New in the Neighborhood

We moved to the neighborhood last fall after selling our empty nest.  In the old neighborhood we met many friends through our children at school; now it’s through our dog, “Casper-with-a-Q.”  Because we love walking the neighborhoods, our new motto is “Eat Where You Live.”  

This column won’t do four-star ratings of the tastiest, best service, best price.  You can read plenty of critics covering the food, art and culture scene.  What I will try to do is capture the flavor of the neighborhood, where you can walk your dog to a restaurant, meet friends, and linger over good food and conversation.

So, let’s get down to the food.  New in the neighborhood is the redevelopment of the site of the Hemisfair ’68 World’s Fair, and four new restaurants have opened there: Dough, Paleteria San Antonio, CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery and Con Safos Cantina.

Dough. Those who know Dough’s Blanco Rd. location have been watching their remodeling of the historic OK Bar.  The wait is over - well, the wait for a table has begun - they are now open for business.  I love their wood-fired pizza, but it’s not just about the pizza: fresh salads, creative antipasti, yummy desserts, curated wine list from southern Italy.  

When we walked in, “Bingo’s” parents invited us to join their table and introduced us to new friends for a lovely evening.  One attentive waiter kept “Qasper”  (yes, that’s “Casper-with-a-Q”) occupied with water and dog biscuits and another kept us refilled.

Catch their First Friday Happy Hour for a bargain wine or beer and cichetti, Italian tapas.  And due to a quirk in the law left over from Hemisfair ’68, it’s legal to carry your drink all over the park.  So, get your snack and beverage, and watch the kids play in Yanaguana Gardens.

Tuesday-Thursday, 5:00 p.m. until the cheese runs out; Friday-Sunday, noon until the cheese is gone; closed Monday.  434 S. Alamo,

Paleteria San Antonio.  What’s better on a hot summer day than a paleta?  That’s a popsicle, for those not from around here.  These paletas are hand-made with fresh fruits, with creative flavor combos like strawberry-walnut, lime-chamoy, Oreo cookie, mangonada.

Monday - Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Closed Wednesday; Tuesday-Sunday, 11:00 a.m. –9:00 p.m.  510 S. Alamo,

CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery Hemisfair.  Can’t decide whether to eat breakfast in Paris or Puebla?  CommonWealth’s breakfast taco special has you covered:  breakfast taco, croissant and a cup of coffee for six bucks!  The breakfast taco, on a handmade flour tortilla, comes with a generous portion of egg with various fillings and red or green salsa.  

On a pleasant Saturday morning, you can watch the kids play in the water playground as you eat a delicious brunch on the back patio.  There’s usually a dog bowl on the front or back porch, so we park Qasper in the most shade.  Dog treats are in the jar on the counter.  Check out their community garden near the back porch: fresh vegetables and LIVE CHICKENS!

Breakfast: 7-11; Lunch: 11-3; Saturday brunch: 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., closed Monday.  611 Hemisfair Boulevard,

Con Safos Cantina.  This bar showcases the art, music and food of the owners’ Westside roots.  Catch their live music on First Fridays.  Aguas frescas, agave-wine frozen Margaritas, and over 30 kinds of beer pair well with the food.  The Concha Burger is unlike any other burger you’ll find around: traditional Mexican pan dulce sliced open with a beef patty and all the trimmings. 

Tuesday - Thursday, 4:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.; Friday, 4:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m., Saturday - Sunday, noon to midnight.  607 Hemisfair Plaza Way,

Meet friends and dog-friends in the Yanaguana Gardens.  On the 50th anniversary of HemisFair ’68, the Hemisfair redevelopment is making the park an inviting place to gather.  


- Dan Ratliff