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

After installing tons of wood paneling, locals Phil and Gina Bentley have transformed the former home of Picante Grill at 3810 Broadway into an intimate Emerald Isle hideaway. The Cottage Irish Pub debuted on September 23 after months of construction. Although the space is traditional, the kitchen serves a few unconventional dishes. Expect to see Ruben eggrolls, veggie paninis, and fish tacos alongside more standard fare like fish ‘n’ chips and beef stew. On tap are favorites like Guinness and Harp, and the well features an enviable selection of whisky.

Celebrity chef Johnny Hernandez celebrated the long-awaited opening of the fifth La Gloria location on September 27. The fifth location for the Interior Mexican chain, the Brooks outpost will be only open for dinner as it irons out the kinks. According to an Instagram post from Hernandez, lunch service will begin in approximately two weeks.

Recovery-minded eatery Comfort Café is now serving downtown via a food truck in the Heidgen House courtyard at 121 Starr St. Introducing itself with a soft opening on September 27, the trailer dishes up familiar fare like pancakes, chicken and waffles, and grilled cheese sandwiches. As with the other locations, the truck follows a pay-what-you-can model and benefits sobriety nonprofit Serenity Star.

More mobile munchies can be found on the South Side, where food truck park Rancho 181 celebrated its grand opening on September 17. Though the family-friendly space has not announced any permanent food vendors, it is already hosting live music performances and other community events.

Other news and notes

Prolific local bar owner Jeret Peña is taking on Alamo heights mainstay Broadway 5050 as his next venture. In a partnership with owner PJ Gottsacker, Peña will be revitalizing the food and beverage menus to breathe new life into the concept­ — a San Antonio institution since 1935.

Joel Rivas, head of the Saint City Culinary Foundation, has been named one of Bon Appetit’s "Heads of the Table" for 2022. The annual listings, which honor personalities that make the food scene more inclusive and uplifting, zeroes in on Rivas’ work with Heard, a mental health nonprofit targeting the service industry.

Courtesy of Camp Margaritaville

Camp Margaritaville RV resort revs up at Texas' Crystal Beach

Wastin' away

An RV resort near Galveston Island is getting a major upgrade. After a comprehensive series of renovations, the property currently known as Bolivar Beach Club & RV Resort will become Camp Margaritaville RV Resort Crystal Beach.

Located on Bolivar Peninsula, the 150-acre property features ocean views and over 200 RV parking spots. The facility also features a concert venue, "Texas-sized" pool with swim-up bar pool-side cabanas, and a turf playing field. Upgrades will include the addition of the Fins Bar & Grill restaurant and a bar called License to Chill.

RV drivers will find amenities such as electric, water, and sewer hookups; complimentary Wi-Fi; dog parks; a gym; and facilities for showering and doing laundry. The location gives visitors proximity to 27 miles of beaches along the peninsula.

"We’ve seen incredible success and excitement around our existing Camp Margaritaville RV Resort locations and are thrilled to expand our presence in the state of Texas,” Margaritaville COO Brad Schwaeble said in a statement. “As more and more people are finding new ways to travel and explore, Camp Margaritaville Crystal Beach will provide everything needed for a getaway for all ages.”

Camp Margaritaville joins the company's existing Margaritaville Lake Resort in Lake Conroe, Texas. Opened in the summer of 2020, it features 335 suites, an 18-hole golf course, a three-acre waterpark with a lazy river and outdoor pools, and more.

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.

Rendering by John T. Campo, courtesy of AC by Marriott

Stunning River Walk property books opening date for first of 2 new hotels

River Walk Lodging

San Antonio is set to welcome a stunning new River Walk property this fall, and it's a two-for-one. In a press release on Monday, September 12, Winston Hotels LLC announced a slated opening date of October 6 for AC by Marriott and, later this year, Element by Westin.

Previously a mixed-use office space at 111 Soledad St., the property will become fully renovated, upscale home for the two hotels, as well as a new rooftop bar and lounge, 1 Watson. Overlooking the River Walk and across the street from Main Plaza and the San Fernando Cathedral, the hotels are walking distance to some of Alamo City's best downtown attractions.

While Element by Westin and 1 Watson are slated for later this year, AC by Marriott is set to open its doors within a matter of weeks. Featuring 181 rooms and occupying floors 13-20 of the building, the AC hotel will offer stunning views of the River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Hemisfair Park, and the Texas Hill Country.

“We are eager to open the doors of this modern, design driven hotel,” said Michael Dunbar, Marriott AC and Element by Westin General Manager, in the release. “Perfectly poised in downtown San Antonio, AC by Marriott will present business and leisure travelers with a new and enticing place of stay.”

A full-service bar in the first floor lobby will feature soaring, double-height ceilings; expansive wrap-around windows; and custom overhead lighting. Contemporary finishes and warm, wood tones pay homage to the region, playing with the light neutrals incorporated throughout the space.

The ultimate goal for the ongoing renovation is to preserve the original building's historical character while updating the property with modern design details for the contemporary traveler. Once both hotels are open, the property will employ approximately 150 individuals, encompassing nearly 300,000 square feet for a total project investment surpassing $100 million.

“AC by Marriott is a refreshing, revitalizing addition to downtown San Antonio, repurposing and adding value to existing infrastructure while providing an exciting point of interest to draw even more visitors to this pulsing, historic city,” said Dunbar.

The two hotels will share several amenities, including 4,000 square feet of meeting and event space; an 1,800-square foot fitness center; and the 14th-floor rooftop bar and lounge.

Courtesy of Ladino

Anticipated Pearl restaurant from top Austin hospitality group sets opening date

Ladino in the know

The Pearl continues to grow, celebrating what seems like a new, highly anticipated restaurant opening every week. First, Potluck Hospitality brought us the delightful Carriqui, and now an Austin group is bringing Ladino, set to open on Monday, September 19.

Touted as a Mediterranean grill house celebrating Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine, Ladino is the brainchild of Austin's Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group. Led by executive chef Berty Richter, the restaurant will pay homage to Richter’s roots with a menu centered around the charcoal grill.

Located in the Pearl at 200 E. Grayson St., #100, the name Ladino was chosen to showcase and share not only Richter's childhood cuisine, but also the influences of the surrounding cultures and cuisines on his style of cooking and eating, sharing food, and the excitement of a bountiful and colorful table of delicious food.

“I grew up in Israel mainly with my mom’s side of the family that came from Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. We spoke Ladino, a dialect of Spanish mixed with French, Italian, Greek and Turkish,” said Chef Berty Richter. “Large family gatherings and endless feasts were part of our daily lives and I’ve always dreamt of one day creating a concept that will pay homage to my family’s roots and culture. Naming this concept Ladino was the natural choice for me and is the realization of this dream."

Ladino’s menu features fresh made pita and other regional specialties accompanied by an abundance of dishes that are playful and bold, utilizing a wood-burning oven for the lion's share of the restaurant's offerings. Highlights will include coal charred eggplant dip, Jerusalem mix, meat dumplings in yogurt, and a modern take on Agristada, a traditional Sephardic fish in a lemony egg sauce.

While the beverage program highlights regional wines and spirits, dessert selections are inspired by the sweet and savory staples of the region with a modern touch.

The Emmer & Rye team worked with partner Rand Egbert on the restaurant's design, who sought to make the space "transportive" using "beautiful tile accents, handmade light fixtures, traditional patterns, and pops of color," according to a release.

“Sephardic Jews have origins all over the Mediterranean with deep roots in North Africa, so much of the interior is influenced by Morocco and the Moorish culture of Spain during the time the Ladino language first came to be," Egbert adds in the release.

Ladino will mark the seventh concept from Austin-based Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group, and its first in San Antonio. The restaurant will be open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm to 11 pm; and reservations are open now.

Knafeh is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert and just one reason to save room for sweets at Ladino.

Courtesy of Ladino
Knafeh is a traditional Middle Eastern dessert and just one reason to save room for sweets at Ladino.
Courtesy of Flat Creek Winery

Hill Country winery harvests new Italian restaurant with star chef

Lord Willing and the Creek Don't Rise

An award-winning winery and vineyard in Marble Falls is adding to the long list of reasons Texans should head for the hills. Flat Creek Estate is entering a new season of growth, announcing new ownership, recent renovations, and a Michelin-pedigreed chef to boot.

Located within two hours of San Antonio, Flat Creek is nestled in a little pocket of the Colorado River as it winds through the Texas Hill Country.

Perhaps that's what first attracted Eva Horton, the estate's new owner, who is leading Flat Creek into this next elevated era. With a strong background in real estate investment and development, Horton is helping the estate implement enhancements to its facilities and staff, as well as a new line of fresh grapes.

“I loved Flat Creek from the first time I came to visit. I saw so much potential for its growth, but I also want to preserve all the things that make the estate so special,” says Horton, a partner with Austin-based real estate firm Post Lake Capital Partners. “I am honored to continue the family legacy and further the vision of this beautiful winery."

Part of that vision is the hiring of executive chef Tim Lane to helm the property's onsite restaurant, Ellera. (If you recognize that name from Bee Cave and South Lamar spots, those concepts are now called The Garden, and this transplant is now the only Ellera location, complete with separate menu and dining concept). Lane served as co-executive chef at the Bee Cave location, and previously studied Italian cuisine under a Michelin-starred chef in Rome for 10 years.

Lane will infuse that experience into his new menu for Ellera, anchored by Italian-style dishes with Roman-style pizzas to showcase his ingenuity and talent while enhancing Flat Creek’s award-winning wines. Featuring herbs grown onsite for an authentic farm-to-table feel, Lane's thoughtfully crafted three-course pairing meals will include mouthwatering hand-rolled pastas and genuine Northern Italian cuisine.

“There’s something so magical about the way food can bring people together. I am extremely excited about bringing Ellera to Flat Creek,” says Lane.

Also new to the Flat Creek team is consulting winemaker Jean Hoefliger, who brings experience making wine all over the world. Working with winemaker Bob Wonacott and the entire Flat Creek Estate winemaking team, Hoefliger will lend his expertise to farming practices, production procedures, and final blending.

“Our goal is to create world-class wines right here in Texas,” says Hoefliger. “You don’t need to go to Italy to experience the finest wines. I am elated to bring my experience to the incredible team at Flat Creek.”

The pristine property offers plenty of opportunities to sip, savor, and explore, including 80 acres of vineyards and a full-working winery, an elegant tasting room, the full-service restaurant, a covered pavilion, and a one-of-a-kind, 18-hole disc golf course. All wine served at Flat Creek is made in-house and has received over 400 awards and accolades.

The estate is currently open Wednesday through Sunday, hosting weekend events like Bubbles and Brunch and a rotating music series. For more information, head to FlatCreekEstate.com.

Flat Creek Estate winery makes a strong case for Texans to head to the hills.

Courtesy of Flat Creek Winery
Flat Creek Estate winery makes a strong case for Texans to head to the hills.
Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

New Hellraiser is stylishly gut-wrenching, but lacks substance overall

Movie review

Horror franchises, even more than ones featuring superheroes, action stars, or animated characters, have proved themselves to be eternal. No matter how many times a villain or monster is bested by the hero of the film, filmmakers find a way to bring them back to try to wring more scares out of their presence.

The original Hellraiser came out in 1987 and was followed by nine sequels, including one as recent as 2018. But everything old is new again, and so now we get the reboot. An opening sequence reintroduces the series’ central device, a puzzle box that stabs unwitting users, thereby summoning horrific figures known as Cenobites to inflict torturous pain on those who’ve been stabbed.

Cut to a few years later and a group of young people are ensnared by the puzzle box’s allure, including the central figure Riley (Odessa A’zion), an addict who lives with her brother Matt (Brandon Flynn) and roommate Nora (Aoife Hinds). Riley’s boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkey) convinces her to help him steal things from a warehouse, inadvertently bringing the puzzle into their lives. When Riley tries solve the puzzle, all hell is unleashed on the group.

Directed by David Bruckner and written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, the film is a stylish yet mostly empty demonstration of gruesomeness. The Cenobites – who go by names like The Priest (aka Pinhead), The Chatterer, and The Weeper – are freaky-looking creatures with all manner of flayed flesh and painful piercings. Their mere presence and supernatural ability to grab victims by chains and hooks is scary, but an actual reason for why they keep procuring more targets is lacking.

The story is hit-and-miss, with the main group alternating between heroic, stupid, or heroically stupid decision-making. Riley seems to be a person who’s unreliable at best, yet person after person tries to intervene on her behalf, a loyalty that is left unexplored in the film. While the way Riley and the others eventually fight back against the Cenobites makes sense, the scenes featuring those fights are uninspiring.

The most interesting aspect of the film is the one that is explored the least. A mysterious man named Voight (Goran Visnjic) is introduced in the opening sequence, reappearing in the film’s final act. He has a particular connection to the puzzle box and Cenobites that makes him half villain/half victim, one which could have been fleshed out a bit more to make him less one-dimensional.

A’zion, who kind of looks like Alia Shawkat, makes for an unusual protagonist. She’s not that expressive, so the audience really has to dig deep to empathize with her character. The other members of the group are also generic, never bringing anything that makes you want to care about them more. The actors playing the Cenobites are good, although the makeup does half the job for them.

This reboot of Hellraiser is the classic example of style over substance. Much effort was made into making the film look as good as possible, but the story fails on multiple levels, making all of those visuals in service of very little.

---

Hellraiser debuts exclusively on Hulu on October 7.

11 must-see artists at ACL Fest 2022 — from Texas and beyond

Music Notes

It’s game time for two weekends of good times by way of Austin City Limits Music Festival. Since you certainly already have a must-see list comprised of the bigger artists on the lineup, here’s some choice acts — from Austin and beyond.

Must-see acts from Austin

Spoon
No one really needs to be told to see one of Austin's best bands of all-time. However, just in case you were thinking about skipping them, be sure to note that their 2022 release, Lucifer on the Sofa, plays great in a live setting. You can see them both weekends of the fest on Saturday at 4pm on the Honda stage.

Adrian Quesada’s Boleros Psicodélicos
Adrian Quesada (of Black Pumas) recently put out a solo album, Boleros Psicodélicos, and you’ll be able to check out all of its Latin America-inspired psych ballads during weekend one of ACL. Catch his set on Saturday, October 8, at 2:15 pm on the Honda stage.

Darkbird
Vet rockers Darkbird were supposed to play ACL in 2021, but a weather delay nixed their set. Expect the band, which is fronted by the always-spirted Kelly Barnes, to take full advantage of the do-over. Their only appearance at the fest will be Sunday, October 9 at 1:15 pm on the BMI stage.

Eric Tessmer
After a couple decades of dutiful shredding around Austin, guitar great Eric Tessmer has finally found his way onto an ACL lineup. His sure-to-be explosive turn at the fest is a weekend one only experience – see it on Sunday, October 9, at 5 pm on the BMI stage.

Good Looks
Indie rock act Good Looks are responsible for Bummer Year, one of the better albums to come out of Austin in 2022, so of course you should have them on your ACL radar. Catch this weekend two-only band on Saturday, October 15, at 1pm on the Tito’s stage.

Urban Heat
Get your new wave/post punk fix via Urban Heat during weekend two of ACL. The buzzy act, who recently put out an EP titled Wellness, will perform on Sunday, October 16 at 3 pm on the BMI stage.

Other must-see acts

Muna
LA’s own Muna, who are signed to Phoebe Bridgers' Saddest Factory imprint, head into ACL on a wave of acclaim for their 2022 self-titled album. The pop act has just a weekend one set on Sunday, October 9, at 3 pm on the Barton Springs stage.

Dehd
Dehd’s Blue Skies is loaded with some of the catchiest indie rock tracks you’ll find on any album in 2022, and that’s reason enough to catch them at ACL. The Chicagoans play both weekends – look for them each Sunday at 1:15 pm on the T-Mobile stage.

Magdalena Bay
Synthpop act Magdalena Bay recently dropped a deluxe edition of their hit 2021 album, Mercurial World, and now they’ll put it on display at ACL. Catch the LA-based act both weekends of the fest on Sunday at 4 pm on the Tito’s stage.

Wet Leg
Wet Leg had quite a bit of buzz heading into this year’s SXSW and the fervor surrounding the British indie rockers has only increased with the release of their self-titled debut album, which includes the infectious single “Chaise Longue.” The band is a weekend two-only play, and their set is Friday, October 14 at 2:30 pm on the Honda stage.

Faye Webster
The dreamy, gentle sounds of singer/songwriter Faye Webster will be a treat in the middle of the afternoon at Zilker Park. Be sure to catch the Atlanta-based artist during her weekend two-only appearance on Sunday, October 16 at 3 pm on the Barton Springs stage. By the way, don’t be surprised if Webster and her bandmates engage in some sweet yo-yo action.

Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend

Weekend Event Planner

Spooky sights and outdoor nights await in the days to come. Feel the thrill at the return of Fright Fest at Six Flags Fiesta Texas or celebrate all things fluttery at the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival. Check out the top five things to do in San Antonio this weekend. For a full listing of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, October 6

Gruene Music & Wine Festival
Get outside of town and enjoy a culmination of music, food, drinks, and more at Gruene Hall. Gruene Music & Wine Festival attendees can enjoy four separate events over the course of four days, each uniquely tailored to Texas-inspired interests. Highlights include a curated tasting of Texas wine and beer and a private performance with Pat Green. Visit the festival website for a full schedule of events and to get ticketing information. Programming is scheduled through October 9.

Friday, October 7

Six Flags Fiesta Texas presents Fright Fest
Fright Fest is back at Six Flags Fiesta Texas with spooky, family-friendly daytime activities and chilling attractions when the sun goes down. Freaky festivities include haunted houses, scare zones, live shows, and seasonal updates to some of the park’s most popular rides. Fright Fest is open through October 31.

Bonnie Raitt in concert
Blues-singing songstress Bonnie Raitt comes to San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre for one night only. The “Love Letter” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” star is returning to the tour circuit in support of her new album, Just Like That... Raitt will be joined by special guest Marc Cohn. Get ticketing information here.

Saturday, October 8

Texas Butterfly Ranch presents 7th Annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival
Celebrate one of nature’s most graceful and captivating creations at Brackenridge Park Pavilion. This year’s Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival is a month-long series of events including monarch tagging demos, waggle dancing, the forever journey altar, educational booths, and the traditional People for Pollinators Procession. Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events, go the festival website.

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: Back On Tour
Actor and comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias brings fresh material and guaranteed laughs to the AT&T Center. Iglesias is one of the most-watched comedians on YouTube and has had roles in films like Magic Mike, Magic Mike XXL, and A Haunted House 2. Visit the ticketing website for show information and to reserve your seats.