The Filling Station has been in business for about two years in King William, and the place still feels like a secret, albeit a very poorly kept one. Business overflows at lunchtime with a combination of city workers and neighborhood residents. Succeeding in Southtown is not easy, especially when you don’t cater to the easy money of tourists from the Midwest or the First Friday crowd (tourists from the North side of San Antonio?).
In a city known for its economically sized mom-’n’-pop taco joints, this place has perhaps the smallest square footage of any restaurant in town. But owners Jon and Stacie Rowe work wonders with their miniscule kitchen. The offerings appear straightforward — pizza, sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts — but they make just about everything fresh in-house, and the results are incredible.
Fast Foodie became interested in the Filling Station after hearing people rave about the hot sandwiches. They bake the bread fresh, but the sauces make the flavors explode. Jon called the habanero garlic aioli sauce the best he’s ever made, and from the first bite of the habanero turkey, you can tell he knows what he’s doing. It’s spicy but not murderous, and very addictive. With fresh bread, organic greens, and that amazing sauce, I can’t imagine a better-crafted sandwich in town for the honest price of $4.95.
Maintaining quality is a challenge for any restaurant, but after several trips to the Filling Station, Fast Foodie has yet to be disappointed. We tried a Greek salad highlighted by organic baby greens, a thin sheet of fresh feta cheese, and a house-made vinaigrette. We later tried one of the Filling Station’s soups, the chicken and vegetable, and were blown away as well. The soup was slightly thick and characterized by a smooth yet intense flavor. The Filling Station offers a variety of handmade cakes and pies by the slice, as well as a “colossal” chocolate cookie, which was indeed large and extremely moist and rich.
Jon grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and the Filling Station feels like a small Portland café, with quality beer and affordable espresso drinks. It may seem like a stretch to call Jon and Stacie magicians, but it’s basically true: They’ve made a lot out of so little. Now, let’s just hope they don’t get so successful that they disappear.
— Mark Jones