Photo curtesty of Fogo de Chao

Well, here's a twist: Fogo de Chão, the churrascuria-style restaurant concept from Brazil known for its dedication to meat, is expanding its menu in an unprecedented new direction: They're adding tofu.

Effective immediately, the restaurant will offer new plant-based and nutrient-dense dishes, alongside an enhanced Bar Fogo beverage list that has new non-alcoholic craft cocktails made with low-proof spirits (less than 0.5 percent alcohol).

Fogo CEO Barry McGowan says in a release that they're responding to demand from their younger, more health-conscious customers.

"Our young and dynamic guests consider themselves food explorers who seek new culinary discoveries with each visit,” McGowan says. “For nearly 45 years we’ve had nutrient-dense and plant-forward dining options for every occasion and dietary tribe throughour Market Table. With the rollout of our new dining choices and clean cocktails, we continue to offer our guests the variety and discoveries they crave while doing it in a wholesome and flavorful way.”

The Market Table is their famed salad bar, which has sated many a vegetarian diner or else those just not up for the whole skewered meat thing that is a trademark of Fogo and other churrascuria-style places.

Two new plant-based innovations will join Fogo's existing Vegetarian and Pescatarian dishes such as the Cauliflower Steak, and will be available on the main dining menu available for lunch, brunch, and dinner as an alternative to the Full Churrasco Experience, as follows:

  • Seared Tofu with Miso Black Bean Pasta - Chimichurri-marinated tofu served atop black bean pasta sautéed with green onion, Napa cabbage, pickled onions and carrot ginger-miso dressing. Vegan and gluten-free.
  • Roasted Power Vegetable Bowl - Roasted eggplant, marinated mushrooms, roasted zucchini, asparagus, and baby peppers served with chimichurri spinach rice. Vegan and gluten-free.

togo power bowlRoasted Power Vegetable Bowl at Fogo de Chao.Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chao

They're also rolling out new dishes on the Market Table which for the past 45 years has showcased nutrient-dense and flavorful choices including seasonal salads, micro greens, natural and plant-based proteins, imported charcuterie, and more.

New items on the Market Table are as follows:

  • Spring Hummus - Fresh hummus blended with herbs, roasted garlic and citrus, topped with radish, fresh mint, edamame, and olive oil.
  • Baby Kale & Mango Salad - Fresh baby kale, Napa cabbage, red radish and mango, tossed in a lime honey dressing.
  • Miso Black Bean Pasta - Gluten-free black bean pasta tossed with green onion, Napa cabbage, pickled onions and carrot ginger-miso dressing.
  • Apple Manchego Salad - Granny Smith apples and Manchego cheese tossed with honey, cracked pepper and black mission figs.
  • Power Greens - A seasonal mix of vitamin-rich greens, fresh herbs and micro-shoots

The Bar
The Bar Fogo menu now features five new cocktails, including three made with Clean Co’s non-alcoholic spirits with less than 0.5% alcohol, as follows:

  • Yellowbird - Desolas Mezcal, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Cointreau, La Marca Prosecco
  • Espresso Martini - Diplomatico Reserva Rum, Caffe Borghetti and Licor 43
  • Clean Cosmo - CleanCo V (Vodka) Apple, Cranberry, Fresh Lemon
  • CleanR Sour - CleanCo R (Rum), Passionfruit, Pineapple, Aquafaba, Bitters
  • Clean Cucumber Martini - CleanCo V (Vodka) Apple, Cucumber, Basil, Lemon Twist

Founded in southern Brazil in 1979, Fogo has seven other locations across Texas: Addison, Uptown Dallas, Plano, Friendswood, Houston, Austin, and The Woodlands.

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.

Jardinsatx Facebook

7 San Antonio spots to find special deals for Restaurant Weeks

Eat, drink, and be merry

It's the most wonderful time of the year — for foodies, that is. Culinaria's Restaurant Weeks is back and bigger than ever with a full slate of San Antonio restaurants jumping in on the fun with their own prix-fixe menus. And don't worry, you still have plenty of time to try a variety of menus: Restaurant Weeks started on January 16, but lasts until January 28. Here are some of our favorite local restaurants offering up their own special menus for a great deal.

Four Brothers
Guests at Four Brothers (the in-house restaurant at the Omni La Mansión del Rio) get to share a heaping helping of the restaurant's signature jalapeño cheddar corn bread — served in Texas-shaped tin. Options on the three-course dinner menu include BBQ brussels sprouts or pozole for an appetizer, and lamb shank or branzino for the main course. Don't forget to save some room for buttermilk pie with homemade ice cream for dessert!

If you're in more of a Mediterranean mood, check out Jardín at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. 2022 Chef of the Year Jason Dady has crafted a menu that includes a mezze or hummus starter and a choice of a Jardín salad or seasonal bisque. Entree options include pan-seared salmon, roasted chicken confit, or beef kefta kabobs. Dessert is an olive oil cake with saffron chantilly (essentially a fancy whipped cream).

Los Azulejos
For brunch, look no further than Los Azulejos. Brunch patrons will start with one mimosa or agua fresca, and have their pick between huevos divorciados, chilaquiles, motuleños, or azulejos benedictos, with a house dessert to cap it all off.

Rebelle, one of the St. Anthony's in-house restaurants, is the perfect place for a Restaurant Week guest who needs a lot of options. For your starter, pick from crawfish risotto, charbroiled gulf oysters, deviled eggs, crab cakes, seafood bisque, braised field peas, a salad, or grilled shrimp. Main courses include blackened red fish, shrimp bucatini, chicory-spiced braised chuck flap, or a garlic buttered lobster roll, with either hummingbird cake or bourbon-soaked chocolate bread pudding for dessert.

Sangria on the Burg
If you missed the actual sunset, head over to Sangria on the Burg and start off with the Restaurant Week menu Sangria Sunset Salad. After that, you get to try seared chicken poblano, braised short rib, and strawberry chocolate buñuelos for dessert.

Southerleigh Haute South
Craving a hearty bowl of gumbo? Head to Southerleigh Haute South, where you'll find it on the starter menu. If you still have room for more, the main course entree options include shrimp ceviche, a deputy special chicken sandwich, or a meatloaf sandwich, followed by breakfast cereal ice cream or Kats Coffee crème brulée for dessert.

Stixs & Stone
If you've ever wanted to try a Restaurant Week menu from a chef that was on the Food Network, look no further than Stixs & Stone. Chef Leo Davila's dinner menu starts with a crispy rice paper boat with ground turkey, honey soy chile glazed pork ribs, queso fundido, or Mexican style street corn. There are two tiers of main dishes: Tier 1 includes options like the iconic Stixs & Stone Big Red and barbacoa flight, japchae, or a sesame chicken delight. Tier 2 features options like the Stixs & Stone signature pork belly, Mongolian beef, or a chicken and Hong Kong waffle.

San Antonio's Hemisfair expects more fun and great food coming in 2023

4 million and counting

This past holiday season, San Antonio's Hemisfair area welcomed 4 million visitors to Yanaguana Garden since opening the public playground and meeting area in 2015. And in exciting news for the year ahead, more amenities and events are expected to open the coming months.

According to a press release, 2023 holds plenty of arrivals at Hemisfair in the form of new restaurants, new additions to Yanaguana Garden, more special activities, and the opening of Civic Park Phase I. Hemisfair officials shared news of four more restaurants coming to the redeveloping public park area: Kunstler Tap and Brat-Haus, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Jerk Shack, and Kusch Fair.

Kunstler Tap and Brat-Haus comes from the owners of Kunstler Brewing Co. in the Lone Star neighborhood. Bombay Bicycle Club is developed by the owners of the same popular Brackenridge Park-area eatery. The Jerk Shack (one of our 2022 Tastemakers) is created by the owners of a renowned far west side Caribbean restaurant. Kusch Faire is the newest concept by those responsible for DASHI Sichuan Kitchen + Bar.

Each new restaurant will restore and occupy a 19th century home within Hemisfair, adding even more diverse culinary options to reflect the global optimism exhibited at the 1968 World’s Fair — the original reason for Hemisfair’s rebirth.

“It’s important for us to welcome a diverse group of tenants because that's who our city is,” Hemisfair CEO Andres Andujar said in the release.

Hemisfair officials also plan to expand Yanaguana Garden’s playground area by starting construction this month on a toddler play area on the Bank of America Promenade near The Box Street Social. With five climbable vignettes that mimic a garden atop the existing squishy play surface, the toddler play area is slated to open in early spring.

Hemisfair Conservancy Executive Director Anne Krause said individual donors and major gifts from an anonymous foundation and the Jeanie Rabke Wyatt Family Foundation made possible development of the toddler play area. Philanthropic contributions backed public and private funding to build Civic Park Phase I, including a seven-figure gift from the Mays Family Foundation for the Peggy Mays Gardens, which will open to the public in 2023.

“We take 'Hemisfair is for all' very seriously here and this space helps us achieve that notion,” Krause said.

Additionally, Hemisfair will continue to play host to some of major cultural gatherings, such as Muertos Fest, Diwali, and Lymphoma Leukemia Light the Night, and Celebrate SA — as well as the weekly story time and the monthly Super Fun Saturday.

Hemisfair officials said the opening of the first phase of Civic Park this fall will accommodate a larger number of significant events. Located along Market Street and supported with $27 million in city of San Antonio bond proceeds, Civic Park Phase I will encompass five acres of public parkland, including a shaded promenade, “the springs” water features and a great lawn for large events for up to 15,000 people in concert mode.

Andujar said Hemisfair’s Civic Park will help boost San Antonio’s portfolio of public gathering spaces with the creation of a space worthy of luring thousands of residents and visitors to enjoy a variety of happenings. A second phase of Civic Park, including the grand Source Plaza entrance adjacent to the Torch of Friendship, and a zocalo with a built-in terrace for community performances, is estimated for completion in late 2024.

“It’s very rare that urban downtowns receive this significant of a park and gathering setting after the city has been well-established,” Andujar said.

Courtesy of Gucci

Luxe Italian designer Gucci debuts San Antonio boutique, 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. Luxe Italian designer Gucci debuts first San Antonio boutique at La Cantera. In time for the holidays, Gucci has unwrapped a new outpost at The Shops at La Cantera, marking its eighth boutique in Texas.

2. 9 festive San Antonio restaurants open for Christmas Day cheer. Take the fuss out of the festivities with these local restaurants serving up Christmas feasts.

3. New Camp Margaritaville RV resort makes waves on the Texas coast. Formerly known as Bolivar Beach Club & RV Resort, the new resort-style camping experience is bursting with amenities for a memorable vacation.

4. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. The next few days are packed with magical moments, live music, and alpaca appearances.

5. Cinemark movie chain opens San Antonio theater for college football playoffs. This postseason, fans can catch three of the biggest games on the big screen right here in San Antonio.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: New beer garden quietly opens

New 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.


The owners of Gold Feather have unofficially untapped a new venture, LadyBird Beer Garden. Although official channels are keeping details mum, a Facebook page run by landlords VLA Real Estate spilled the beans on the November 25 opening. In addition to serving craft beer, the concept at 447 W. Hildebrand Ave has a full kitchen, bar, and a small patio for enjoying the mild December weather.

Months after coyly announcing a second location, Elotitos Corn Barsprouted a new Government Hill location on December 3. The snack shop is well known for its aguas frescas and elotes flights, offering the street food staple in various flavors. The new outpost is open Monday through Saturday, 3-9 pm.

Following the recent San Antonio expansion of Oregon-based Dutch Bros Coffee, another out-of-towner is gaining some local buzz. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, Arkansas franchise 7 Brew Coffee is brewing its first Alamo City location at 4825 Walzem Rd. Barring delays, the project will be completed in May 2023.

Pop-up concept Rose Hip Coffee has found a permanent home at 116 W. Olmos Dr. in Olmos Park. The broadened Rose Hip Market combines caffeine with boutique retail, offering everything from kid's clothes to ready-to-eat sandwiches and salads. The playful equestrian wallpaper might make it a can't-miss selfie spot.

Other news and notes

A new cocktail conference will lift San Antonio's spirits in January. The Culinaria-hosted Third Coast Cocktail Summit will feature seminars, tastings, dinners, and tipsy soirées during its five-day run from January 10-14. All-access passes are now available for $250 for industry and $500 for general admission at the nonprofit's website.

In other booze news, Kinsman's Brandy Alexander Tour is back in full swing for the holiday season. Dorćol Distilling's annual celebration of the famous desert cocktail has drafted 14 spots to offer the renowned desert cocktail this year, including several newcomers like Allora, Bar Loretta, Double Standard,Ladino, and Sojourn Trading Co. A full list of participants can be found here.

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San Antonio home sales continue to decline in February, latest report shows


Home prices went up and sales went down in February, an inauspicious prediction for both homebuyers and sellers in San Antonio’s real estate market. That’s according to the latest market report from the San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR).

The latest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data shows steady price increases in the San Antonio area. The average home price is now at $365,679, an $8,700-plus increase from 2022. Median home prices have hit $310,000, which is a smaller increase from last year, but $50,000 more than 2021.

Despite new home construction skyrocketing at the same rate, existing home sales have dropped by 28 percent. Homes are also staying on the market much longer than they did in February 2022, at around 70 days.

SABOR’s 2023 board chair Sara Briseño Gerrish shared her insights on the current market.

“The months of inventory is being reported at 3.3 and 93.5% of homes closed of their original listing price,” she said. “To close February, there were 3,531 new listings, 2,407 pending listings and 9,712 active listings.”

To add to February’s home sale woes, Bexar County saw a 16.4 percent decline with only 1,612 closed listings, while average prices increased 4.4 percent to $341,204.

Statewide, only 21,838 homes were sold in February, a 14 percent decrease year-over-year.

The full report can be found on sabor.com.

11 reasons to escape the San Antonio bustle with a day trip to Dripping Springs


As a Dripping Springs native, I like to think I know it pretty well. The town has come a long way from being known as the place “just west of weird," exploding in recent years into a suburb of Austin (though many would frown upon that designation). If you’re driving on Highway 290, viewing the Dripping Springs water tower with its “Gateway to the Hill Country” motto in bold letters serves as a personal welcome for residents and newcomers alike.

Despite the rapid recent growth in the Austin area, Dripping Springs still has many of the small-town features that its local residents — and transplants — all love. Many of the culinary staples I enjoyed as a teenager are still thriving, years after the COVID-19 pandemic threatened local businesses statewide. The annual April Founders Day Festival has been a must-see for families for decades.

Those in search of a new day trip spot should consider these 11 places to visit in Dripping Springs.

Where to Eat

Homespun Kitchen & Bar
Homespun is a farm-to-table American restaurant with European influences that serves brunch, lunch, and dinner with live music and kid-friendly spaces. Chef Michael St. Germain is behind all menu choices, applying his experience from San Francisco restaurants and bringing critical acclaim for his burgers, according to the restaurant's website. With weekday specials, fresh-made desserts and over 300 whiskeys to choose from, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. Reserve at homespunkitchenandbar.com.

Oak Creek Cafe
Who can say no to some good Southern comfort food? Oak Creek Cafe has been operating at the corner of Sportplex Drive and Highway 290 for several years. Must-try menu items include the chicken fried steaks, biscuits and gravy, and mushroom Swiss burger. The cafe regularly posts photos of its large plates of comfort food on Facebook, and Google reviewers love it as a breakfast spot above all.

Rolling in Thyme & Dough
A personal favorite: Rolling in Thyme & Dough’s original Highway 290 location is in the center of Dripping Springs, offering delicious pastries, breakfast, and lunch options. Fan favorites include the smoky chipotle breakfast sandwich, the TX two-step sandwich for lunch, and any of the freshly-baked pastries. They also have weekly BYOB bistro nights on Wednesdays in the spring, utilizing fresh ingredients from the Dripping Springs Farmers Market.

Mazama Coffee Co
Since its founding in 2012, Dripping Springs’ first independent coffee shop has been caffeinating the town for over a decade. They micro-roast their own beans from Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Brazil. They also have a bakery to provide customers with well-loved baked goods and lunch. Mazama’s was named the Best Coffee Shop of Dripping Springs from 2018-2021, according to their site.

The Great British Baking Company
This cozy food spot is a newer addition to Mercer Street. The Great British Baking Company adds to the growing food culture in town with their homemade sticky toffee pudding, sausage rolls, scotch eggs, and rotating soups. All of their menu items are made right behind the checkout counter in their open kitchen. Don’t forget to browse their selection of imported British goods, and make sure to take home a parfait or chocolate mousse in a jar.

What to Do

Dripping Springs Chocolate Company
The Wilson family created their chocolate business as a way to support local economies in Nicaragua after a family mission trip. In their mission statement, they aim to create the best chocolate while “improv[ing] the lives of the farmers and communities that grow the cacao.” They’ve since expanded their initial chocolate offerings to spice rubs, dessert and hot cocoa mixes, and chocolate-covered snacks.

The Sated Sheep
As a self-described “psychologist-turned-fiber-junkie,” this yarn shop owner has created her own community surrounding fiber crafts and a love of knitting. Allison’s shop has been a must-see for any visitors looking to pick up a new hobby, or wanting to grab a glass of wine and watch other knitters or crocheters create works of art. The shop offers affordable classes for any skill level, private lessons, and workshops for special events.

Vintage Soul
If you’ve never met Julie Crawford, you’re missing out on one of the most bubbly and welcoming personalities in Dripping Springs. Whether you’re in her Mercer Street shop or watching her weekly “Try-on Tuesday” Instagram stories, Julie makes everyone feel confident in her clothes and accessories. And let’s be honest, everyone loves information about true garment sizing before you try it on or buy online.

Starrs on Mercer
Two sisters with zero retail experience collaborated in 2015 to build a bustling “modern day department store” on Mercer Street. Born out of a love for shopping and convenience, Starrs on Mercer is a one-stop shop for women’s, men’s, and baby clothing, plus accessories, and gifts. The Starr sisters have since opened a travel agency, Starrs On The Go, to expand their endeavors.

Treaty Oak Distilling
You can’t write about Dripping Springs without including some popular distilleries. When it was founded in 2006, Treaty Oak says it was only the fourth distillery operating in the state. The distillery sits on a 28-acre property on Fitzhugh Road with plenty of space for children to explore while you sit back and enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail. Tours of the distillery are available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and classes are available on select Saturdays every month.

Desert Door Distillery
What was once a barren plot of land on Darden Hill Road has now developed into the only sotol distillery in the United States. Desert Door hosts a range of live music weekly, offers tours on weekends, and also has a rental space for private events. With a variety of cocktails and tacos made by James Beard award winner Jesse Griffiths and Spoke Hollow Steward, it’s definitely a go-to for any day trip itinerary.

San Antonio rent prices increased 7 percent from 2022, 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 rent prices increased 7 percent from 2022, report finds. Despite rent increases showing small improvements month-over-month, overall prices in the San Antonio area are still on the high side from the previous year.

2. Popular San Antonio doggy daycare opens new location in Alamo Ranch. The award-winning Dogtopia has gained so much love from the local community thanks to its thoughtful design approach and programming.

3. Bask in local artistry with the inaugural San Marcos Studio Tour in April. The inaugural, self-guided San Marcos Studio Tour will feature more than 50 artists all across San Marcos and the surrounding area.

4. Own a piece of Utopia with this Hill Country riverfront retreat listed for $2.5M. This secluded, tree-filled, riverfront estate boasts nine guest cabins and "the Fortress," a historic lodge that can sleep 12 guests.

5. Blockbuster Western art exhibition and sale stampedes into San Antonio. The Briscoe Western Art Museum's annual Night of Artists Exhibition and Sale returns to San Antonio March 24 through 25.