Photo courtesy of Howdy Child.

For locals who crave food variety, there's arguably no greater spot than the ever-rotating stalls at Pearl's Bottling Department. Already the home to Caribbean street food, New York-style pizza, and traditional tacos, the food hall recently added gourmet burgers via the Henbit pop-up. Now, it's completing its crave-able lineup with barbecue and sandwiches.

The new addition comes from a familiar Pearl face — Three Six General, a farmers' market favorite that has been quietly operating at Bottling Department since late February. In mid-June, owner Matti Bills rebranded to Howdy Child, rolling out a menu of sandwiches and fried chicken tenders.

Bills tells CultureMap that smoked meats are the star of the show. Made in-house at the Three Six General butcher shop in San Marcos, the selections include meat by the pound sold on Saturday and Sunday and an every day sandwich selection of pulled pork, chopped brisket, oak-smoked chicken, and hot pastrami.

The latter is the business' calling card. Bills is also the co-founder of Austin's Mum Foods, whose pastrami was named best in the state by Texas Monthly.

The bread is carefully sourced too. Keeping with the eatery's locavore ethos, Howdy Child uses sourdough from Dripping Springs-based Abby Jane Bakeshop, which exclusively uses Texas-grown wheat from Barton Springs Mills.

Bills says the leap from farmers' market vendor to food hall staple was a natural move for the business, which, unlike Henbit, plans to stick around for a while.

"When presented with the opportunity, it was a no-brainer," Bills shares via email.

The playful name, however, came about by happenstance.

"[I] Just wanted it to be something unique and playful that worked for a barbecue and fried chicken concept!" says Bills. "[I] was literally just greeting a friend one day, and we decided it would be a good name."

Though the branding may be a lark, Bills is serious about the San Antonio food scene. She promises that the food hall concept is just the start of things to come.

"I love San Antonio and definitely want to make it my home base," says the talented pitmaster. "[I'm] already working on developing another concept in the area."

Three Star Bar/ Facebook

Fine dining chef unpacks nostalgic pop-up concept at popular Grayson Street bar


With new restaurants seemingly opening daily, San Antonio’s culinary scene is more exhilarating than ever. But even those with a packed reservation schedule sometimes crave something different.

Enter pop-ups — a San Antonio obsession that grows more popular each month. The latest to enter the fray is Restaurant Claudine chef Mel Cavazos, who debuted Throwback Sammies, a one-night-only concept that sprouted up at Three Star Bar on May 29.

“I want to do something comforting that everyone can relate to,” explains Cavazos of the nostalgic concept. “I want the menu to read simply but totally unexpected when you eat it.”

The small menu includes a trio of dishes that evoke childhood memories. Cheese bread is reimagined with Romesco sauce, burrata, and basil, while another sandwich has all the fixings of a Sunday pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and gravy. Those desperately waiting for fall will no doubt flock to the Thanksgiving Meltdown, complete with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry.

One dish, however, is even more personal. In honor of a recently passed friend, Cavazos added a “secret” vegan sandwich featuring buffalo cauliflower and homemade pickled vegetables.

“He loved his vegan wings,” Cavazos remembers.

The chef tells CultureMap that Throwback Sammies is just the start of a series of pop-ups she hopes to hold monthly. As she continues developing a career at Carpenter Carpenter Hospitality’s ever-growing restaurant empire, she sees the pop-up series as a chance to keep exploring her culinary voice.

“I want to expand and explore more options,” Cavazos says, adding, “I love sandwiches, but that’s not what I like to be known for.”

Future Throwback Sammies pop-ups will be announced via Instagram.

Photo courtesy of Chicken Salad Chick

Fast and healthy chicken salad chain roosts in San Antonio with 2 new outposts

Same chickens, new coop

Texas is not exactly known for its delis, so Chicken Salad Chick may be a sight for sore eyes in San Antonio. The Alabama-based concept has been popular in Texas: It opened its 24th restaurant in the state and the first in San Antonio on January 31, following through on a 2021 announcement to bring eight locations to the area in the next few years. A second location is set come clucking in February, pushing the chain's total number of restaurants in the United States past 220.

For now, the first restaurant is in the Stone Oak neighborhood at 22831 N US Hwy 281, where it serves a dozen flavors including a traditional southern flavor with sweet pickles and eggs, and more adventurous flavors like buffalo sauce or lemon and basil. These come on lettuce, bread, and sometimes croissants (although these do not appear on the San Antonio menu online). With an order-ahead app and a drive-through window, this fast concept gets even faster.

"We are thrilled to introduce this unique concept to San Antonio,” said San Antonio franchise co-owner James Oberg in a release. “In fact, we love Chicken Salad Chick so much, we already have our second location in Westover Hills opening in just a few weeks and have plans for more. The brand sets itself apart with its made from scratch menu, core values focused on enriching the community and commitment to serving guests.”

The restaurant is taking this grand opening opportunity, starting February 8, to delve into that giveback goal with daily giveaways as well as a friends-and-family fundraiser benefiting the Children's Hospital of San Antonio Foundation, Christus Health.

On Wednesday, February 8, the first 100 guests will receive one large container of chicken salad every month for a year. One of those winners will be randomly selected to receive their prize weekly, instead. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the first 50 guests to make specific purchases will receive a prize: a tote bag, a small cooler, and a large cooler, respectively. Guests can arrive starting at 7 am for grand opening day only.

Oberg presents this franchise with co-owners Jeff Rochelle and George Shaw, who call San Antonio their hometown and have owned some Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers restaurants for almost 20 years.

Chicken Salad Chick is open now, Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm. On Wednesday, February 8, guests may begin arriving at 7 am to check in for the grand opening, but will have to return later between 9:45-11:15 am, depending on their assigned time. Chicken Salad Chick will post more about giveaway terms on Facebook.

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6 San Antonio spots celebrating the Jewish High Holidays


Like most celebrations, the Jewish High Holidays sneak up on the calendar before anyone can notice the (slight) temperature drop. Rosh Hashanah starts September 15, with Yom Kippur following closely on September 24.

Each has its own food traditions, from the apples and honey meant to bring sweetness into the New Year, to the kreplach breaking the fast after the Day of Atonement. Unfortunately, some beloved dishes are easier to find than others. And not every celebrant has the luxury of living near family.

Fortunately, San Antonio offers a range of spots offering Jewish favorites — from a fine dining sensation innovating Sephardic cuisine to a stylish diner serving Ashkenazi comfort food. Not every place keeps Kosher, but all provide the comforting taste of home.

Chicago Bagel & Deli
Though not a true Jewish restaurant, this North Side shop still makes mean bagels and lox. Other deli standards include a stuffed tuna salad sandwich and an exemplary pastrami on rye. All the breads are made in-house. Visit on Fridays for the freshest challah.

The Hayden
The two locations of this diner riff on traditional Jewish fare throughout the year, serving waffle iron latkes topped with beet-cured lox and herby matzo ball soup. Rosh Hashanah, however, calls for more festivities. The Broadway location is pulling out all the stops on September 17 with a jubilant prix fixe. Guests will enjoy caramelized onion and potato pierogis and honey cakes topped with cinnamon crème anglaise. An optional wine package gives diners unlimited pours of house red or white.

Though billed as a “modern Mediterranean grill house,” this pearl stunner is specifically rooted in the Jewish-Balkan cuisine of chef Berty Richter’s youth. Don’t miss the impossibly creamy hummus made with purple hulled peas or the featherlight karpuz y feta showcasing watermelon and sumac. Or, for a full feast, let the kitchen staff make all the decisions. The mezas de alegría, a shared dining experience for the table, showcases the greatest hits from the menu.

Max & Louie’s New York Diner
As close as San Antonio gets to a Brooklyn diner, this long-running favorite still echoes with the vision of its founders — one a Kosher butcher, and one, well, not so much. While an Asian chopped salad may not scream tradition, the outliers are mixed with Ashkenazi standards like Coney Island knishes, kugel, and crispy latkes served with apple sauce and sour cream.

Nibblits & Nosh
This 100-percent Kosher food truck travels about town, most frequently stopping at the Congregation Rodfei Sholom. The menu is an assortment of all-American classics like hot dogs, fried chicken sandwiches, and burgers. Try the loaded brisket fries with a pickle on the side.

Yummy Kosher Grill
A newish Kosher eatery inside the Israeli Chabad Center, Yummy specializes in Mediterranean specialties like shakshuka and falafel, with a few menu items like chicken nuggets thrown in for the kids. Closed weekly for Shabbat, it will dish out plenty of pita on September 1.

Popular Hill Country winery to open tasting room in biggest city yet

Bishop Arts News

A winery from Central Texas' wine country is opening an outlet in Dallas. Baron's Creek Vineyards, dubbed one of the most Instagrammable wineries in Fredericksburg, will open a new tasting room and wine lounge in the Bishop Arts District.

The winery, which posted a help-wanted note on the door to the space at 418 N. Bishop Ave., was founded in Fredericksburg, and has three other locations in Georgetown, Granbury, and McKinney. This will be the fifth.

According to Meghan Delgado, who manages the Fredericksburg location, the vineyard aims to open Bishop Arts in mid-October.

A family-owned venture from a trio of businessmen brothers, Baron's Creek opened its first location in Fredericksburg in 2015.

Baron's Creek Vineyards make wines from Texas grapes — the unofficial litmus test for authenticity — but also use grapes from other districts in the U.S. and Spain, from vineyards owned by their winemaker Russell Smith, formerly of Becker Vineyards.

Baron's Creek is a big tourist attraction not only for their wine-tasting options, but also for their on-site villas where visitors can stay overnight. Two Italian-styled villas with six rooms each accommodate up to 24 guests. The vineyard rents out the property, which has a cool outdoor courtyard defined by an almost Alice-in-Wonderland checkerboard pattern of stone platforms, for weddings, corporate retreats, and other special events.

Its satellite locations, including Georgetown Square, Granbury, and McKinney, which opened in 2022, serve as lounge/tasting rooms with flights, tastings, and tapas.

Delgado says that Bishop Arts will be most similar to the McKinney location. "It'll have two separate bar areas, and will definitely be serving food including charcuterie," she says.

Other menu items include a trio of pizzas that include pepperoni and artichoke & goat cheese. The tasting rooms offer mixed flights of five white and red wines or a flight of five red wines for $21/person, as well as wine by the glass.

Texas Book Festival releases full lineup of 300 authors, including Roxane Gay and Ali Hazelwood

meet your favorite authors

After the initial release of the first 16 featured authors at the 2023 Texas Book Festival, the full lineup of guest authors and speakers is here.

More than 300 authors will be at the 28th annual festival, taking place at the state Capitol and along Congress Avenue in Austin on November 11-12. The weekend will be full of panel discussions, author readings, book signings, and much more.

"Our full lineup includes a diverse array of writers from across the globe, as well as a wide range of voices and talents from across Texas, which comprises about a third of our full program," said Texas Book Festival Literary Director Hannah Gabel in a release. "As an organization that supports the freedom to read without restriction or censorship, we’re proud to present a festival program that includes something for everyone."

A late addition, just an hour before the news breaks, is Roxanne Gay, one of the leading voices in contemporary intersectional feminism. Known for her tweets as much as her books like Bad Feminist, Gay represents a rarity in academic writing: relatability. She will be presenting her new book, Opinions: A Decade of Arguments, Criticism, and Minding Other People's Business.

No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Ali Hazelwood – who wrote romance novels Love, Theoretically and The Love Hypothesis – will be in attendance to present her upcoming young adult romance novel Check & Mate.

2013 Pritzker Literature Award winner Tim O'Brien will debut his first book in nearly 20 years: America Fantastica. The satirical fiction novel follows a disgraced journalist's bank robbery and subsequent chase across the country.

Dork Diaries author Rachel Renée Russell will showcase her 15th book in her internationally bestselling series, Tales from a Not-So-Posh Paris Adventure.

In alphabetical order, the first 20 authors and speakers are as follows:

  1. Wendi Aarons
  2. Stacey Abrams
  3. Agatha Achindu
  4. Nana Kwame Adejei-Brenyah
  5. Sylvia Aguilar-Zéleny
  6. Nicole Albano
  7. Charles Alcorn
  8. Asale Angel-Ajani
  9. Andrea Arango
  10. John Manuel Arias
  11. Isa Arsén
  12. Roxanna Asgarian
  13. Alex Aster
  14. Ben Austen
  15. Aaron Bagley
  16. Jessixa Bagley
  17. Chandler Baker
  18. Rebecca Balcárcel
  19. Maya Baran
  20. Derrick Barnes

The Texas Book Festival will be preceded by the 28th annual First Edition Literary Gala on November 9. The event will take place at the Fairmont Austin Hotel, and will be hosted by NPR Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep.

More information about the 2023 festival and the full lineup of authors can be found on texasbookfestival.org.