Editor's note: Lucchese has the great distinction of having storefronts in some of the most interesting cities in the United States — Nashville, Houston, Santa Fe, San Antonio and El Paso. The managers and staff that work in them are involved, excited members of their communities. To take advantage of their knowledge and know-how, we asked each location to compile their top recommendations of the can’t-miss sights, flavors and sounds of their hometowns.
San Antonio is a city known for its rich culture, history and artistic flair. There’s no shortage of authentic Mexican food to sample or historical sites to visit like the Alamo, the Mission Trail and the River Walk (founded in 1939). But to really know how to live like a local, pay close attention to the Lucchese San Antonio staff’s top tips and pay them a visit when you’re in town. They'll be glad to know how you fared in their fair city.
Top place for Tex-Mex
La Fogata on Vance Jackson Road is one of my favorite places to go on a date with my husband and also with the kids. They have great outdoor seating with beautiful lush plants and a huge fountain. My family and I also love Jacala located on West Avenue. It is an old school Mexican restaurant that my parents used to go to; it originally opened in 1949. They have the best puffy tacos.
- Stacy Stone, General manager
Mexican Manhattan is a San Antonio staple. Sit outside if it’s a nice night. For more atmosphere with a non-offensive corporate edge, go to Chuy’s colorful and Elvis inspired digs. The 911 plate is not on the menu but you can ask for it — a killer, hot enchilada dish.
- Joe Curiel, Sales professional
Mary Lou’s, which is very closely located to our store in Olmos Park. Not only does it offer great food, but the customer service there is excellent.
- Robyn Vickers, Assistant manager
Aldaco’s located in the growing Stone Oak area has great food and drinks with an amazing view of Stone Oak. If the weather permits, there’s no better patio in San Antonio.
- Sergio Ruano, Sales professional
Best cocktail in town
Hofbrau is one of the staff’s favorite places. They are located right across the street from Lucchese and serve a Texas size drink called the Dos-A-Rita.
The True Azul from the Green Lantern, which has a pepper infused tequila base sweetened with agave nectar. (See “Hidden Gems for more on the Green Lantern.)
Bar Louie for a wide variety of great cocktails.
The Esquire Tavern on the River Walk. It's the oldest drinking establishment on the River Walk with the longest bar-top in Texas. There’s always a diverse crowd with great drinks.
Where to dance the night away in Lucchese
Cowboys Dance Hall is a favorite of the entire Lucchese staff. It’s housed in a very authentic building reminiscent of what could have been found in the Wild West. Tons of country artists have performed here, and it also boasts a large indoor rodeo arena. If you are feeling feisty, you can also take a spin on the mechanical bull.
Gruene Hall is just a short drive from San Antonio, located in New Braunfels. It’s the oldest dance hall in Texas, and great photos line the wall of famous artists that have performed there over the years.
The 502 for live, original music, and Sam’s Burger joint for dancing on swing nights.
2 Step off 1604 and Braun.
Best hidden gem of the city
Pioneer Flour Mills is a beautiful historical landmark. In 1859 the Guenther family (still owners today) purchased a mill site adjacent to the King William Historic District on the banks of the San Antonio River, which has been Pioneer headquarters ever since.
- Larry Netzer, Sales professional
The Green Lantern in Stone Oak has no sign or street posting. Lined with brick walls, they have scotch older than the patrons. Absinthe. Monday night open mic. Week nights in general are much more relaxed.
Favorite gathering place for a meal with friends
Paesanos on Basse Road is a favorite pick of the staff's. They have the best Italian food and great ambiance. We've even had a few Lucchese Christmas dinner parties there. The Shrimp Paesano is the best appetizer in town, and they have a fabulous wine selection.
The Luxury is an outdoor gourmet burger venue with a giant beer and wine selection. Follow it with a trip to The Friendly Spot ice House for a drink. If you want pizza, be prepared to wait in line at Big Lou’s Pizza, where $80 can get you a pizza larger than a wagon wheel. No kidding, the pies are ginormous.
Visit Lucchese San Antonio at Alamo Quarry Market, 255 East Basse Road #800, San Antonio, TX 78209. (210) 828-9419.