Presenting a slight twist on the typical patio restaurant review, I wanted to highlight the ideal components of a family outing: good food, good booze, good music and good kid-stuff. These are all tried and true reviews that my family of four enjoys. So allow me to present to you playgrounds, patios, pints and playlists—I hope that this helps create a truly fulfilling dining experience for *everyone* in your posse.
1. The Pod
Where: 8745 Redland Rd, San Antonio, TX 78259
Play area type: Massive grassy area (like, soccer field size); cornhole boards; toddler play structures
Food suggestion: Chimichurri grilled chicken sandwich with sweet-potato fries
Recommended ’drank: Freetail Bat Outta Helles
Music stylings: 90s adult contemporary stream during the daylight hours; top-40 singer/songwriters or cover bands perform live on the patio on weekends.
Random ruminations: This place has a unique, modern decor—great repurposing of old shipping containers. To accompany the massive green space, there is an enormous patio to boot that’s fantastic for large parties. Still relatively unknown to the masses, it’s not crazy packed on weekends.
On the web: http://www.thepodrestaurantsa.com/
2. Purple Garlic
Where: 1017 Austin Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78209
Play area type: Enormous sandbox (covered) and outdoor chalk board
Food suggestion: Pasta Formaggi
Recommended ’drank: Jabberwocki IPA
Music stylings: Italian warblings, ranging from opera to rock; not your typical wine-bottle candle fare.
Random ruminations: Kids eat free on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The staff is incredibly friendly and attentive and the owner never fails to greet people as they enter the establishment. There’s a conveniently located outdoor sink to hose the sand off your kid before chow time.
On the web: http://www.cerronispurplegarlic.com/
Where: 1907 Nacogdoches Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209
Play area type: Playscape
Food suggestion: The Conflicted Burger (one beef patty + one quinoa patty) with “urban style” fries
Recommended ’drank: Freetail Pale Ale
Music stylings: Streamed 80s/90s alt-rock playing indoors and out; impressed to hear The Pixies “Wave of Mutilation” while snarfing down a bodacious burger.
Random ruminations: Probably the chainiest restaurant to make the list. This location recently reopened following the damage it sustained from the infamous Alamo Heights tornado back in February 2017. There were lots of young families; our kids thoroughly enjoyed dipping their fries in their frozen custard.
On the web: https://order.burgerfi.com/menu
4. The Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar
Where: 1287 Gruene Rd, New Braunfels, TX 78130
Play area type: Green space
Food suggestion: Something fried; the chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes is definitely above average
Recommended ’drank: Bloody Mary with extra pickled green beans
Music stylings: Live singer/songwriters play the small outdoor small on weekend, usually of the country/Americana variety. Occasionally you’re treated to a background soundtrack provided by a performance at Gruene Hall.
Random ruminations: Crazy busy on the weekend, a 30-45 minute wait is a certainty. Lots to do and see in Gruene while you wait!
On the web: http://www.gristmillrestaurant.com/
5. 3 Double-0 Nine
Where: 17460 N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd Suite 500, Schertz, TX, 78154 (located inside Schertz HEB Plus)
Play area type: Artificial green space; balls, outdoor bowling sets and more are usually provided by the restaurant
Food suggestion: Classic cheeseburger with crispy Brussels sprouts and brisket beans or the loaded brisket baked potato
Recommended ’drank: Garrison Bros bourbon on the rocks with a lemon wedge
Music stylings: Live singer/songwriter, top 40/country/variety.
Random ruminations: Kids eat free on Thursdays, and there’s a full bar with a stellar assortment of Texas-based craft beers and whiskeys. Happiness is a loaded hummus plate and a patio beer.
On the web: https://www.heb.com/static-page/3-Double-0-Nine-Restaurant-and-Bar