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Any recommendations for San Antonio?

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    Any recommendations for San Antonio?

    I'm taking a trip for a few nights in San Antonio. I know Franklins and other brisket greats are only an hour drive, but is there good enough BBQ in San Antonio to keep me from making the trip?

    Google says it is this! >> http://goo.gl/2tf65k


    • Matt144
      Matt144 commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry, that link's not working for me.

    • smarkley
      smarkley commented
      Editing a comment
      Added much later >>> OK... that google link just brings up, well... you know, popular google searches... I would ignore this and read below... the locals have chimed in and they know what they are talking about! Makes me want to visit San Antonio, actually.

    There are a couple of good stops (I'll be BBQ specific and presume you are staying down town):

    Bohanans for steaks - regularly rated as some of the best in Texas. $$$
    B&D Ice House (King William, 5 mins south of downtown). I had the beef short rib. Was very good. New place, so only been once. There is a good ice house directly opposite for after dinner drinks - the michelada is nice and spicy.
    Alamo Ice House (Just off broadway) - technically a BBQ place. BBQ is pretty lame and to cover it up it's wrapped in buns / tortillas. The finished product is bearable, just. But a good live music venue and ice house.

    5 mins Taxi (or 30 mins walk up river reach):

    Smokeshack (broadway) Top notch, getting rave reviews all around. They were originally a food truck, now have a restaurant (and a food truck still). I was impressed when I went.

    Augies (St. Mary's Street - (not broadway)) is a favorite - the BBQ is pretty good, and they often have beef finger / back ribs that actually have meat on, which is nice and recommended. The best bit about this place is that they have a player piano in the main area - ask them to switch it on, get some Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash in a stride style. Just fun. Local's tip - There is a office block next door (Red McCombe's) and in the lobby they have a museum quality display of Red's collection of military paraphernalia. Wander in and take a look. It's impressive and free of course.

    Inside the Pearl Brewery there a number of excellent restaurants (Il Sogno or the Sandbar both standout). There is a Brew and 'Que place there. Much better at lunchtime - in the evening they try a bit too hard to sell you on their meat and their micro brews. "Ooo the nuttiness of the brown ale pairs nicely with the caramel notes of the brisket". "I just want meat and beer". At lunchtime, you just get the 'que, the beer, and mercifully no additional attention from the wait staff.

    Two Bros BBQ on 281. Again OK. Some rave, I've not been wowed.

    The original Rudy's out about 20 - 30 minutes west on I10. Always excellent. As authentic as BBQ can get. Old gas station, long tables, great food. They've started franchising, but this is the original.

    Texas Pride on 1604, 20 mins east of Downtown. Ok. Some people rave, I've never been wowed. But you do get to hang with motorcycle gangs (actually aging dentists on Harleys) and can get a side order of a tattoo with your ribs. (true! Full tattoo parlor in the restaurant)

    Avoid: Anything on the river walk, especially County line. Tourist trap of the highest order. The only exception on the river is Boudros - excellent mix of Louisiana and Tex-Mex - highly recommend.

    I'll post more when I think of it. Matt


    • Matt144
      Matt144 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks a lot. I take it you're familiar with the area. We will be staying near the downtown area, and will be getting around mostly by bikeshare or cab. I'm sure we'll end up by the river walk looking for food, so I'll definitely seek out Boudros.

    • W.A.
      W.A. commented
      Editing a comment
      Boudros is pretty good.

    Hey Matt, Glad to hear you are using the bike share! One of the nice things about San Antonio is the river walk - it acts like a giant tourist sump, leaving the rest of the city for us locals! The riverwalk is basically a collection of middling to poor restaurants. The Alamo is well worth a visit though, but head straight for the gift shop - there is a large diorama of the battle in there and it gives a good idea of the sheer scale of the area that Travis, Bowie et al. were trying to defend - much larger than the Alamo mission itself.

    The bike share program is here: https://sanantonio.bcycle.com/

    The Downtown / 5 mins on a taxi are all on the bikeshare route. You'll see from the above link that the bike share pretty much runs N-S (scroll out on the map) the smoke shack, Augies and Pearl are at the northern end, no more than 10 minutes on bike from downtown, and you can pretty much take the river towpath all the way. The others are simply too far unless you've got an expense account for the Taxi.

    The other downtown locations are either center or south, again no more than 10 minutes (probably less) and sit on the bike share station route. Ask the concierge at the hotel for a map. They will know all the locations. The other general area to direct you to is King William - which has the B&D ice house I mention above. There are a number of bars, restaurants, ice houses, etc. all within a few paces of one another. IT's 5 mins on the bike south from downtown.

    If you are on the bike, I'd highly recommend cycling south on the tow path for a while. It follows the mission trail - the Alamo is only one of a chain of five missions - and the next two (particularly the 3rd) give a much better idea of mission life. (It's a much less taxing ride than to Monticello, for example!)

    With the exception of Boudros, the rivierwalk is best left to the tourists. Hop on the bikes!



    • mtford72
      mtford72 commented
      Editing a comment
      To boil it down to the important stuff that you can reach:
      Smoke Shack on Broadway
      Augies on St. Marys - ribs and piano.
      Bonhanans for a steak (downtown)
      For a change of BBQ pace, the BBQ shrimp is phenomenal at 'The cookhouse' Again, within biking distance.

    I have to agree with most of Mtford72. I've only lived in SA since April, but my job has me driving all over the city daily. I can tell you, there are many more BBQ joints and back streeets and corners in San Antonio than a simple google search might lead to.
    Avoid the ever present Bill Miller's at all costs.
    You might consider Bobby G's Old School just south of downtown. He's small enough it still tastes like someone is putting a little love into a backyard cook.
    You do have to get to the River Walk, even though touristy, it's worth a visit. This is a great place to see and experience.


      Originally posted by mtford72 View Post

      The original Rudy's out about 20 - 30 minutes west on I10. Always excellent. As authentic as BBQ can get. Old gas station, long tables, great food. They've started franchising, but this is the original.

      Avoid: Anything on the river walk, especially County line. Tourist trap of the highest order. The only exception on the river is Boudros - excellent mix of Louisiana and Tex-Mex - highly recommend.
      Agree and Agree. I haven't been to County Line in over ten years, but to this day I remember how horrible and overpriced that meal was. We ate their twice and swore it off forever.


      • The Burn
        The Burn commented
        Editing a comment
        It's really too bad to hear about County Line. The two originals in Austin were great back when I was at UT in the early 80s.

      I will say this about the Granary 'Cue and Brew at the Pearl Brewery.. At lunch, they take their cue very serious. All the meats are harvested from local farms with strict quality control and farming practices. The guys can almost tell you the pigs name, what she ate, how long she lived, and just about how much "ole Sally" weighed when slaughtered. They are meticulous about prep. I had a long conversation with one of the pitmasters and was genuinely impressed with his knowledge (plus it scored me some free pork!). The BBQ is very good, but not cheap. If I had anything bad to say, it would be the brisket was almost too tender, but the flavor was outstanding. Oh, and the sweet tea is the best I ever had. They zest 12 lemons per batch.
      Their evening game is for foodies. Big name chefs and prices.
      I'd go just to check out the area. It's a cool venue.
      Maybe mtford72 can chime in, but if you want to take a drive out into the country for some decent BBQ in an awesome atmosphere, I'd check out the Salt Lick. It's an old farm with stone buildings and a super cool vibe. Folks come early with their coolers and hang out under the oak trees sipping cold ones while waiting on a table.
      If you send me a PM, I can get you my cell number. If I can get free when you're here, maybe I could come get you and me and another BBQ fan boy buddy of mine could take you out to the farm.


        Thanks to everyone for contributing. The wife and I really enjoyed our stay. We were in the Lavaca neighborhood, and traveled solely on bikeshare, so we weren't able to get to some of the far out places, but here's my take from where we went:

        Boudro's - Pretty good, and since we were required (as tourists) to eat by the Riverwalk, I'm going to assume it's the best place we could've chose. It was much more Louisiana than Tex-Mex, so I just had to get my Tex-Mex fix somewhere else.

        The Smoke Shack - The Big Dog sandwich was amazing, and the spicy cream corn prompted my wife to get up and order every other side on the menu.

        Granary Cue and Brew - Went for lunch. This was easily the best meal of the trip. I was convinced by the staff to order the last plate of Pastrami Ribs, which was their Tuesday special. It was awesome, as was the brisket and chicken. I'm gonna have to try some pastrami ribs on my own.

        Bohanan's - This was a last minute decision as we were walking past, and I recognized the name. Fine dining, but didn't feel slighted in the least even though I was pretty ragged looking and wearing a white t-shirt and hoodie. The candied jalepenos they started us out with was delicious. The steaks were really good too. Not the greatest Ribeye I've ever had, but definitely a nice meal and service.


          Gotta luv it. I need to get back to the Granary and do a review. Did you think the brisket was almost too tender? They take things pretty serious there, but in a friendly way.
          Smoke Shack has a good rep with the locals. My kids luv the chicken.
          Glad you had a decent time.


          • Matt144
            Matt144 commented
            Editing a comment
            No, I didn't think it was too tender. But then again, I prefer it that way.

          • mtford72
            mtford72 commented
            Editing a comment
            Echoing Voodoo's comments - glad you had a good time. The Bohanan's experience is very San Antonio - it's a very relaxed town, and that is definitely in the top echelon of 'pomp' in the city. Life is taken at a pretty easy pace here, shorts and a guyabera will get you in most places.

            The pastrami rib is one of the Granary's notables. It really is 'pastrami on the bone'.


          Two words..."Big Bib"........Austin Highway..San Antonio


            Have tickets booked to go there in October, I'll be keeping an eye on this thread and make myself a BBQ joint road map! Because what is a vacation worth if not punctuated by good food every step of the way?


              If you are looking for Mexican food on the river walk go to Mexican Manhattan. It has the best view of the river. San Antonio is about Mexican food. Go to Garcia's for breakfast on Fredericksburg road near IH 35.
              Go to South Town for fun eclectic art adventures. Rosario on South Alamo street is awesome.
              Menger Bar across from the Alamo is great if you are looking for history.
              You have to stroll the river walk especially by The Pearl. Lots of free parking there. There is a farmer's market on Saturday morning.

              King William's area, olmos park area, Alamo heights area, San Pedro park across from San Antonio college,

              Then do some day trips to Borne, Comfort, Fredericksburg.
              If you really are into urban adventure drive the entire street of San Pedro. Start at 5 points go to the city of Bulverde. That is a slice of my home town. 60+years.

              Buckhorn Saloon has a awesome museum.



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