyers with a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Foster in a press release. “The event space, cabins, and renovated fort make Utopia River Retreat a great addition to any real estate portfolio.”

As investors are snatching up properties left and right for the next wedding venue or event space, the Utopia River Retreat is touted as the next hidden gem in a booming wedding industry. The Knot estimates a Texas couple’s average wedding budget is between $24,000 and $30,000. Texas couples are also more likely to put 30 percent of their wedding budget towards a perfect venue for their special day.

Even outside of wedding season, the estate can host family vacations, reunions, and corporate retreats, and more.

The town of Utopia is located 90 miles west of San Antonio and 350 miles southwest of Dallas.

More information about the property can be found at the Utopia River Retreat website, and more information about the listing can be found at Foster Farm and Ranch’s website.

New clinical trial for lumbar spinal surgery begins in San Antonio


A new clinical trial is underway for an alternative method to lumbar spinal fusion surgery. Orthopedic medical center Ortho San Antonio and orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Anton Jorgensen announced the BalancedBack Total Joint Replacement trial using a “first-of-its-kind” technology called the 3Spine MOTUS device.

3Spine is a healthcare company focused on integrating development, research, and execution of lower back total joint replacement. The combination of the 3Spine procedure and the MOTUS device aim to address leg pain, back pain, and spinal instability. The surgery implements reconstruction of the functional spinal unit to treat degenerative disease.

Dr. Jorgensen was trained by fellow orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Hodges, the co-founder and medical director of 3Spine. Dr. Jorgensen said in a press release that he is proud to be the first Texas surgeon to participate in an important clinical trial of this type. He encouraged the community to keep in mind the challenges that come with spinal fusion surgery while searching for “new and innovative solutions to improve patient care.”

“This is something new I had to learn and practice, but I am convinced that MOTUS has the potential to fundamentally change the way I treat degenerative lumbar disease,” he said.

The first surgeries in the trial were completed at the Foundation Surgical Hospital of San Antonio. 3Spine Inc. is seeking certain patients with single-level lumbar spine disease and lumbar degeneration to participate in the study. Patients interested in the clinical trial in San Antonio can email brouk.gebreab@christushealth.org for more information.