Hidden Gems: Weekender Food and Fun in San Antonio

San Antonio is amazing. I may have a local’s bias, but we have so many fun options for food adventures that some may have fallen off your radar or been missed altogether. As my daughter has grown, my focus has moved away from places with playgrounds and toward those with great atmosphere and quality. Mothers and daughters often have a special bond, but when it is just the two of you that bond deepens tremendously. I’m lucky that she shares my adventurous spirit, and also appreciates finding new places to just sit and enjoy the moment with an open mind. Here are a few weekend favorites:

Food & Coffee

Candlelight Coffeehouse, Wine Bar, & Cafe (3011 N. St. Mary’s St., San Antonio, TX 78212 | (210) 738-0099)—Locally owned trifecta: coffee, wine, and food—OMG. Cozy atmosphere with excellent everything, including specials. Candlelight says waffles are just pancakes with abs, but after this comfort food I’m all pancake and no abs.

Alida (527 El Paso St., San Antonio, TX 78207 | (210) 977-0010)—Veteran owned and operated space offering family-friendly food, snacks, and beverages. Best bet: the No Regrets or Almost Vegetarian sandwich and coffee, of course.

Shotgun House Coffee Roasters (1333 Buena Vista St., Ste. 108, San Antoio, TX 78207 | (254) 913-9031)—Beautiful space lovingly remodeled and led by a local couple. Located in Warehouse 5, a collaborative business space, they also sell small batch roasts. Grab a coffee and check out the other small businesses.

Benjie’s Munch (1218 W. Bitters Rd. #107, San Antonio, TX 78216 | (210) 556-8624)—Location based on the delicious local food truck, with a regular rotation of handcrafted comfort food. Family-friendly menu includes an extensive repertoire of grilled cheeses. Also home to the infamous Fluffer Nutter and adult beverages. Best bet: go anytime. Space is smallish, so grab your food to go and head to either Hardberger Park or Walker Ranch Park.

Madhatter’s Tea House & Cafe (320 Beauregard St., San Antonio, TX 78204 | (210) 212-4832)—Local mainstay with selection of teas and treats. Saturday brunch boasts fishbowl mimosa specials and Tea Party for Two options to delight your mini-me(s). Also available for birthday parties.

Deco Pizzeria (1815 Fredericksburg Rd., San Antonio, TX 78201 | (210) 732-3326)Locally owned pizzeria in the deco district. Kid-friendly menu (duh—it’s a pizzeria) and mommy-friendly wine list. Follow on Facebook for specials and events, including the occasional wine tasting. Mimosas on Sundays. Best bet: pepperoni rolls. Snow Monkey Shaved Ice, El Paraiso, and Cool Crest Miniature Golf are all nearby if you’re needing extra credit with your kid.

Ma Harper’s Creole Kitchen (1816 N. New Braunfels Ave., 78208 | (210) 226-2200)—Ma, the 90-something-year-old owner and chef, makes the best Cajun food in San Antonio. If you need confirmation, count the trophies that surround you while you wait. Good food takes time, so depending on the crowd be prepared to practice what you preach about patience. Best bet: Saturday lunch with a fully-charged phone or iPad; can’t go wrong with the gumbo and swamp water.

Dignowity Meats (1701 E. Houston St., San Antonio, TX 78202 | (210) 462-1496)—Local deli and BBQ restaurant with character, walk-up ordering, and patio picnic-style seating. Best bet: Saturday lunch pre- or post-visit to the Hemisphere playground. Order the Dignowity Pie or the Sharp Cheddar Mac. 

La Tuna Grill (100 Probandt, San Antonio, TX 78204 | (210) 212-5727)—Vibrant restaurant and ice house that showcases local artwork. Indoor seating, outdoor seating, and parking can be competitive, but the food is worth it. Small kids’ menu offers grilled cheese, chicken fingers, or corn dogs for picky eaters, but the full menu is mostly kid-friendly. Best bet: Saturday lunch. Try the fish tacos and enjoy nearby Blue Star.

Candlelight Coffeehouse, Wine Bar, & Cafe (3011 N. St. Mary’s St., San Antonio, TX 78212 | (210) 738-0099)—Locally owned trifecta: coffee, wine, and food—OMG. Cozy atmosphere with excellent everything, including specials. Candlelight says waffles are just pancakes with abs, but after this comfort food I’m all pancake and no abs.

The Dogfather (6211 San Pedro Ave., San Antonio, TX 78216(210) 481-4272)—An elevated hot dog stand where mom can get something more than a bland dog while still making the kids happy. Note that these are higher quality than a carnival hot dog, so be prepared to pay more than $5. Generous portions (depending on appetite) make splitting a dog and sides very feasible. Vegan options available, plus a good selection of beers. Check out their Facebook page for menu and pricing. Best bet: The Elote and cheese tots. Patio is along San Pedro, so outside seating is best for kids who won’t want to wander. Bonus: the Rollercade is nearby if you’re seeking adventure.

Desserts & Other Fun

Romelia’s Bakery (11255 Huebner Rd., San Antonio, TX 78230 | (210) 437-1047)—Amazing cupcakes and other delights in a small mom-and-pop bakery atmosphere. Limited seating inside. Best bet: “treasures,” delicious fruit pastries that are hard to describe—a must try. 

Nadler’s Bakery & Deli (1621 Babcock Rd., San Antonio, TX 78229 | (210) 340-1021)—Family-owned bakery serving San Antonio for more than 50 years. Closed Sundays. Best bet: enjoy a “dollar movie” matinee at nearby Cinemark and then grab a sweet treat on your way home.

Kunstler Brewing (302 East Lachapelle, San Antonio, TX 78204(210)688-4519)—Locally owned, innovative brewery restaurant that is beer focused. Follow them on Facebook for up-to-date events and food information. No “kids’ menu,” but pretzels and light bites available. Best bet: early weekend afternoon. Indoor seating, so you might want to bring a screen (gasp!) for shorter attention spans (with headphones, of course—don’t be that person).

 The Hoppy Monk (1010 N. Loop 1604 E, San Antonio, TX 78232 | (210) 545-3330)—Fun independent and family-owned pub with a huge selection of beer plus other drinks. After 7:00 P.M., only ages 21+. No “kids’ menu,” but burgers are available; most kid-friendly item is Sunday brunch. Best bet: go for Sunday brunch and sit outside.

Chocollazo Chocolatier & Confectionery (4013 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209 | (210) 776-3963)—Fun place to enjoy an exquisitely crafted indulgence. Serves crepes on Saturday, but the real adventure is discovering what is available when you arrive. Best bet: go when you want something sweet, but not something specific. You won’t be disappointed.

Hazel is a San Antonio native, who after high school sought adventure in the mountains of Wyoming. Although she managed to survive the winters, her heart was always in San Antonio. Hazel obtained her graduate degree in banking from the University of Wisconsin and works for a *locally owned financial institution. She is a single mom to six-year-old cyclone Cara, who has a huge personality crammed into a tiny package. Hazel serves on the board of three local nonprofits and is passionate about giving back to the community. She has a deeply held love for tacos and junk food, and drinks coffee until it is socially appropriate to drink wine. *The opinions expressed online are her own, and do not necessarily reflect those of her financial institution.