- Casey Howell
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta get away, but boozing all night or hopping the next Aeromexico flight isn’t always an option if you’re active duty personnel on Randolph Air Force Base or Fort Sam Houston. But, hey, you can at least escape for a quick bite, right? Here’s some East and Northeast Side suggestions for when you feel like putting the camouflage in the closet and have a stress-free time.
Fort Sam Houston
Big Easy Cafe
4822 Walzem, (210) 653-5688.
Head chef Dwana Dominick, who relocated her family to San Antonio from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, originally opened the restaurant on 5170 Randolph Boulevard. Now located on Walzem near I-35, those who want to laissez les bon temps rouler can fill up on a shrimp po’boy meal or the fried catfish plate (go ahead and get the seasoned French fries, too; you can repent with push-ups later) in this cheerful, casual atmosphere.
The Barn Door
8400 N New Braunfels, (210) 824-0116
This San Antonio steakhouse is a 60-year-old institution and is still owned by Randy Stokes and family. The establishment offers a bevy of burgers, steaks, seafood and chicken for lunch and dinner as well as dessert, and does carryout orders and reservations to boot. While located in a nice, suburban neighborhood, once inside, the atmosphere is charmingly country.
4527 Goldman, (210) 662-6699
It’s all DIY at this Korean barbecue joint, and that’s a good thing. You can cook your savory bulgogi beef or kalbi shortrib just how you like it on the grill embedded in your table, whether that means still mooing or burnt to a crisp. If you haven’t spent time in South Korea or visited similar establishments stateside, don’t worry, the waitstaff quickly and kindly identifies newbies and will help you prepare your meal.
Randolph Air Force Base
2047 Universal City Blvd, Universal City, (210) 687-6649
If you’re looking to keep the calories down and get in shape for your physical training test, this shop has a bevy of salads and sandwiches on their menu. The family-owned business mixes eclectic options like a beloved banh mi and a Thai beef sandwich with more standard fare like black forest ham and turkey and cheddar. If you’re not worried about calorie counting, hit up the delicious baked goods for dessert.
Pappy G's Country Kitchen
1210 Pat Booker, Universal City, (210) 659-7799
Coined the “best new soul food restaurant this side of heaven,” customers can try the kitchen’s smothered pork chop plate or its chicken fried steak platter. The restaurant also serves fried chicken, fried fish and shrimp. You should also sample Pappy’s hot, Oriental and BBQ chicken wings and Momma Brown’s “TOP SECRET” meat loaf.
The Bavarian Restaurant
5512 FM 78, Kirby, (210) 662-7500
For active duty servicemen who have been stationed in Germany, this restaurant may satisfy any nostalgia you have. The eatery offers excellent traditional German foods such as plate-sized schnitzels, spaetzles, sauerkrauts, etc. Even better, it’s probably cheaper than anything you paid for over there.
Fiesta Patio Cafe
1421 Pat Booker, Universal City, (210) 658-5110
Run by the Diaz family since 1974, the café strives to give people “healthier Tex-Mex” fare. The family emphasizes cuisine full of whole grains, legumes and fresh vegetables—no lard. Even the rice carries the theme, prepared in the Spanish
style but using whole grain brown rice. It’s also vegetarian friendly, with plenty of tofu options for tacos, enchiladas and salads.