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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

After two years of explosive growth, vegan chain Project Pollo is unexpectedly contracting. In an Instagram statement, the brand broke the news that it was shuttering its original trailer at Roadmap Brewing. The owners explained that they would make “drastic changes” in 2023 “to focus on efficiency and guest service.” Project Pollo also will be relocating a kiosk location in Austin, though have yet to announce a new landing spot. Meanwhile, the decidedly carnivorous Last Place Burgers will be rolling into Roadmap starting January 14.

University of Texas San Antonio favorite The Well has tapped out after almost seven years in business. In a Facebook post, the owners thanked the local community for its support without offering any reasoning behind the decision. Fortunately, the building will not remain vacant. A third location of Big’z Burger Joint is sliding in on January 13.

It’s out with flavored sodas and in with … flavored sodas as Utah chain Fiiz Drinks takes over the former Sonic Drive-In location at 3521 Broadway St. In December, signage appeared on the long-vacant Alamo Heights lot announcing the move. The company, however, has yet to make any official announcement. Once open, the eatery will serve various technicolor drinks and snacks like pretzels, nachos, and cookie dough bites.

Bust out that Fashion Nova haul. A new nightclub is moving into the former V Lounge space at 107 E. Martin St. downtown. Exact details about Rio Azùl are still forthcoming, but promotional materials promise the club will thump Latin pop and dance and offer a glitzy, Vegas-like experience.

Other news and notes

Two of Alamo City’s breweries have made the jump to full-service brewpubs. First, Freetail Brewing announced the previously teased kitchen at its 2000 S. Presa taproom was open. Now, Southtown revelers can enjoy pizza along with their pints.

East Side watering hole Black Laboratory Brewing soon followed suit with its own pizza kitchen opening on January 4. The project is a partnership with 2-1-Dough Pizza Co., using the adjoining space recently vacated by Truth Pizzeria in October. In addition to pies, the brewpub will be offering sandwiches, salads, and shareable appetizers.

Photo courtesy of Main Event

Entertainment chain Main Event serves up new restaurant at San Antonio locations

Bonus Event

Main Event, the entertainment chain known for its arcade games, sports, and prizes, can’t resist adding even more to its roster. With two San Antonio-area locations (one on North Loop 1604 East and one on TX-151), the games are still the main event, but now dinner is taken care of too — not just a few items at a concession window, but a full restaurant called Family Kitchen that boasts “nearly 50 new and unique menu items.”

These items start with the standard arcade food staples — burgers, sandwiches, pizza — but Family Kitchen applies its own spins for a more creative menu. Whereas before, the entertainment venue served many more generic items, Family Kitchen revamped every item to make sure it was unique to the restaurant, in addition to adding new ones.

A Triple Lava Burger comes with cheese and cheese sauce; a PBB&J Burger combines the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a less-expected blueberry jam and a totally left-field burger, bacon, and cheese; and chicken wings come in eight different sauces and rubs, including a Nashville hot blend and a lemon pepper rub.

“Family Kitchen was developed with extra care, attention to detail and a focus on premium quality ingredients,” said Chef Wiley Bates III, director of culinary innovation at Main Event Entertainment, in a press release. “We’re excited for our guests to experience our new menu offerings, which have been seasoned with salt, pepper and love, and added playfulness that customers experience throughout the rest of the Main Event center.”

As expected at the arcade, the first priority across much of this menu is shareables, including loaded fries, nachos, and pizzas. The shareability does start with volume, with “Family Feasts” bundling commonly ordered items for four to six people, but it also means more inclusive options like vegan Beyond Meat substitutes and salads. Mocktails are also available, although the presence of a “Cotton Candy Shirley” makes it clear these selections are more about being fun for kids than catering to sober adults. (Alcoholic drinks are available at the bar or the restaurant, but are not included on the online menu.)

“The Family Kitchen was largely inspired by Main Event’s brand promise to be a place for families to bond,” said Main Event Chief Marketing Officer Ashley Zickefoose. “From shareable favorites with our Family Feasts to offering something tasty and memorable for everyone in the family….”

Main Event may remind visitors of Dave & Buster’s, for good reason: the two entertainment and food venues are owned and operated by the same parent company. Dave & Buster’s, initially from Dallas, is the significantly larger brand with 148 stores, but Main Event is catching up. The latter is founded and headquartered in Coppell, Texas, and now has 52 locations. Main Event centers are also more kid-focused, and typically larger than those in the Dave & Buster’s, since they offer games like laser tag and escape rooms.

Family Kitchen is accessible to any visitors, whether or not they play any games, but there are food and game bundles to streamline the experience. More information about Main Event and the new restaurant are available at mainevent.com.

8 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Neighborhood bar wiggles back to Broadway

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

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.

7 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Anticipated Italian restaurant says ciao to North 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 regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings

The hotly anticipated second location of Nonna Osteria said ciao to Alamo City on September 27. Located underneath Silo Elevated at 434 North Loop in the Ventura Plaza shopping center, the much-loved Italian restaurant offers indoor and al fresco seating Tuesdays through Saturdays. Though it does not have an identical menu to the Fairmount Hotel original, many dishes reappear — including a version of the decadent tartufo served in a cheese wheel.

Bakudan Ramen is hoping to bowl San Antonio over with a new location in Stone Oak. A second outpost of the Japanese favorite debuted October 11 at 22506 US-281 North #106. The fledgling chain isn’t entirely done laying its San Antonio footprint. A third outpost is underway at the Bandera-Loop 1604 interchange with an unannounced opening date.

Acclaimed Seguin eatery Davila’s BBQ is now playing ball with the AT&T Center. In a video Instagram post, the Texas Monthly-approved barbecue joint announced it will serve its smoked meats during the 2022-2023 season. In honor of the move, owner Adrian Davila will introduce a few Spurs items to the menu honoring icons like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginóbili.

The former home of goth hot spot Wax Club Lounge appears to be undergoing a resurrection. A new concept called REDBAR has applied for a late-hours certificate with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission at 2211 San Pedro. There’s no word yet on what the bar will be — no web or social presence appears to have been established.

Other news and notes

The Southtown location of Freetail Brewing Co. will soon be offering wood-fired pizzas. The craft brewery took to social media to announce that it was now hiring kitchen staff to add to its team. Previously, the pies were only available at the 4035 N. Loop 1604 brewpub.

The San Antonio Grilled Cheese Fest will bring some ooey-gooey fun to The Espee on November 19. The third annual festival pits local restaurants in a battle for a $500 prize. Tickets are $38-$58, with the VIP pass including early entry.

Local food activist Jamie Gonzalez — aka Puta de la Fruta — has been named the sole Texas candidate for the American Heart Association’s 2022 EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator and its big $50,000 prize. The annual program provides training and grants to organizations and individuals impacting community health. Locals can vote for the hometown hero here.

Photo courtesy of Cinnaholic

7 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Gourmet cinnamon roll shop rises in Alamo Ranch

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
Berkley, California-based chain Cinnaholic is rolling out a second Alamo City location on the Northwest Side. Via a newly created Facebook page, the bakery franchise announced it was setting up shop at 5519 W. Loop 1604 N. #104 in the Alamo Ranch shopping center. Known for its vegan, made-to-order treats — and for impressing investor Robert Herjavec on Shark Tank — Cinnaholic opened its first local operation in 2020 at 812 S. Alamo St. in Southtown.

After more than 32 years in business, one of San Antonio’s essential restaurants is calling it a day. In a lengthy Facebook statement, a rep for Mr. & Mrs. G’s Home Cooking said the East Side staple would serve its last meal on July 30, citing “the impact of COVID 19 and other factors.” The soul food destination will adjust hours to Wednesday through Friday, 11 am-5 pm, and Saturday, 11am-3 pm until the final day. The menu will also be tweaked as stocks dwindle.

Plans for Dave’s Hot Chicken’s San Antonio expansion appear to be warming up. In March, franchisees John Hotchkiss, Jason Hotchkiss, and Paul Gorman shared their plans to bring eight outposts of the buzzy Los Angeles chain to the area but gave scant details. Now, a filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation reveals the first Dave’s will hatch at Highway 151 and Hunt Lane. Construction is set to finish by February 2022, according to state records.

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records also divulge that Phoenix’s Postino Wine Café is eyeing two locations in town. The casual eatery serves a variety of vino-friendly small plates and boards along with bruschetta, soup, salad, and paninis. Guests can clink glasses at both 17627 La Cantera Pkwy in the Rim and 2600 Broadway by spring if the builds go as planned.

Those not yet old enough to indulge in Pinot can run amok at San Antonio’s latest Peter Piper Pizza. On July 18, a monster 12,000-square-foot location opened at 12475 Interstate Highway 10 West at De Zavala Road, according to a release. Operated by franchisee Kirk Robison, the new outpost is the 10th area location for the company.

Other news and notes
Southeast Asian stalwart Thai Dee is emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic. Following a two-year hiatus, the restaurant took to social media to celebrate the reopening of its dining room. Hours are noon-8 pm, Monday through Thursday, and noon-9 pm Friday and Saturday. Those who prefer to eat banana spring rolls in pajamas can still take advantage of delivery and take-out with online ordering noon-7:45 pm.

A global heatwave notwithstanding, restaurant reservation platform OpenTable has announced its list of the nation’s top 100 restaurants for outdoor dining. The list considered views, the overall experience, and the quality of cuisine to compile the rankings. Only one San Antonio eatery made the cut, Pearl hot spot Brasserie Mon Chou Chou.

Courtesy of Wild Barley

Sourdough reigns supreme at wild new restaurant and brewery near Alamo Heights

What's Brewing

It has been more than a decade since Wild Barley Kitchen and Brewery owners Holland Lawrence and Marc Fogelsong first met while attending Texas A&M University. It was not long before they imagined themselves opening a restaurant with craft beer brewed in house.

That dream gradually became a reality — first with a food truck launched in 2019 as Lawrence and Fogelsong served up bagels and pizza on the go.

Now, the duo has a brick-and-mortar version of their food truck, Wild Barley Kitchen Co., offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner north of Alamo Heights, in the north Broadway Street space last occupied by the restaurant Taco Garage.

The food truck, which was initially stationed at the Shops at Broadway News outdoor market, remained active while Fogelsong and Lawrence were remodeling the former Taco Garage, opening up the new business in phases over the last several months.

“We’ve been opening various parts of the restaurant,” Lawrence said. “It took us about seven to eight months to get us to a spot where we could open the property.”

Lawrence and Fogelsong decided in spring 2022 to sell the mobile kitchen and fully focus on the brick-and-mortar eatery, where wood-fired dough and fermentation are key to the brewpub’s signature dishes, including sourdough sandwiches and brick-oven pizzas.

Lawrence learned a lot about fermentation during his time as head brewer at Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling, now applying those lessons toward the bites and beers at Wild Barley.

“Fermentation is behind all aspects of what we do here,” he said.

A closer look at Wild Barley’s evolving menu reveals a variety of bagels that can be enjoyed in different ways. There is a range of sourdough sandwiches available for breakfast and lunch, and a diversification of dinner-time pizzas from which to choose.

Wild Barley’s owners said many diners who like certain menu items to be available during one part of the day return and end up enjoying a different dish during another part of the day.

“Our customers work their way through the menu, and they’re finding out what they love,” Fogelsong said.

As far as the beers are concerned, Wild Barley will contain 12 taplines for brews produced by the restaurant’s seven-barrel system. Craft beer fans who visit Wild Barley will find an assortment of beer styles, from IPAs, pale ales and lagers to sours, porters, and stouts.

Lawrence said he plans to release a blackberry framboise and a light cream ale this summer, alongside a collaboration brew with Second Pitch Beer Co. Wild Barley released its first collaboration beer with Kunstler Brewing Co. last spring.

Lawrence said there will be an emphasis on designing food specials to pair well with a specific in-house beer: “There’s going to be something for everyone,” he added.

Additionally, Wild Barley will fill up to-go growlers. Patrons seeking non-alcoholic beverages have options such as cold brew coffee, hop water, Liquid Death water, and products from San Antonio’s Southside Craft Soda.

Wild Barley is friendly to both families and pets, with dogs allowed on the patio. The brewpub is also available for catering, and will host activities such as trivia night, outdoor markets and live musical performances.

Fogelsong and Lawrence said Wild Barley also emphasizes slow food, meaning the staff is careful about preparing the dishes with high-quality local, regional, and seasonal ingredients. “Our philosophy is to make slow food move fast and get it out to you fast as possible so you can enjoy your visit,” Fogelsong said.

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Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching San Antonio

Seeing green

The world is buzzing with news of an approaching astronomical body, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), more often referred to in the news and social media as "the green comet." Its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago — compared to the about 200,000 years since modern humans emerged.

"While the pictures of it have been impressive, its visual appearance differs greatly," explains Joe Wheelock, public program specialist at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin. "Currently you might glimpse it with the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch of light[,] but you would need to be away from city lights. Binoculars or a telescope would improve the view, and you might even glimpse a faint tail."

As tempting as it is — and as much fodder as its made on social media — this experience will not be easy for most Texans to photograph and share. "The pictures that have been posted on various websites were taken by experienced astrophotographers and in most cases cameras designed for astrophotography," Wheelock warns.

Some logistics to note when planning a viewing:

  • The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1.
  • Wheelan says placement will also be good in late January and early February, and it will be best viewed after midnight. Since the new moon was on January 21, every day the moon will compete with it a little more.
  • The McDonald Observatory posts daily stargazing tips, so viewers will have a few chances at seeing something special, even if the comment doesn't work out.
  • Getting out of San Antn is the best bet against light pollution.

Those who are willing to make a trip out of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity should consider their best chances at out running the city lights. The closest popular option to San Antonio proper is McAllister Park, which sometimes hosts stargazing events. For a more structured approach, the Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory at the University of Texas at San Antonio hosts first Friday stargazing nights after sunset. The McDonald Observatory, although it is an entity of the University of Texas at Austin, is in Fort Davis, about 400 miles from San Antonio.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) maintains records of some of the world's least light-polluted skies and works to protect them, ensuring that these places stay available for reliable stargazing retreats. There are four IDA-certified Dark Sky Parks in Texas: Enchanted Rock (90 miles from San Antonio), South Llano River (120 miles), Copper Breaks (370 miles), and Big Bend Ranch (490 miles).

In addition to the certified parks, there is a smaller group of Dark Sky Sanctuaries, which are especially dark and carefully protected. There are two in Texas: Devil's River State Natural Area (170 miles) and Black Gap Wildlife Management Area (390 miles).

For more in-depth reading on the comet's trajectory and context, Wheelan suggests an article in Sky & TelescopeSky & Telescope.

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