Albert Friedrich poured the first foamer at The Buckhorn Saloon in 1881. Early in his bartending days, Friedrich began accepting horns and antlers in exchange for whiskey and beer, leading to a unique collection now exhibited in The Buckhorn Museum. The historic tavern claims that Teddy Roosevelt once recruited Rough Riders from among its patrons, and it is also rumored as the place where Pancho Villa plotted the Mexican Revolution. An original handcrafted marble-and-cherry-wood back bar and other historic furnishings still reside in the saloon, where guests now swig locally brewed beers and challenge each other to taser duels. Visitors come face to face with the taxidermal heads and other artifacts from more than 520 species, including a 1,056-pound black marlin and a prehistoric irish-elk skull and antlers. The museum also lays claims to a preserved whitetail deer and the rattlesnake rattle artwork of Friedrich’s wife, which guests can show to their own pet snakes as a cautionary example of what happens to misbehaving reptiles.
Adjacent to The Buckhorn Museum, The Texas Ranger Museum houses Texas Ranger paraphernalia such as sawed-off shotguns, badges, and photographs. At Ranger Town, young whippersnappers delight in glimpses of life during turn-of-the-century San Antonio, as depicted by a re-created jail, smith, and telegraph office, as well as the Bonnie and Clyde exhibit, where a '34 Ford V8 Deluxe sits anxiously awaiting its next adventure. On their way out, visitors can drop in at a museum gift shop that traces its own origins to 1920, when it was a curios store.
Even the best chefs have to get their start somewhere, and that somewhere is often a burger joint. This is certainly true of five-time James Beard nominee Bruce Auden. The profile in the San Antonio Express-News traces his meteoric rise from flipping burgers at a cabana to apprenticing under Guy Petit to earning Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chef title in 1988. Since then, Auden has continued to hone his culinary innovation, first at his award-winning restaurant Biga and now at Auden's Kitchen.
Auden’s Kitchen retains a local focus and serves creatively redesigned comfort food. There's buttermilk fried chicken with lemon-pepper marinade, and burgers with dijon aioli and applewood bacon. Pizzas come with house-pulled mozzarella and the hot kiss of a wood-burning oven, which also prepares salmon and whole-roasted trout. In addition to these classics, the seasonal menu saves space for a number of more lavish entrees, such as duck confit blanketed with cherry-zinfandel barbecue sauce. Diners have more than 75 wines to choose from, as well as bar offerings such as martinis and imported beer.
The dining room’s laid-back decor invites guests to relax, rather than worry about whether they’re combing their hair with the right salad fork. Wine bottles and copper pots cluster on shelves lining the dining-room walls, and diners can see right into the kitchen over a stainless-steel countertop shaded by a bevy of frying pans.
In 1977, Barbara Hunt decided to set aside a year of her life to explore the world and learn about its diverse food and flavor structures. So, she plucked a low-hanging 30,000-mile Pan Am travel voucher from the nearest voucher tree and did just that. One dietetics degree and a decade later, Boardwalk Bistro was born. Now, Barbara and two executive chefs focus their three collective minds on empty plates, envisioning authentic Old-World Mediterranean dishes prepared with contemporary style. Barbara shines as the bistro's sommelier while their collective concentration brings forth bouillabaisse (seafood stew), paella valencia (with rabbit, chicken, duck, and chorizo), spanish tapas that warm up stomachs the same way baseball players warm up for big games (by eating tapas), and plenty of other meaty and vegetarian plates. Boardwalk Bistro's antique-style furniture and colorful decor create an informal, Mediterranean ambiance perfect for enjoying a trio of raspberry, lemon, and mango sorbets, which chill palates more delicately than a midwinter game of open-mouthed freeze tag. The exposed-stone walls resound with live music and a tagine top standing in for a cowbell on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Considering the farm-inspired name and the refined dining rooms?white tablecloths, towering wooden wine racks holding bottles filled from carefully polished grapes?you could be forgiven for assuming that Silo Elevated Cuisine is a steakhouse. But a look at the dishes emerging from the kitchen reveals a less-predictable beast. On a menu that stars Silo's signature chicken-fried oysters, sources of gastronomic inspiration range from southern (applewood-smoked bacon, shrimp-and-andouille white-cheddar grits) to European (red-wine and cognac sauces), with more than a dash of Asian influence.
This is especially apparent in seafood dishes?crusted with Sichuan peppercorn or sesame seeds?and duck, served with five-spice seasoning or in spring rolls. Accordingly, Frommer's has hailed the restaurant as "one of the best places for fine dining when you want something other than French food." The original Alamo Heights location was joined by a new outpost in 2007, whose space Texas Monthly called a "minimalist study in black and white illuminated by crystal chandeliers and silvery globes."
Touting the Best Burgers in the Full-Service Chains category according to the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey, Red Robin features gourmet burgers stacked high with manifold fixings. The chain started in the 1940s under the name Sam's Tavern, where its proprietor Sam could be heard singing "When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)." He loved that old tune so much that he changed his tavern's name to Sam's Red Robin. Today, Red Robin still serves up the same gourmet burgers that put it on the culinary map in 1973—such as the Royal Red Robin burger topped with a fried egg—but the menu also includes more than 15 fire-grilled burgers, hearty mac 'n' cheese with riblets, zesty mexican grilled chicken, and towers of crispy onion rings.
Red Robin's aptly named 'Green Team' ensures that the chain implements green initiatives. All of Red Robin's produce is pesticide-free, and all of its eggs come from suppliers that do not use battery cages. The company is also dedicated to using recycled and recyclable packing and shipping materials sourced from suppliers certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and high-fived by Mother Nature.
Though Suzanne, a native of the New York City suburbs, enjoyed living throughout the country with her husband John, she always missed New York–style bagels, which led the pair to open their first Bagel Factory in Augusta, Georgia and then another in San Antonio. Bakers craft New York–style bagels in 21 flavors, such as asiago cheese, cinnamon crunch, and everything. Each one can be paired with 10 flavors of cream cheese, including raspberry chipotle and serrano pepper. In addition to bagels, the menu offers sandwiches and salads along with breakfast eats and includes Bagelaches composed of bagel dough wrapped around locally made Kiolbassa-brand sausage and can be stuffed with various items, including cheese, sauerkraut, or bacon. Freshly baked bread or bagels hug deli lunch sandwiches made with Boar's Head ingredients, such as the Carpenter with turkey, cream cheese, and cranberry sauce. Additionally, sips of regular coffee and espresso drinks from Community Coffee prepare visitors for long nights of dumping grass clippings down neighbors' chimneys.