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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

First Impressions: I Have Seen The Well and It Was Good

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 9:53 AM

click to enlarge MARK STENBERG
  • Mark Stenberg

Quickly becoming the pragmatic San Antonian’s one-stop shop for all things well, the corner of I-10 and UTSA Boulevard has recently given its Wells Fargo a new neighbor in the form of The Well (5539 UTSA Blvd., 210-877-9099), an expansive watering hole intent on promoting “Drink, Dine and Dance.”

Though together for only a short time, interplay between the two Wells began in earnest when The Well opened its doors to a slavering public, only to find its parking lot comically undersized. In a textbook display of the inveniam viam school of parking, patrons-to-be began blithely parking in clearly restricted areas, the first of which was the adjacent Wells Fargo. Still, parking woes are a common blight among new businesses (see: Golf, Top), and as growing pains go, should generally be considered a remediable snafu, if not welcome augur of popular reception.

Once ID’d and wristbanded, customers first encounter the amphitheatrical layout of the sprawling outdoor space, a synthetically grassed seating area with a performing stage abutting the back wall. A deck hugging the side of the bar leads visitors inside, where the clamorous, oaken interior splits into three arenas: an island bar, long bar and warehouse seating for diners (and on certain nights, dancers).

The food is on point. The menu, assembled by CIA graduate Chemo Barrerra, hits unctuous notes without over-indulging, landing just on the right side of the home-style/kitsch divide. The waffles and chop ($9), essentially nachos served with succulent beef over waffle fries, feeds three handily. The twice cooked wings ($9), served with a house-made sauce of piri-piri peppers, and the Texas torpedoes ($8), fried jalapenos stuffed with chorizo, each brought piquant, nuanced heat — comfortably below sweat-levels, but sharp enough to encourage a bracing sip of beer.

The alcohol selection has breadth, offering everything from local brews, to blush, to the “Red-Handed Bourbon,” a cocktail made with the local ichor Big Red ($10). Service felt understandably besieged, but staff were friendly, salvingly contrite and enthusiastic — all you can really ask for when an opening night counts its attendance in the thousands.

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