Hearty American drive-in fare fills the menu at Frank’s Hog Stand, a motorcycle-themed eatery that serves sit-down diners as well as riders on the go. Twosomes can dig into The Chopper philly-cheesesteak sandwich, which nestles succulent beef beneath monterey cheese, grilled onions, and bell peppers ($6.99), or The Dirty Frank, which smothers a hoagie-roll-ensconced hot dog in chili, cheese, and relish, creating a trifecta of taste. A lineup of 100% Angus-beef burgers assumes a range of personalities, from the friendly third-pound A Hand Full to the bombastic 1-pound The Heavy Throttle, each paired with one side, such as french fries, coleslaw, or baked beans. A shared dessert such as a chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry milk shake washes down meaty remnants, or mouths can garble the national anthem as they wrap around an all-American slice of apple pie baked to crispy perfection.
Courtyard Cafe’s owners closed the eatery’s doors in 2008 for good, or so they thought; the café’s loyal fan base begged to differ. In response to the clamor for their cuisine, they reopened and expanded their hours and seating to include indoor and outdoor dining. Their menus span breakfast and lunch and heavily feature sandwiches, omelets, waffles, and wraps. The staff also opens their space to customers after-hours for catered parties and events. Courtyard Cafe’s interior features unassuming decor reminiscent of a home; ceiling fans whir above wood wainscoting, and plates sit atop cabinets with grandeur, the way Neil Armstrong kept moon rocks on the dashboard of the Apollo Lunar Module.
What’s Your Flavor curates classic American concession-style treats filling cups with syrupy shaved ice, sprinkle-topped ice cream, and a range of chips smothered in nacho cheese. Like Dr. Jekyll’s online dating profile, the menu features two distinct personalities. One half emphasizes frosty options such as smoothies and banana splits, and the other focuses on hot nachos and plates of spicy Cheetos topped with melted cheese. Alongside these nostalgic treats, the shop also sells a range of grownup salads and sandwiches.
The Great Taste Cafe menu's is an eclectic mix—French-style crepes filled with chopped pears, melted chocolate, and vanilla ice cream rest beside organic tamales packed with carnitas and serrano chilies. Organic coffee roasted in small batches complements other morning favorites, such as bagels and muffins. And crisp salads, made with organic romaine or baby spinach, round out the café's fresh offerings.
At Le Chat Noir Eatery, owner and head chef Lynn Oefinger refuses to let her cooking lapse into routine. In addition to constantly updating the menus to incorporate seasonal ingredients, she fully commits her attention to seemingly minute details, making caesar salad dressing from scratch and branding her initials into every steak. As she told San Antonio Express News in 2011, "if you take time to make it something special, people will appreciate it."
A graduate of the Texas Culinary Academy, she uses her formally refined techniques to give traditional American dishes a fusion flair, coating a po boy's shrimp in Japanese panko breadcrumbs and spicing a duck breast with Indian chai.
Wooden beams line the white walls and ceiling of the dining room, which remain clean and blank except for a few pieces of framed artwork and an art nouveau thermostat. Sheer, gauzy curtains gently filter out lights shone through the window by search-and-rescue teams specializing in endangered crème brûlée.
Visitors to Aspen's Brew might forget they're inside a coffee shop at all, as the family-owned cafe cultivates an ambiance of low-key comfort reminiscent of a classic, all-American living room. Guests can admire and purchase the unique artwork on the walls while lounging on the couch, kick back with the morning paper on an upholstered grandfather chair, or handwrite their emails at one of the wooden tables. As the morning sun gradually suffuses the cozy space with natural light, baristas rustle up six award-winning micro-roasted brews from Dillanos Coffee Roasters while the on-site bakers usher out scones, muffins, croissants, and cinnamon rolls. To add even more homeyness to the mix, they also serve up bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and squares of Grandma's coffee cake, a from-scratch pastry that comes from a secret recipe whispered between generations during games of Telephone at family reunions. In the afternoon, the kitchen staffers keep the hospitality coming with fresh, made-to-order sandwiches and paninis, as well as homemade soups, specialty coffee drinks, and desserts such as carrot cake and brownies.
The folks at Aspen's Brew also cater this down-home cafe fare for events, whether for morning meetings, lunch, or afternoon gatherings. To ensure these special occasions go off without a hitch, they deliver anywhere in the greater San Antonio area.