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Old 12-08-2007, 04:21 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
2,887 posts, read 4,349,245 times
Reputation: 1609

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In an effort to promote what is unique about San Antonio, I'd like to hear what everybody's favorite locally owned restaurant, cafe, sandwich shop, burger joint, coffee house, gift shop, even bar, or any other business unique to San Antonio is. I view this as an antithesis of my favorite thread on this forum, these are the places we don't want to see Gone But Not Forgotten in SA! Think of this as a way to share with, educate, and promote within our online community the experiences we love about San Antonio, whether you are a native or a transplant. (This thread was actually inspired by a post from Chakapu! Props!) Don't just tell us who you love, tell us why you love them. And share any stories that make these places, and the people who run them, come alive.

For my first nomination, I chose Maria's Pizza on OakGate drive, near the intersection of Wurzbach and Vance Jackson. This is not New York style pizza (which I love), it is something better. It's got incredible flavor, no matter what pie you buy, the way the pizza is seasoned is unique and one of a kind. It is somewhat close in style to the kind of Pizza some places serve in New Jersey, which is where my family came from, and where I spent most of my summers and Christmas vacations growing up. But this pizza is actually much better.

The owner, Eli, is Lebanese. Now, I know a lot of you are thinking what does a person from the middle-east know about Italian pizza. For those of you who are thinking this, you don't realize that historically Lebanon is not the middle east. It is a Mediterranean country, just like Italy and France, albeit on the southern side of the Mediterranean. For hundreds of years Lebanese have sailed across the Mediterranean and attacked France and Italy. And the France and Italians did the same.

Years ago, on my first trip to Europe, I visited a historical city called EZ in France. I was surprised by the small doorways leading into the buildings and the fact that a cross was always engraved at the apex of every doorway. When I got back, I told Eli about my trip as I was waiting for him to bake me a pizza. After listening to me, Eli went next door, picked up a case of beer at the convenience store next door, came back and shut down his store, and the two of us drank all the beer and ate my pizza while he educated me on a history that you do not find in text books read here, either at the high school level or at the college level. As a huge fan of history, this couldn't get any better for me.

Ez was a favorite target for Lebanese raiders 100's of years ago. It exists on a tall, thin spire of a rock jutting out over the Mediterranean from Southern France. Lebanese raiders, on horseback, would rush up into Ez to attack it's inhabitants. This was mostly for plunder, not to occupy the city or as an invasion of Gaul (as France was known at the time). The small doorways in all the buildings where there so that the Lebanese raiders could not ride their horses into the buildings, and had to get off in order to enter the premises, thus creating a single point of entry that is easily defendable by one man with a weapon. These doorways are so small that all but the shortest person would have to kneel down to pass through them. This is why there were Christian crosses engraved at the apex of every door. In order to gain access to these buildings, the non-Christian raiders were forced to kneel before the symbol of Christ.

And then, whoever lived in these buildings would bash their brains out or stab then to death. Cool!

I learned this all from buying a pizza.

And the icing on the cake is the pizza itself continues to be one of the best I have ever tasted, in San Antonio, in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and even after two trips to Italy (the one exception being this one place in Rome, but that was a completely different style of pizza!).

Now Please tell us your favorite place in San Antonio, why you love it, and any juicy stories behind it!!!

Last edited by GWhopper; 12-08-2007 at 04:33 AM..
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:52 AM
Status: "Enjoying the extended daylight." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Suburban Dallas
46,847 posts, read 37,004,105 times
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It's got to be Alamo Cafe. Either location.
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Old 12-08-2007, 09:10 AM
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Location: Ohio
16,822 posts, read 33,206,690 times
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West Avenue Kitchen is a great little restaurant that has opened in the Embassy Oaks shopping center, across from the Embassy Theater. The menu is eclectic, the atmosphere is casual and the food is terrific.

West Avenue Kitchen
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Old 12-08-2007, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
46 posts, read 163,125 times
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Thumbs up The Little Aussie Cafe and Bakery

Hi All...

We are a family that cannot tolerate wheat products. We are "gluten free." A new discovery of ours is the Little Aussie Bakery and Cafe off of Ave. B behind Broadway. It is one of the few "gluten free" restaurants in the nation. The pizza was great and they have fabulous desserts. If you are gluten free or know of a family who is, spread the word, they need it! We visited on our last trip to SA and look forward to eating there once we move next summer.

Blessings,
HW
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:12 PM
 
83 posts, read 217,694 times
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ohh i have so many favorite sa restraunts, chilies, outback applebees, panda express,
jk lol umm in all seriousness now la frite, azucar, rosarios and la foccacia all those in southtown, chris madrids on blanco cheesy janes (the original imo is the best at broadway and hildebrand)and also acenar on houston st and the riverwalk and for ice cream justins ice cream it is in the monte vista area just north of sac i wanna say its on main and woodlawn but i could be wrong.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:17 PM
 
83 posts, read 217,694 times
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oops i forgot my juicy stories i dont know if the stories as to why i like them are so juicy lol i like these places because they are owned and worked by great people they provide eclectic atmospheres that always get me excited to be there the food is always good and the service couldnt be more helpfull and polite i feel at home at these places and i know whenever i go i am helping san antonios culture stay alive and trust me they make it extremely easy to help san antonios culture stay alive lol.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:56 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
2,887 posts, read 4,349,245 times
Reputation: 1609
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbsan View Post
ohh i have so many favorite sa restraunts, chilies, outback applebees, panda express,
jk lol umm in all seriousness now la frite, azucar, rosarios and la foccacia all those in southtown, chris madrids on blanco cheesy janes (the original imo is the best at broadway and hildebrand)and also acenar on houston st and the riverwalk and for ice cream justins ice cream it is in the monte vista area just north of sac i wanna say its on main and woodlawn but i could be wrong.
La Foccacia! Most people I talk to never heard of this place. But it is near my church and I usually eat there once a month. Good Call.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:00 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
2,887 posts, read 4,349,245 times
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I have to add Jerry's Chicago Style Hot Dogs to the list. Downtown on Commerce Street. One of my closest friends grew up in Chicago and got me hooked on Chicago dogs when the James' Coney Island Hot Dog shop was still in the Exxon on Nacodoches and 4-10. When Jerry's opened, we in and tried it. Turns out my friend and Jerry grew up within a block of each other, lived there at the same time, had all the same experiences, knew all the same people and places, their older brothers hung out together, but somehow they never crossed paths. Until meeting up in San Antonio.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:19 PM
 
554 posts, read 2,104,812 times
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Restaurant - currently, Bin 555 in Artisan's Alley. SO good.

The whole Artisan's Alley center is actually a very unique little slice of San Antonio.

Southtown/King William is a mecca for locally owned, unique restaurants and shops.

I love the Sunset Ridge hardware store on North New Braunfels is really cute. That whole shopping center has some nice, local shops in it.

There are plenty of locally owned places in SA to shop, dine, etc., if you're willing to venture out to them instead of just settling for what seems easier and more familiar.
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Old 12-08-2007, 10:15 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
2,887 posts, read 4,349,245 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXRose View Post
Restaurant - currently, Bin 555 in Artisan's Alley. SO good.

The whole Artisan's Alley center is actually a very unique little slice of San Antonio.

Southtown/King William is a mecca for locally owned, unique restaurants and shops.

I love the Sunset Ridge hardware store on North New Braunfels is really cute. That whole shopping center has some nice, local shops in it.

There are plenty of locally owned places in SA to shop, dine, etc., if you're willing to venture out to them instead of just settling for what seems easier and more familiar.
Did you know Bin 555 is ownded by the same chef who owns the Lodge at Castle Hills? That place is really good, too. They serve meals by the course, a three course meal is $35 per person, a 5 course meal is $50. Excellent food! And the atmosphere is really unique, it's an old manison from San Antonio's past. If you love good food and a little bit of history, you should try this place. Also, it really is a house, some of the bathrooms still have bath tubs in them!
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