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Our Favorite Openings of 2016 

  • Courtesy of 2M Smokehouse

Even though this year wasn't ideal by any means, we did get a wave of new eateries that helped us eat our feelings. Here's a list of ones that added more to our landscape and others we loved and can't wait to go back to:

2M Smokehouse & Catering The 20-seater restaurant, with its Tiffany Blue hues, chalk art and antlers is but a blur, you're here for the barbecue. Start with the brisket as prepared by pitmaster Esaul Ramos (formerly with Austin's La Barbecue) and friend Joe Melig, don't forget to add a link of sausage with Serrano cheese, and a scoop of pulled pork. We could eat the house pickles (which includes whole garlic cloves and sliced onions) by the bucket. 2731 S. WW White Road, (210) 885-9352.

The Art of Donut We finally got a donut truck and bonus! They're actually quite good. The toppings change routinely, so we're excited for what's to come. 24188 Boerne Stage Road,

Bakery Lorraine Folks in the Medical Center and surrounding area no longer have to make the trip to the Pearl to get their fix of macarons, tarts and other delicious treats. 7338 Louis Pasteur Dr., #201, (210) 303-0330

Big Aloha We got another taste for the Big Island's flavors via Big Aloha food truck. Track them down for pancit or Kalua pork and definitely for their Spam musubi. Very mobile, (210) 461-6669.

Bok Choy Area vegetarians rejoiced at more options and solid takes on American Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai dishes by the same folks that brought us Green Vegetarian Cuisine. 5130 Broadway, (210) 437-2200.
click to enlarge LIZ WARBURTON
  • Liz Warburton
Botika The Pearl needed a place for sushi. A place for plush seating and a sushi bar with funky cocktails and a bit of fusion. Chef Geronimo Lopez (formerly with NAO) and his staff are delivering Peruvian/Japanese or Nikkei fare, when it comes to freshness and presentation. 303 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 111, (210) 670-7684.

The Bin Cannot. Get. Enough. Whether it's for the chill vibes or the excellent bites or all the gin and tonics you can drink, The Bin was a pleasant surprise this fall. We're ready to kick back on this patio come spring. 511 E. Grayson St., (210) 994-8099.

Cousins Maine Lobster Truck Fans of Shark Tank, lobster and food trucks were all pleased with the results of San Antonio's first lobster truck. So much so that a second truck was added to the lineup. Very mobile,

Chocollazo Ice cream, candy, Pocky, truffles, s'mores, crepes, chocolate-covered EVERYTHING. What's not to love about this home-grown chocolatier getting her very own shop? Multiple locations,

Grayze Along with Shuck Shack and The Bin, Grayze made the Grayson corridor a place to visit this year with its laid-back patio, dreamy mac, tasty sliders, homemade aiolis and yes, ketchup, and a fun happy hour. 521 E. Grayson St., (210) 481-8776.

click to enlarge ROB CARRASCO
  • Rob Carrasco
Hawx Burger & Electro Lounge Owner Christian Hawx takes care of his burgers and it shows. From the hand-sliced veggies and cheese to the creative take on fries, Hawx has built a following on great burgers. 2603 Vance Jackson Road, (210) 320-4299.

Il Forno Michael Sohocki was at it again this year with the addition of Il Forno to his restaurant lineup. Helmed by Jason Garcia, the namesake oven was hand-built by Sohocki himself and much like at Restaurant Gwendolyn and Kimura, the ingredients are hyper-local, which leads to drool-worthy pies. Go there now. 122 Nogalitos St., (210) 616-2198.

Max & Louie's New York Diner Because it was about damn time we had salmon lox at the ready. Drew Hicks (formerly of Drew's American Grill) is now sharing New York faves out of this corner diner and we're here for it. 226 W. Bitters Road, Suite 126, (210) 483-7600.

Ming's Noodle Bar This tiny eatery calls to us, and not just because we KNOW owner Ming Qian and her staff can deliver awesome pan-Asian flavors. It seats 12 inside a boxcar and the early impressions (the spicy coconut soup is a must) have been oh-so-satisfying. 5253 McCullough Ave., (210) 570-6318.

Jazz, TX On that same note, we needed a venue like Jazz to deliver a great night out complete with a la mode pecan pie. The holiday dates are just about sold out, so do yourself a favor and see what Doc Watkins and his band, and a rotating cast of visitors, have added to the Pearl complex. 312 Pearl Pkwy., Building 6, (210) 332-9386.

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