As a native, I find myself shying away from city’s core because I think of it as a place for the tourists—not locals. I don’t frequently dine in the heart of downtown San Antonio, but when Restaurant Gwendolyn announced they were bringing back their popular flat top pop-up burger on Aug. 29th—my birthday—I saw it as a sign. A week later, my dad and I decided to shake things up and have a birthday lunch downtown to try out Gwendolyn’s raved-about special.
Walking into the picturesque, Victorian-inspired restaurant, my dad and I were out of our element. When we have lunch together, it tends to be at taqueria or a fast-food place. Seeing the delicate tables, dressed with dainty yellow flowers and the rustic embellishments gave our lunch a special feel even before we sat at our table. We liked the ambiance—and air conditioning—so much that we sat inside, passing up on the gorgeous balcony seating that overlooked the River Walk.
Restaurant Gwendolyn’s uniqueness stems from its ability to take you back in time with their food. The restaurant restores food to its simplicity, prior to the creation of appliances and preservatives. Chef Michael Sohocki hand-picks ingredients that are organic and local, and makes this very lunch special in-house from the buns to the ketchup. Their burgers aren’t just any regular burger.
I ordered the beef burger and my dad opted for the pork burger. The 30-day-dry-aged, Texas-fed-ground beef was a mouthful, not only in name, but in the savoriness of the robust patty. The lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, pickled onions and pickled mustard seeds are served on the side, which saved me from the embarrassment of requesting no veggies. Also served on the side was their fries. I tend to judge restaurants solely on the quality of their fries and Restaurant Gwendolyn served up some amazingly, golden-to-a-crisp fries.
I’d like to say that I had a chance to sample my dad’s pork burger, but one minute it was there and seconds later, it was gone. However, that didn’t stop my dad from asking for a bite of my burger. He said both were great, but the pork burger hit just the right spot for him.
The highlight of my lunch was ordering tea. Restaurant Gwendolyn’s tea does not come pre-sweetened. For those that want sweet tea, they serve a vintage sugar-pot of turbinado sugar. My dad and I—who lack a certain finesse—hilariously struggled to stir the sugar. Our fairly large spoons paired with the narrow glasses made the action a little tricky. Our tall glasses of tea ended up with a thick layer of sugar at the bottom. But the settled sugar dissolved quickly, resulting in a refreshing sweet tea, and a memorable story to share.
Gwendolyn’s burger lunch special reflects the originality of their restaurant. The staff is friendly, the environment is charming and their food has a taste of purity and delicacy, which is not something you hear every day about a burger. The one of a kind $12 lunch special will run weekdays throughout the Fall, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Restaurant Gwendolyn proves that getting out of your element can result in great new experiences.
Please note: Restaurant Gwendolyn provided a gift card for Selina to enjoy her meal.