There is an undeniable connection between food and nostalgia. Thinking about San Antonio’s often ignored and vastly underrated South Eastside food creates a flood of memories and a sense of being home. Dining in this part of our city offers not only a tasty, affordable meal, but also a chance to reminisce about times hanging out with my high school buddies, going out on date nights and laughing with my family.
While these restaurants may not bring about the same nostalgia for you, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy a great meal. Regardless of your mood, this stretch of town has it and it is good!
1. Mr. & Mrs. G’s Home Cooking
Once you experience the melody of flavors offered at Mr. & Mrs. G’s Home Cooking (2222 S. WW White Road) you can county your culinary blessings. This place is flat out wonderful. Lunch and (early) dinner are served cafeteria style at this quaint spot Monday through Friday.
When ordering a plate, choose between one or two meats, including meatloaf, smothered steak, fried chicken and catfish to name a few. Round it out with two or three soul food sides, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas, candied yams and more. ALL of this goodness—and I haven’t even gotten to the desserts—is made from scratch every day. Get there early because the line will be out the door.
2. Teodora’s Mini Taco
Teodora’s Mini Taco (2204 S. WW White Road) down the street is another favorite from my youth. There’s no greater form of comfort food than a big plate of Tex-Mex served with a mound of homemade, piping hot flour tortillas and a bowl of just-greasy enough tortilla chips with sneaky hot salsa.
Teodora’s has all the staples: enchiladas, carne guisada, chalupas and tacos served with rice and beans. When you dream late at night of large combination plates of cheese and sauce laden Tex-Mex food (we’ve all had those dreams, right?) this is the place you have been thinking about.
3. Big Lou’s Pizza
Further down the road is the iconic Big Lou’s Pizza (2048 S. WW White Road). This Eastside institution has gained acclaim in recent years after being featured on a number of food and travel programs highlighting its monster-truck 42-inch pizza.
The novelty of the place should not deter you from visiting—it certainly hasn’t stopped the locals from packing in the place on a nightly basis. The pizza, pasta and subs are outstanding and are easily some of the best in the city. For those big appetites, an item that is often overlooked is the jumbo calzones. These 10-inch bundles of joy will make you feel all kinds of good on the inside in the best way possible.
4. Pollos Asados
Continue the tour by making the turn from WW White Road on to Rigsby heading East and roll down your windows a bit. That smoky, meaty all together heavenly smell is wafting in from Pollos Asados Los Norteños (4642 Rigsby Ave.). This relative newcomer to the area has quickly become a favorite hangout for those wanting some of the best chargrilled meat in town.
Editor’s Note: This section was written before the big controversy going on right now.
Specializing in Mexican-style grilled chicken—like a certain “crazy” fast food establishment—Pollos Asados offers up some of the best-tasting chicken around. Juicy, succulent, melt in your mouth chicken is the specialty of the house. Order the whole chicken and give your taste buds a treat of all the different flavors and textures that our friend the fowl has to offer.
5. Beef & Bourbon
The last stop on our Eastside food tour happens to be one of my all-time favorite restaurants in the entire city: Beef & Bourbon Steakhouse (4946 Rigsby Ave.). This place is as old school as it gets, from the wood paneling to the classical-style landscape paintings on the walls to the straight-up meat and potatoes on the menu.
This is what I think of when I think about a back-in-the-day kind of steakhouse. The steaks are always cooked just right and you can’t really go wrong with a big baked potato or a side of steak fries. I’m a fiend for chicken fried steak—CFS as I like to call it—and Beef & Bourbon has one of the best you will find. Not too overloaded with gravy, not chewy and fork tender. I love this place, and I’m pretty confident you will too.
Nostalgia aside, what I really enjoy about these restaurants is that there is no pretense. These are not what you would call highfalutin. The Southeast section of San Antonio is still a hard-working, blue collar part of town. The people who live here, work here and dine here do it because they enjoy it. If you’re looking for microgreen salads, Asian fusion or the latest trend in molecular gastronomy, then you’re going to be out of luck. But, if you want solid good food served by friendly people, then come on down to the Eastside and bring your appetite.