August 08, 2019 Slideshows » Food & Drink

22 Family-Owned Restaurants in San Antonio You Should've Already Tried 

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If you're all about supporting mom-and-pop shops (literally), you may want to make it a point to visit these family-owned restaurants where lots of members are involved in keeping the business running.
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Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant
4223 Blanco Road, (210) 732-6017, losbarriosrestaurant.com
Viola Barrios came to San Antonio from her hometown of Bustamante, Mexico, a handful of family recipes in tow. In 1979, she opened Los Barrios in order to provide for her children. Though the restaurant and Barrios matriarch was murdered more than a decade ago, her legacy lives on through Los Barrios, La Hacienda de los Barrios and Viola’s Ventanas, which all serve a wide variety of delicious Mexican dishes, including its TV-famous puffy tacos.
Photo via Instagram / losbarriosrestaurant
Guenther House
205 E Guenther St, (210) 227-1061, guentherhouse.com
Though Pioneer Flour Mills may be a major, yet still homegrown, corporation today, it began as a familian venture. The Guenther House is proof of that family, as the riverside restaurant operates out of the one-time home of founder Carl Hilmar Guenther. Stop by for brunch and expect a menu full of American and Tex-Mex fare alike.
Photo via Instagram / rehnsfoodventure
La Focaccia Italian Grill
800 S Alamo St, (210) 223-5353, lafocaccia-italian-grill.com
Luigi and Dolores Ciccarelli first opened the former Luigi’s Italian Restaurant on San Pedro in 1972. After 24 at that business, Luigi decided to open another – La Focaccia in the King William District. In its two decades in business, the Italian spot has earned a reputation for serving classic dishes and house specialities such as the linguine pescatora, veal saltimbocca focaccia and more.
Photo via Instagram / redskins.queen
Ray’s Drive Inn
822 SW 19th St, (210) 432-7171, raysdriveinn.net
Proud to be the “home of the original puffy taco,” Ray’s Drive Inn opened its doors in 1956. Originally owned by Raymond H. “Ray” Lopez, the West Side landmark younger brother Arturo Lopez plus his wife and kids took over the restaurant in the ‘80s. The restaurant owns the registered trademark to the “puffy taco,” so you know they mean business. Good food is obviously a family trait, as another Lopez brother, Henry, owns Henry’s Puffy Taco.
Photo via Instagram / erikaslife365
Rudy's Seafood
4122 S Flores St, (210) 532-1315, rudysseafood.com
Though perhaps best known for its ever-growing collection of Spurs murals on its exterior, Rudy’s Seafood has remained a South Side staple since it opened in 1964. At the time, the Ramirez family used their little savings, plus charisma and heart, to create a seafood spot that is now a destination for lots of locals.
Photo via Instagram / 2fader3hader7
Moroccan Bites
5718 Evers Road, (210) 706-9700, moroccanbitestagine.com
After surviving Hurricane Katrina and moving to Texas, owner Latifa Ghafai decided to bring Moroccan cuisine to San Antonio in hopes of sharing the beauty of the culture with the community. With the help of her children, Ghafai’s Leon Valley restaurant offers a variety of dishes from the cuisine, made with organic fruits and vegetables as well as halal meat.
Photo via Yelp / Kathy M.
Little Italy Restaurant & Pizzeria
824 Afterglow St, (210) 349-2060, littleitalysatx.com
Venture to this old-school spot and discover NYC-style pizza, pasta and other Italian dishes – plus lots of wine. Originally from Palerma, the capital of Sicily, the Visocaro family brings authentic Italian flavors to the Alamo City. The family first landed in New York City, but moved to Texas for warmer temperatures. In 1983, the family opened its doors at Little Italy. The founding couple – Angelo and Poala, have since passed down the family recipes to their children Enzo, Dominick and Marisa, who all have their part in the business.
Photo via Instagram / littleitalysatx
Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia
218 Produce Row, (210) 239-9215, mitierracafe.com
Mi Tierra needs no introduction. Pedro and Cruz Cortez opened a three-table cafe in 1941, serving farmers and workers in the mercado. The rest, they say, is history. The now-famous landmark has seen much success, being a go-to for locals and tourists alike. That has success has prompted La Familia Cortez Restaurant group to open other restaurants, including Pico De Gallo, Viva Villa, La Margarita, Mariachi Bar and other upcoming projects.
Photo via Instagram / sugar_alice
La Fonda on Main
2415 N Main Ave, (210) 733-0621, lafondaonmain.com
A local mainstay since opening in 1932, La Fonda on Main continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Serving classic Tex-Mex as well as interior Mexican fare, the restaurant was purchased by Cappy and Suzy Lawton in 1997. Does Cappy sound familiar? It should, ‘cause the Lawtons also own Cappy’s Restaurant as well as Cappyccino’s. The Lawton’s son Trevor also serves as their partner and business manager.
Photo via Instagram / comfort.foodie
Silver Star Cafe
4901 S Flores St, (210) 922-8961, silverstarsa.com
A South Side staple since it opened more than 55 years ago, Silver Star Cafe is a family-owned joint serving traditional Chinese dishes as well as American bites. The strip-mall eatery offers daily lunch specials that will fill you up without breaking the bank, so you supporting this local business is a no-brainer.
Photo via Instagram / simplyraulmaya
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La Sorrentina
3330 Culebra Road, (210) 549-0889, lasorrentinasa.com
Juan “Pepe” Rangel obviously knows how to cook, as the chef and owner of this West Side hidden gem with 40 years of experience. Established in 2011, La Sorrentina may be small, but the space offers quality Italian dishes that are totally worth the wait. You can’t go wrong with the classics here – order the lasagna and tiramisu if you know what’s good for you.
Photo via Instagram / breaking.bread.in.sa
Sari-Sari Filipino Restaurant, Market, & Bakery
5700 Wurzbach Road, (210) 647-7274, sari-sari-satx.com
Part Asian market, part restaurant and part bakery, Sari-Sari has a lot to offer for hungry visitors. Specializing in Filipino and Chinese dishes, the Leon Valley spot was first opened by entrepreneur Adam Valenzuela, who had a dream of opening a Filipino restaurant. Sari-Sari is now owned and operated by daughter Camille De Los Reyes while other family members keep the eclectic shop and restaurant going.
Photo via Instagram / jesselizarraras
Bayseas Catfish House
13954 Nacogdoches Road, (210) 314-5219, bayseascatfishhouse.com
Fried catfish may be the star here, but Bayseas serves a variety of American seafood plates and dishes that will definitely hit the spot. Family-owned and -operated since 1975, this local joint is a solid option for soul food Sundays, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Photo via Instagram / hellomrsfoodie
Smokin Joe's BBQ
114 N Weidner Road, (210) 231-0849, smokinjoesoftexas.com
Pitmaster Joe had more than three decades worth of experience smoking barbecue, and in 2010 decided to share his skills with San Antonio. That year, he opened Smokin Joe’s of Texas, which is still family-owned to this day. From lunch specials to meats available by the pound, this Northeast spot will likely satisfy your appetite.
Photo via Instagram / alamofoodie
Sea Island Shrimp House
Multiple locations, shrimphouse.com
Though it’s a chain with six locations in San Antonio and one in New Braunfels, Sea Island is a family-run operation that has quite a bit of history. In 1912, a man named Tom Anthony opened the Manhattan Café in downtown. Tom’s son Dan eventually took over the restaurant, but he had a knack for cooking up delicious seafood. Dan, along with his wife Chrissy and family friend Henry Reed, opened the first Sea Island location (the one on Rector Road) in 1965. Today, the restaurant group is run by Dan and Chrissy’s son Barclay.
Photo via Instagram / j.with.an.e
Ray’s Pizzaria
Multiple locations, rayspizzaria.com
Everyone has heard of Ray’s Pizza. This may not be the Big Apple, but you can still score New York Style pizza at this locally-owned chain. Family-owned and -operated since it was established in 2009, Ray’s Pizzaria offers quality ‘za, subs, wings and pasta.
Photo via Instagram / rogersaurus_mex
Jacala Mexican Restaurant
606 West Ave, (210) 732-5222, jacala.com
After World War II, Rudolph Quiñones and his wife Adel decided to open a restaurant in San Antonio. With an original dining room that seated only 16 people, the couple decided on the name Jacala, which roughly translates to “little hut” in Spanish. Rudolph manned the kitchen, whipping up delicious enchiladas and other Mexican dishes, while Adel was the face of the restaurant, interacting with customers. They outgrew the space, currently operating out of a former grocery store that has seen many additions over the years. Today, the family business is run by members across four generations.
Photo via Instagram / steponmyjeans
Little Red Barn Steakhouse
1836 S Hackberry, (210) 532-4235, lrbsteakhouse.com
Easily spotted from the highway thanks to its bright red exterior, Little Red Barn Steakhouse has been a San Antonio tradition since it opened in 1963 by Ralph and Lili Hernandez. Banking on a Western decor, Ralph was the butcher and cook while Lili waited tables and served as the cashier. Their daughters worked at the restaurant on the weekends. Today, the massive space still features members of the family, who pride themselves in providing remarkable customer service.
Photo via Instagram / lilmsvampire200
Nicha’s Comida Mexicana
Multiple locations, nichas.com
In 1977, Gene and Dionisa “Nicha” Garcia opened Minit Taco on the city’s South Side. The couple gained a loyal following, which prompted many expansions – result in the flagship location on Roosevelt Avenue. Today, the restaurant group – there’s a location on the Far West Side and another in Live Oak – is run by two of the couple’s six children, though all have worked in the restaurant at some point. The Garcias definitely know what they’re doing as the restaurant is a popular spot for margaritas and tasty Mexican bites.
Photo via Instagram / jessicadsalazar
MAAR's Pizza & More
14218 Nacogdoches Road, (210) 599-7400, maarspizzaandmore.com
Since opening its doors in 2011, MAAR’s has been serving up pies that totally hit the spot. The family-owned and -operated joint also offers lots of TVs and beers on tap – perfect for cheering on the Spurs.
Photo via Instagram / my_entrepreneur_life
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Neptune's Seafood House
1922 Goliad Road, (210) 337-7294, neptunesseafoodhouse.com
With more than 30 years in business, Neptune’s Seafood House provide fresh seafood cooked to order. The fish here is lightly breaded, the sauces are homemade and the sides are prepared to perfection at this family-owned Southeast side gem.
Photo via Yelp / Annie A.
Los Ajos Mexican Grill
7616 Culebra Road #109, (210) 647-7020, losajosgrill.com
In 2006, Santos and Elvira Ramirez achieved their goal of owning a restaurant. Truly run by the whole family as their children Joel, Grecia and Denise all contribute to the restaurant, Los Ajos, is in the heart of the West Side and serves the flavors of the community from family recipes.
Photo via Instagram / shavonneshay1979
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Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant
4223 Blanco Road, (210) 732-6017, losbarriosrestaurant.com
Viola Barrios came to San Antonio from her hometown of Bustamante, Mexico, a handful of family recipes in tow. In 1979, she opened Los Barrios in order to provide for her children. Though the restaurant and Barrios matriarch was murdered more than a decade ago, her legacy lives on through Los Barrios, La Hacienda de los Barrios and Viola’s Ventanas, which all serve a wide variety of delicious Mexican dishes, including its TV-famous puffy tacos.
Photo via Instagram / losbarriosrestaurant

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