If you have ever been just a little south of downtown, you have seen what I call the “Pioneer Castle” which is where C. H. Guenther & Son, Inc. make Pioneer Pancake mix, some of the best pancake mix that you will find, along with the White Wings Tortilla mix. Founded over 150 years ago, the mill was the primary business of one of the great families of San Antonio.
The Guenther House was the original residence of the family and has since been renovated, placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and converted to a restaurant that is known for its breakfast and brunch menu.
I have been to the Guenther House quite a few times and have tried to write an article several times, but for whatever reason the articles always turned up flat; hopefully this one is a little better.
I like the Guenther House because it is one of the few places in San Antonio to find an American styled breakfast; while breakfast tacos and chilaquiles are easy to find, a place that serves good waffles, bacon, and eggs can be more challenging. Furthermore, since I have moved to San Antonio 5+ years ago, I have always enjoyed Southtown and have been going down there since the property values were pretty expensive until now where they are more ridiculous than Alamo Heights!
The building that the restaurant is located in takes to days long and past, and while you wait (yes, there will be a wait of 30 minutes to an hour), grab a complimentary cup of coffee and wander around the old Victorian styled house and store. If you aren’t from around Texas, be sure to grab some Pioneer pancake mix in the store to take home with you.
I will either order the featured waffle or, what I got this last time, the Guenther Favorite Breakfast Platter which includes two homemade biscuits, sausage gravy, preserves (the jalapeño is interesting but I really like the blackberry), applewood smoked bacon or sausage (go for the bacon), and a side of fruit. For good measure, I always through a fried egg on the side because it goes so good with their bacon.
While this might seem strange if you are visiting town from somewhere other than the South, biscuits and gravy are really good. You should try it, because unlike most outfits down here, the Guenther House will put your gravy on the side so you can sample it and see if you like it. If you don’t, you will most definitely enjoy the blackberry preserves on your biscuits.
The bacon is absolutely delicious, thick, and crispy; be sure to get that fried egg so you can mix the bacon with a little bit of the yolk. Really, really good. Furthermore, the coffee is interesting and they have a special blend just for their restaurant. To me, it tastes like it has a little chocolate flavor in it, but then again, I am not the most discerning when it comes to coffee.
My only complaint about the Guenther house is that it is a very expensive breakfast; now, you will definitely be full, but for the Gunther Favorite, a fried egg, and a cup of coffee, you are looking right at $12 for breakfast! That makes it kind of pricey, but the atmosphere, the service, and the fact that you get to eat something that is made with a product from the mill right next to you makes it a treat to enjoy every once and a while.
Value: 7/10 (Personally, I think that $12 a person for breakfast is a little ridiculous, but…)
Atmosphere: 9.5/10 (…the atmosphere is really nice; the grounds of the restaurant is gorgeous, the outside eating area is really pleasant because you are right by the south part of the San Antonio River, and the Victorian house is interesting to tour; the inside seating area is a little plain though; if it is nice, eat outside)
Service: 10/10 (some of the best; I have seen many of the same waiters/waitresses since I have been dining there)
Salsa: 6/10 (they do have salsa for their breakfast tacos that I think is weak; again, go there for the American breakfast, you can find better breakfast tacos at many other places in the city)
Taste: 9.5/10 (I always have a good meal there and have tried a variety of dishes!)