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Dignowity Meats Is Coming

Dignowity Meats Is Coming

Dignowity Meats is coming soon.

dignowity meats

The guys behind Crazy Carl’s, Andrew Samia and Shane Reed, are opening Dignowity Meats soon.

The restaurant, located at 1701 E. Houston St., will specialize in smoked meats. A soft opening is set for Nov. 15 with lunch service starting thereafter at 11 a.m. Dinner service, along with beer and wine offerings, is tentatively set for spring.

Dignowity Meats is a joint venture between Andrew Samia and Shane Reed of the Crazy Carl’s food truck and Denise Aguirre and Noel Cisneros of the Point Park & Eats and Taps y Tapas.

The restaurant will specialize in smoked meats by the pound, hand-crafted sandwiches, and specialty sides. It will pay homage to both the classic east coast deli and Midwest smokehouse,  taking premium cuts of meat and smoking them in-house. Some of the staple menu items will include pastrami, pit beef, pork belly, turkey breast and smoked bologna. Scratch-made sides, such as sharp cheddar mac and cheese with smoke bacon, braised greens, and jalapeño cheddar cornbread, will accompany the meats along with fresh squeezed lemonade and brewed teas.

Samia and Reed’s backgrounds, having grown up in the Northeast and Midwest respectively, helped drive the vision for Dignowity Meats. Being fond of old school mom-and-pop delis that cooked all of their products on-site, they wanted to bring that taste to San Antonio. Their simplistic approach of paying attention to detail, from inception to finished product, truly allows the ingredients to shine and earned them a feature spot on the Cooking Channel’s “Eat St.”


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Halloween Scares Up Some Fun at Area Restaurants

Halloween Scares Up Some Fun at Area Restaurants

Halloween is bringing plenty of treats to area restaurants. Here are a few.

Authors John Griffin and Bonnie Walker to sign their new book Oct. 31

Authors John Griffin and Bonnie Walker to sign their new book Oct. 31.

Barbecue, books and more

John Griffin and Bonnie Walker will be at Texas Pride Barbecue, 2980 E. Loop 1604, Adkins, to sign copies of “Barbecue Lover’s Texas” for the last Friday fish fry of the season.

The signing begins at 6:30 p.m., at which time you can get your fill of barbecue as well as fried pollack or shrimp, have a few longnecks and listen to live music on a fall evening.

For more information, call 210-649-3730.

Copa is in a partying mood

Copa Wine Bar, 19141 Stone Oak Parkway, is having a Halloween party. On the menu for the evening:

  • Cocktail Specials-SCREAMsicles, Leinenkugal, Orange Shandy, French Vanilla Infused Sake
  • Hocus Pocus: Sparkling Rose & Blood Orange Italian Soda
  • Wine Specials: Happy hour all night with 25% off all wine and beer (excluding flights), $15 Make your own Concha y Toro Flights, $5 Sangria by the glass, 1/2 off full-size bottles of bubbly, 1/2 off anything from the Stellar Cellar
  • Food Specials: Belly of the Beast Tacos and Candy Corn Jarfaits
  • Costume Contest 7-10 p.m. Winner gets a 5-liter bottle of Casillero del Diablo Cabernet.

Call 210-495-2672 for more information.

Dale Watson

Dale Watson

Dale Watson at Two Step

Two Step Restaurant and Cantina, 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., is hosting Dale Watson and his Lonestars on Halloween evening. The music begins at 8 p.m.

VIP tables are $40 apiece and include an appetizer and a bucket of goodies from Lone Star Beer.

In addition to the concert, the restaurant is offering a haunted house and kids’ games.

For reservations and VIP tables, call 210-688-2686.


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Savor Warm Flavors of Old Mexico at Cocina Heritage

Savor Warm Flavors of Old Mexico at Cocina Heritage

Cocina Heritage quesadillas cropThe corn tortillas are hot off the stove, the rajas (strips) are made from freshly roasted chiles and the mole is deep, dark, a little spicy with a touch of chocolate.

All of the above, and everything else,  is made on site at Cocina Heritage The Restaurant, which opened a couple of months ago at 118 N. Medina St.  Cocina Heritage grew out of a catering company by the same name.

Two sister, Silvia Alcaraz and Lupita Rivero, moved to San Antonio 25 years and 22 years ago respectively, from Mexico. Alcaraz runs the business and front of the house; Rivero is chef and queen of the kitchen.

The sisters went into catering partly because they were hungry for authentic tastes of Guanajuato and other areas in Mexico. Such things as tinga de pollo, fruit cups, handmade corn tortillas made from molino-ground masa, rajas de poblano with crema and much more. They planted the first seeds of their business with Bake, Broil and Brew, an incubator kitchen on the near West Side.

“We were always bringing food back from Mexico — even frozen — to have tastes (of home),” says Alcaraz.

Cocina Heritage blackboard cropSo now, at this neat, informal cafe in the shadow of the Commerce Street Bridge north of Interstate 10, they are sharing.

They serve Mondays through Fridays, breakfast and lunches only, so this is a good place for downtown workers to visit.

Check out the list of quesadillas first, posted on the wall behind the ordering area.  These are real stars of the show, as the tortillas, made with fresh masa — and tasting as though made fresh to order — wrap some sensational flavors. The mildly spicy-smoky chicken tinga, and the rajas (strips) of freshly roasted poblano chiles were our choices — both excellent. Each was enriched with Mexican cheese — queso fresco plus some Mexican crema in the rajas.

Squares of Mexican panela cheese, a little firmer than the melting queso fresco, is stuffed into a compact, perfectly battered chile relleno.  Tomato sauce on top lends more warmth, and some simple but beautifully balanced flavors.

Cocina Heritage chile relleno croppedThe chile relleno is served with white rice — lightly seasoned and studded with green peas and carrot. It was also a perfect vehicle for the sweet-savory taste of mole we sampled. Again, all of the chiles and nuts and seeds that go into this complex and famous Mexican sauce were roasted and ground on premises.

Breakfast items look tempting, and we’ll be back to try them, as the aguas, including a signature agua fresca at Cocina Heritage made from a variety of sour prickly pear, called agua xoconostle — a lovely shade of pale pink and a refreshing bit of acidity to contrast with the bit of added sugar and classic cactus fruit taste.

French press coffee, juice, organic tea and baked goods (such as our pumpkin muffin topped with pepitas in a light frosting) make this a good place for a mid-morning or afternoon meeting, too.

Especially if you work or live near downtown, Cocina Heritage needs to be prominent on your beaten path to really good Mexican food.

Cocina Heritage muffins cropped


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Trader Joe’s Opens in Stone Oak

Trader Joe’s Opens in Stone Oak

Trader Joes Logo croppedTrader Joe’s has opened its second San Antonio location. It’s at 403 N. Loop 1604 W., which is in the Stone Oak area.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

For more information, call 210-545-3123.

FOLC hosts wine tasting

FOLC Restaurant, 256 E. Olmos Drive, is hosting a wine tasting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The wines will be presented by sommelier Veronique Cecilia Barretto and Felicia Gonzales of Serendipity Wines.

The amuse-bouche pairings will be created by FOLC owner, chef Luis Colon.

The price is $20 a person. Seating is limited. Call (210) 822-0100 for reservations.

lockupguide1Herradura tasting at La Fogata

La Fogata, 2427 Vance Jackson Road, is featuring Herradura during its monthly free tequila tasting, which is set for 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 15.

After the tasting, you can make the evening even more flavorful by ordering a margarita made with Herradura alongisdde a Quesadilla de Flor de Calabaza, (otherwise known as pumpkin blossoms and white cheese on thick masa tortilla).

Call (210) 340-1337 for details.

Look for Tre Enoteca

Jason Dady is opening Tre Enoteca Tuscan Ristorante and Vino Bar at the Alley, 555 W. Bitters. It’s the space that once housed Bin 555 and, more recently, Umai Mi.

Umai Mi, meanwhile, is moving to a smaller space within the Alley.

Crumpets sets sights on Oregon

mouton noirCrumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach, will showcase wines from Oregon a special dinner set for 7 p.m. Nov. 14.

Highlights of the multi-course menu include smoked trout fillet with Willamette Valley Riesling; Vol au Vent with Scallops Montrachet with Silvan Ridge Viognier; and Duck Breast with Wild Mushroom Rossini Sauce paired with Mouton Noir O.P.P. Pinot Noir. (Mouton Noir is made by former San Antonian Andre Mack.)

The price is $75 a person. Call (210) 821-5600 for reservations.

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Esquire Sings the Praises of Cured at the Pearl

Esquire Sings the Praises of Cured at the Pearl

Esquire’s Josh Ozersky gets it.

Cured chef Steven McHugh

Cured chef Steven McHugh

Last year, the magazine’s food writer heralded the Granary ‘Cue and Brew as the future of barbecue. This week, he named Cured as one of the best new restaurants in America.

“An ancient building, gutted out, and filled with all the products of a skilled chef’s imaginings; the place is named for its hams but it’s the whole hogs and other roasted meats that soar the highest,” he writes of the restaurant at 306 Pearl Parkway.

“It took me by surprise,” chef and owner Steven McHugh said of the writeup. “It’s great how many people saw it and are congratulating us.”

There’s been a lot of love for San Antonio’s dining scene in the national press, and not just from Esquire. In the past week, Food & Wine singled out three places in town for having some of the best dishes in the state of Texas. Earlier this year, Bon Appétit cited Hot Joy as the sixth best new restaurant in America, while Cured was among its top 50.

Ozersky’s love for Texas dining extends to his pick of Austin’s Paul Qui, owner of the eponymous Qui, as Chef of the Year.



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Mixtli Announces Plans for a Mezcal Bar and Other Restaurant Notes

Mixtli Announces Plans for a Mezcal Bar and Other Restaurant Notes

mixtli“It has been a really exciting day for everybody at Mixtli,” the folks at the Mexican restaurant on McCullough Avenue posted Thursday on their Facebook page. “It is with great joy that we announce the opening of Mezcaleria Mixtli early 2015. It will have a heavy focus on mezcal, Mexican craft beer and mezcal cocktails, along with other Mexican spirits like sotol, charanda and tequila.

“Food will also play a big role as we will focus on some traditional botanas. All with the same impeccable attention to detail and respect to our Mexican heritage that has made Mixtli unique. It has been a fantastic year for us and can’t wait to see our new project in action. Stay tuned for more details!”

If all goes well, the city’s first mezcal bar will be up and running by the 2015 San Antonio Cocktail Conference.

Burger and fries, anyone?

Burger and fries, anyone?

A new Big Bob’s is on the way

Big Bob’s Burgers is opening its third location in a few weeks. It will be at 4553 N. Loop 1604 W. in the space that recently housed Old West Burgers.

The menu will be the same as the other two locations of Big Bob’s, owner Bob Riddle says. But the new place will have a full bar as well as a spruced-up playground for the kids.

Except the new Big Bob’s to be open by the beginning of December.

Nao celebrates Puerto Rico

Nao, 312 Pearl Parkway, shines a spotlight on the foods of Puerto Rico in its next culinary adventure, which runs Oct. 21 through Dec. 1.

Dishes include a Piñones sampler, Sorullitos, Chillo Frito, Beef Steak Enccebollado, and a Bacardi Añejo Braised Pineapple.

The regular menu is also available. For reservations, call 210-554-6484.

pollo tropicalPollo Tropical opens

Pollo Tropical, Taco Cabana’s sister restaurant, has opened its first San Antonio location. It’s at 6819 N. Loop 1604 W. and is open 10:30 a.m. to midnight daily.

“We are really looking forward to bringing a taste of the islands to a new city, particularly our sister restaurant Taco Cabana’s hometown,” said Pollo Tropical COO Danny Meisenheimer. “Pollo Tropical offers a uniquely tropical twist on fresh, healthy, hand-prepared foods, giving families the convenience and variety of meal choices they can feel good about eating every day.”

Pollo Tropical’s menu has a Caribbean flavor, blending savory island spices, mixed herbs and citrus into rubs and marinades used on vegetables, pork, beef and, as the name implies,  chicken dishes.

In addition to its signature bone-in chicken, Pollo Tropical offers boneless, skinless grilled chicken breasts, Mojo Roast Pork, Calypso Beef and Grilled Tropical Wings as well as sandwiches, salads, wraps, kids meals and family meals. Made-from-scratch sides include rice, beans, yuca with garlic sauce, sweet plantains and many more.

A new Taco Cabana has opened next door.

A second Pollo Tropical will open later this year at 838 Bitters Road.

For more information, visit

Mike’s in the Village changes hours

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road in Bulverde, has changed its hours. The restaurant with a Cajun flair is now open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. while Sunday brings a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For information, call 830-438-2747.


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Three SA Restaurants Get Some Love from Food & Wine

Three SA Restaurants Get Some Love from Food & Wine

The November 2014 issue of Food & Wine magazine singles out the 20 Best Dishes in Texas, and three San Antonio places have made the list.

Thai-style fried chicken at Tuk Tuk Tap Room was one of three SA dishes singled out in the latest Food & Wine magazine.

Thai-style fried chicken at Tuk Tuk Tap Room was one of three SA dishes singled out in the latest Food & Wine magazine.

Coming in at No. 13 is the Texas Toast at the Granary ‘Cue & Brew, 602 Ave. A. Bread and butter? Sure thing, when the bread is Tim Rattray’s housemade treat fried in beef tallow and topped with barbecue butter made by whipping drippings from the smoker into butter. “I couldn’t believe how much was going on in that little scoop,” Gina Hamadey writes.

Next on the list, at No. 14, is the Thai Fried Chicken at Tuk Tuk Tap Room, 1702 Broadway, which was singled out for the garlicky lemongrass-chile sauce that you can spoon on top of the crispy chicken, which adds a sweet and spicy touch to all that crunch.

IMG_6960No. 19 on the list is the Chile Relleno en Nogada at Liberty Bar, 1111 S. Alamo St. “The classic Pueblan dish is on the menu as a starter, but it’s big enough for a meal,” she writes. “Texture-wise it’s awesome: A poblano chile is stuffed with a lovely mixture of beef, potatoes and onion, and it’s covered with a walnut-(goat-cheese) sauce. Then they sprinkle beautiful pomegranate seeds on top.” (Note: the dish as labeled in the printed magazine was in error; this is the correct way to order the dish when you go to Liberty Bar!)

Other dishes on the list include the whole pig’s head from CBD Provisions in Dallas to the bone-in pork belly at Killen’s Texas Barbecue in Pearland, meaning there’s plenty of culinary treats to sample statewide.

Chef Tim Love of The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Dallas, Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughan and Liz Lambert, who owns the Havana Hotel in San Antonio made the selections.


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Halloween’s Coming, and So Are Plenty of Seasonal Treats

Halloween’s Coming, and So Are Plenty of Seasonal Treats

Now, you can have your Halloween and eat it, too.

gallo turtleJeremiah McMillian and his staff at Gallo Pizzeria, 164 Castroville Road, are cooking up custom pizzas in shapes like a skull and crossbones for customers. They’ll do most any shape you want, from Batman to a jack-o-lantern and everything in between.

We’ve done a Ninja Turtles pizza, Transformers, Darth Vader, Minnie Mouse, hearts, a sun (as tribute to the show “Cosmos”), “Adventure Time,” and we’ve spelled out people’s names and ‘Congrats’/’Happy birthday’ on pizzas, as well,” McMillan says.

All you have to do is give them advance notice, from 24 to 48 hours, of what shape you had in mind and what ingredients you’d like on there. (Extra anchovies for me, please.)

gallo skull pizzaGallo is also hosting its annual Halloween Bash from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 31. There will be a $100 costume prize, live music and spooky pizza specials. The event is also BYOB.

Give Gallo a call at (210) 264-0077.

Murder in the Vineyard

Something wicked is headed for the vineyard.

Kerrville Hills Winery, 3600 Fredericksburg Kerrville, is hosting a murder mystery dinner, “Evil Never Dies,” on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

In addition to the show, guests will be served a meal catered by Lovin’ Spoonful and two glasses of wine.

Guests are invited to dress as an 1890 Boston resident, in Halloween garb, or as they wish.

Call the tasting room at 830-895-4233 for tickets or click for details including suspect roles.  “We’ve already sold tickets ($55, $50 for wine club members) and booked some suspect roles, so don’t delay,” the winery says.  “Prior mystery dinners have sold out, so contact us soon!”

Click here to get information about booking through a San Antonio tour group and let someone else drive.

Order your Halloween cakes and cupcakes now

Little Aussie's Pumpkin Cheesecake

Little Aussie’s Pumpkin Cheesecake

Plenty of San Antonio bakeries are taking orders for Halloween cakes and cupcakes. Here are there options

Bird Bakery, 5912 Broadway, is offering pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, topped with a sanding sugar dome and a whole clove stem. They also have pumpkin cheese cake on the menu. Call (210) 804-2473.

The Little Aussie Bakery & Cafe, 3610 Avenue B, has gluten-free pumpkin spice cupcakes that also happen to vegan, corn free and soy free. Plus, they have a gluten-free pumpkin spice cheesecake, which is not vegan. Call (210) 826-7877.

Cupcake Couture has plenty of cupcakes that’ll let you scare up some Halloween fun. For a location near you, click here.

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Steps to Take When Renovating a Restaurant

Steps to Take When Renovating a Restaurant

Robert Stoky is the owner of San Antonio’s Tony Roma’s, 849 E Commerce St. He recently remodeled his restaurant and here are some thoughts that went into the project.

The bar at the remodeled Tony Roma's on the River Walk.

The bar at the remodeled Tony Roma’s on the River Walk.

Renovating your restaurant may sound scary when you first think about the time and energy you would have to put in, but it’s a great opportunity to give your restaurant an upgrade. It can transform your restaurant’s image and add space to maximize sales. However, before pursuing this big jump, you should take the following steps to lead you in the right direction.

Decide whether the time is right for a change. You need to find your target in order to brainstorm ideas on how you want people to perceive your new image. Are you trying to change the décor? Or rebrand yourself? Jot down a basic blueprint and answer your questions to see if a change is really what you need.

Define your restaurant’s personality. Imagine your restaurant as a person. What kind of first impression would they give? How would they walk, talk and dress? Your restaurant should speak for itself when you create a new look. From there, you can begin to think of details such as space and interior.

Examine industry trends. Not saying you’re outdated on popular restaurant trends today, but you may need to examine other business’ actions and goals. For example, study your favorite restaurants or popular ones that are excelling. What do they have that other restaurants don’t? How are they attracting their customers? Why do people choose them instead of another similar restaurant?

The riverside dining area at Tony Roma's.

The riverside dining area at Tony Roma’s.

Find your demographics. Examine the type of customers that visit your restaurant and the locals that you want to visit. This will help determine a target of demographics you are aiming towards. If you want your restaurant to be a quiet lounge, then you would be more likely to attract locals who want a break from work or school to relax or do work in a relaxing environment. If you want a family-friendly restaurant, then you would attract the families that are looking for a great place to eat and enjoy their time with one another.

Build the right team. For a renovation, you’re going to want the right business partners, architects, designers and consultants to help rebrand your restaurant. Do your research on different professionals and businesses that do a great job and if they fit within your price range.

Don’t be afraid to take the risk. With a good amount of time, planning and a positive mindset, your restaurant will fall into the right place in rebranding itself.


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Bakery Lorraine Relocates and Other Pearl Notes

Bakery Lorraine Relocates and Other Pearl Notes

Bakery Lorraine has relocated to the Pearl Brewery.

Bakery Lorraine and the French macarons have moved to the Pearl.

Bakery Lorraine and the French macarons have moved to the Pearl.

The bakery, which has been hailed as one of the best in the nation, is known for its French macarons (not macaroons) as well as its pain au chocolate, sticky buns, scones and sandwiches.

Look for the bakery nestled in among the restaurants, coffee shop and other food lovers’ favorites in the Pearl compound. It’s open for breakfast and lunch.

For more information, call (210) 862-5582.

Here’s some more Pearl news:

It’s time for Latin Flavors

The annual Latin Flavors, America’s Kitchens conference has returned to the San Antonio campus of the Culinary Institute of America.

This annual gathering of chefs and food professionals from throughout the Americas is generally a lot of shop talk and recipe sharing, with demonstrations of dishes indigenous to countries such as Peru, Argentina, Brazil and the Caribbean islands as well as the various regions of Mexico.

This symposium is an invite-only event, but this year, there are several dinners open to the public. One is at Nao on Thursday evening, featuring chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. The others are on Friday at Arcade Midtown Kitchen, Boiler House Texas Grill, Casa Hernan and Sandbar. For more information on the dinners, click here.

Cured Pink BeerOktoberBreast: Booze for Boobs

If you can’t get to Munich for the famous Oktoberfest, head to Cured at the Pearl, owned by cancer survivor and chef Steve McHugh.

In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, he’s serving up a special beer made by Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling. The pink-hued brew, Lucky Ol’ Sun Golden Belgian-Style Ale, may seem light, but it’s said to be full-bodied while boasting great flavor.

Every day during October, beer lovers can get a mug of Lucky Ol’ Sun pink beer on its own for $9 with $1 from every rosy ale sold going directly to Susan G. Komen. Pair it with the Charcuterie [“Charc”] Board starting at $18 for a total of $2 going to Komen, Cured’s charity of choice the entire quarter.

Looking forward to Southerleigh

Those who attended Sunday’s KLRN Fine Wine and Cuisine Tasting got a fine preview of Southerleigh, Jeff Balfour’s restaurant, which will be in the forthcoming Hotel Emma.

The chef served up crab claws in a lively dressing alongside a Dortmunder beer and a honey mead that are being brewed in-house. Yes, they worked up our appetite for more. But we’ll have to wait a little while longer.

Word is that the restaurant with its coastal cuisine could open in December, if all goes according to schedule. That may seem like a long way off, but it’s really not, as we’re in October already.


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