Courtesy McIntyre's

The Southtown area south of downtown San Antonio has a plethora of dining, bar, recreational, and other entertainment options for all ages. The newest dining and drinking destination for residents and visitors, however, hails from Houston.

McIntyre’s, an icehouse-style sports bar with three original locations in the Houston region, expanded into San Antonio in late 2022, opening at the former bar The Patio at 1035 S. Presa St. An extended grand opening was held December 29 through January 2.

Like its Houston-area counterparts, the San Antonio McIntyre’s blends indoor and outdoor spaces with textured walls, a range of seating options, and ideal views of large, high-definition televisions positioned across the sizable patio.

The patio at McIntyre’s is dog friendly, a key aspect that complements the relaxed vibe at the growing bar chain.

Michael Paolucci, who is partnering with Kyle Berg on McIntyre’s ownership and operations, said their first San Antonio location was well-received by locals and tourists opening up during the final days of the recent holiday season in the Alamo City.

“The first two days were great,” Paolucci said.

The drink menu features traditional and craft beers, cocktails on tap, signature, classic and frozen cocktails, a wide selection of whiskeys, as well as wines and champagne.

McIntyre’s hosts resident food trucks to feed hungry guests. Garcia Barbecue is scheduled Sundays through Tuesdays and every other Saturday, serving up smoked quest nachos, sandwiches and tacos.

Another venture, Jeepney Street Eats, is cooking up various goodies Wednesdays through Fridays, and every other Saturday.

Visitors may also take advantage of happy hour and an assortment of lawn games, such as cornhole.

Paolucci and Berg are not done in San Antonio: McIntyre’s has filed a project with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to develop a second San Antonio location near North Star Mall at 86 NE Loop 410.


Courtesy McIntyre's

Houston-based sports bar McIntyre's opened its first San Antonio location in Southtown at 1035 S. Presa St., adding onto the neighborhood's growing number of entertainment offerings.

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Where to eat: More than 20 Houston restaurants serving Easter brunch

Where to eat on Easter

From multi-course dinners to extravagant brunches, take-home family feasts to meals perfect for two, Houston restaurants have something for every diner's need this Easter.

Easter brunch in-person

Arnaldo Richards' Picos
The Upper Kirby favorite offers a special brunch buffet on Sunday, April 9, with a carving station, omelets and waffles to order, paella grande, charcuterie selections, an antojito platter, and more. The cost is $54 for adults, $42 for seniors, $30 for children over eight years old, and free for those under eight. Brunch is available from 10 am to 4 pm. Use Resy to make reservations.

Backstreet Cafe
This classic River Oaks restaurant offers a three-course brunch on Easter Sunday, with menu options such as a chilled creamy artichoke soup, Gulf Coast seafood beignets, braised lamb shank with creamy mashed potatoes and mushroom pan jus, pan-roasted striped bass with spring vegetables, pan-seared scallops with asparagus risotto, Nutella chocolate banana bread pudding, and more. Bob Chadwick offers live jazz. The cost is $56 for adults and $15 for children. Brunch is available from 10 am to 3:30 pm, and reservations are highly recommended.

Brennan's of Houston
On Saturday, April 8, diners can get into the Easter spirit with visits from live bunnies from Boiling Bunny Farms. The restaurant's classic dishes are available, and this family-friendly experience is sure to delight diners young and old. This special brunch is available from 10 am to 2 pm. Reservations required. On Easter Sunday, brunch is available from 10 am to 4 pm. Reservations can be made online.

Georgia James
Executive chef Greg Peters has a special in the works at this luxe Montrose spot, which will open for a one-day-only brunch from 11 am to 3 pm. In addition to the brunch specials, favorites such as Viet-Cajun roasted oysters and fried Holmes chicken will also be available. Note: the restaurant will not be open for dinner on Easter Sunday.

Guard & Grace
Usually closed on Sundays, the luxurious downtown steakhouse will feature a special brunch menu. Starters include smoked salmon rillette, wagyu beef dumplings, crab and avocado toast, and heirloom blue corn hush puppies. In addition to steaks, entree choices include lobster benedict, a giant buttermilk biscuit with brisket, huevos rancheros, loco moco, and more. Reservations recommended.

In addition to the restaurant's popular buffet brunch offerings, diners can look for seasonal specialties, a carving station, and specialty Easter desserts. The buffet is available from 10 am to 3 pm on Easter Sunday and costs $55 for adults and $15 for children. Reservations are highly recommended.

Hull & Oak
Head downtown to this restaurant in The Laura hotel for an a la carte menu with specials just for Easter. Look for duck confit salad with quail eggs for $18, rack of lamb with spring vegetables and potato gratin for $42, stuffed pork loin with apple cranberry chutney for $38, creme brulee for $15, and more. A DJ adds to the vibe.

Dine in on Easter Sunday and enjoy a modern Texas take on classic dishes. The four-course, pre-fixe bottomless brunch menu includes options such as crawfish deviled eggs, herb-crusted leg of lamb with mint jus, cedar plank smoked salmon, duck-fat roasted potatoes with lemon and herbs, and chocolate ice box pie. Best of all, it combines a buffet-style ability to try everything with the convenience of table service. The cost is $65 for adults and and $20 for children 12 and under. View the full menu and make reservations online.

The Savoy
Known for its massive patio and lively vibe, this bar and restaurant in the heart of Houston's Third Ward offers a family-style brunch on Easter Sunday with special offerings such as an Easter egg mimosa flight along with infused French toast and pancake flights, 11 am to 5 pm.

This Woodlands restaurant offers a special brunch buffet on Easter Sunday. Selections include housemade pastries, stracciatella bruschetta, omelets made to order, fresh campanelle pasta served in a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, carved porchetta, and other sweet and savory options. The cost is $60 for adults and $21 for children. Brunch is available from 10 am to 3 pm.

Southside Sporting Club
The chic sports bar offers an Easter brunch of casual comfort favorites, along with photo opps with the Easter Bunny, an Easter egg hunt, and an Easter basket giveaway. Brunch is available from 11 am to 3 pm.

State of Grace
At this River Oaks favorite, diners will find a brunch menu with dishes such as butter biscuits and ham for $10, deviled eggs for $8, crawfish eggs Benedict $27, and other classic selections. On Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny will put in an appearance and is available for photo ops.

NBA star James Harden's posh Midtown restaurant will feature brunch specials such as shrimp and grits, deep fried strawberry cheesecake French toast, and Churro Chicken & Waffle. A DJ adds to the atmosphere. Brunch is served from 11 am to 3 pm.

Toro Toro
This pan-Latin steakhouse in the Four Seasons continue's the hotel's tradition of over-the-top holiday brunches. For $155 per adult and $65 per child 12 and under, diners can feast on an omelet station, Texas cheese display, pasta station, seafood station with cold shellfish and sushi, carving station with beef tenderloin and smoked brisket, and so much more. Reservations required.

Traveler's Table
Diners can get an Easter Sunday three-course brunch for $50. Selections from the amuse-bouche, second, and third courses include Japanese kakii fry oysters, watermelon and avocado salad, breakfast bread pudding, Japanese ube pancakes, custard lava French toast, Louisiana fried chicken, and more. All the menu options are available for dine-in and take-out from 10 am to 2:30 pm on April 9.

Both the Galleria and Woodlands locations of this steak and seafood restaurant will open for Easter Sunday with special hours of 12 to 9 pm. In addition to menu favorites like miso-glazed sea bass and king crab, the bar will feature a special Spring Fling cocktail (vodka, Ramazotti Rosato, Cava, raspberries, fresh lime, almond syrup, mint).

The Union Kitchen
All five locations of the comfort food favorite will supplement their regular brunch menu with Easter specials such as crispy crab deviled eggs, Fruity Pebble pancakes, coffee crusted short rib, and herb-crusted lamb lollipops. Cocktail and wine specials will also be available.

Warehouse 72
The live jazz brunch includes items like steak and eggs, chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict, $3 mimosas, and other classic offerings. Kids can participate in an Easter egg hunt. Brunch is available from 11 am to 3 pm.

The Warwick
The Galleria-area restaurant augments its weekend brunch for Easter Sunday, with specials such as smoked ribeye and garlic mashed potatoes for $42 and cedar plank redfish for $39. Known as a great place to bring a crowd, those who love to share can also check out the board room brunch platter with butter pecan waffles, candied bacon, four eggs cooked to order, sausage, and more for $100. Brunch is available from 11 am to 4 pm.

Photo of a table with many dessert platters on it, with items such as cheesecake, brownie bites, cookies and fruit.

Courtesy of Hugo's

There will be special Easter-themed desserts on the brunch buffet at Hugo's.

Easter brunch to-go

Common Bond
For the holiday, the bakery and cafe is offering fluffernut macrons, with fluffernutter buttercream and a speckled blue shell; carrot cake entermet made with layers of cream cheese icing and candied walnuts; and an Easter case cake, a lemon-soaked vanilla cake with lemon buttercream and blueberry curd. The goodies are available for in-store purchases through April 9, although the cake is only available at bistro and bakery locations.

Craft Pita
The Mediterranean spot teams up with Truth BBQ for the holiday, offering a take-and-bake Easter meal special that includes 1.5 lbs of smoked lamb, rice pilaf, fattoush salad, cucumber yogurt, and maamoul cookies. Items must be pre-ordered and will be available for pickup on April 8. Call the West University location at (832) 767-1265 or the Briargrove location at (832) 804-9056 for information and ordering.

Feges BBQ
Give Easter a Texas twist with Feges' to-go items that are enough to feed a crowd. Get a whole turkey breast for $60 or a whole brisket for $150. Need sides? Moroccan-glazed carrots, loaded potato mash, hog fat cornbread and more are all available for $40. Pick up is available at the Greenway Plaza location on April 6 between 9 am and 3 pm. The Spring Branch location has pickup on April 6 through 8 from 11 am to 9 pm. Full the full menu and order online.

Goode Company
The Easter meal kit includes a choice of either Texas honey-glazed, pit-smoked ham or mesquite-smoked turkey breast, along with a variety of sides and a dessert. Additional items are available to purchase as well. The cost for the kit is $195 and each kit feeds between four and six people. Pre order online by April 1 with pickup on Friday, April 7 or Saturday, April 8.

R-C Ranch
The butcher shop at the Houston Farmers Market will feature a few Easter specials, including smoked ham ($4.95/lb), smoked brisket ($18.75/lb), bacon green beans ($16.95), and beef tallow mashed potatoes ($13.95). Order at the shop or by calling 979-864-3540.

Houston's 10 best pastry chefs conjure sweet and savory treats

Meet the Tastemakers

“Sweet” may be the first word that comes to mind with desserts, but it certainly isn’t the only one. “Tart,” “comforting,” “herbaceous,” and “satisfying” all have their roles to play, too.

The nominees for the 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Pastry Chef of the Year understand that sweetness needs to be balanced. They know that a sprinkle of salt makes any chocolate dessert taste more chocolatey or that roasting strawberries brings out their sweetness. With their diverse skills, they produce savory items that leave people wanting more and sweets that are, if we’re being honest, better than anything grandma ever made.

This year’s nominees produce cookies, cakes, breads, kolaches, doughnuts, pop tarts, ice cream, and more. Their inspiration comes from both childhood favorites and culinary traditions the span the globe. Even people who claim not to like dessert will probably find something to devour from this distinguished group.

Who will win? Find out April 13 at our Tastemaker Awards ceremony. Dine on bites from this year’s nominees, sip cocktails from our sponsors, and witness as we reveal the winners. Buy your tickets now.

Alyssa Dole - LuLoo's Day & Night
After a extensive career that’s seen her work everywhere from Coltivare to Pinkerton’s Barbecue, Dole has found a home at this bakery and cafe in Garden Oaks. Working in partnership with Blood Bros. BBQ, LuLoo’s serves sandwiches on Dole’s bread and a range of sweet and savory pastries, including Australian-inspired sausage rolls and barbecue kolaches. Upstairs, Dole leads LuLoo's Bakeshop, a wholesale bakery that supplies breads to Blood Bros. and a number of other Houston restaurants.

Kelly Helgesen - Nancy's Hustle
After a successful career in Chicago that included a Zagat “30 Under 30” award for her work at Lula Cafe, Helgesen moved to Houston to reunite her professional relationship with Nancy’s executive chef/co-owner Jason Vaughan (both are alumni are legendary seafood restaurant L20). At Nancy’s, she maintains the quality of menu staples like the savory parmesan cheesecake (and those English muffin burger buns Justin Verlander is so fond of) while also adding seasonal specials such as a recently-introduced buttermilk sherbet with roasted strawberries and sesame puff sticks. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that she finds a way to share her bagel-making skills with Houstonians on a more regular basis at some point in the future.

Kripa Shenoy - EaDough Pastries & Provisions
This chef comes to Houston via New York City, where she worked at Marea, which recently held one Michelin star and earned the 2010 James Beard Award for best new restaurant in America. At EaDough, a to-go only kiosk along the Columbia Tap Rail hike and bike trail, Shenoy turns out a breakfast-focused roster of sweet and savory pastries that includes kolaches, muffins, cookies, scones, and croissants. Later this year, Houstonians will experience more of her talents when she opens Auden, a vegetable-forward, globally inspired restaurant, with her husband, chef Kirthan Shenoy.

Lucianna Emiliani - Louie's Italian American
After beginning her career in Houston, Emiliani moved to California, where she worked in L.A. for the acclaimed Tartine Bakery. She returned home to help her brother, chef Angelo Emiliani, open Cafe Louie (named for her), where she earned raves for her croissants, morning buns, and other viennoiserie. When Cafe Louie evolved into Louie’s Italian American, she developed a couple of classic desserts for the menu, including a tiramisu that’s among Houston’s best. Thankfully, her croissants are still available at Saturday morning pop-ups and coffee shops around Houston.

Marie Riddle - Bludorn/Navy Blue
Like so many of the people behind both Bludorn and Navy Blue, Riddle comes to Houston via New York, where she worked for legendary French chef Daniel Boulud and Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi. At Bludorn, Riddle and her team oversee a revolving roster of desserts that includes the restaurant’s signature Baked Alaska. For Navy Blue, the flavors lean a little lighter, with standouts that include a tart Key Lime Pie and the carrot cake she’ll serve at the Tastemaker Awards ceremony.

Rebecca Masson - Fluff Bake Bar
It’s almost hard to believe Fluff started selling pastries at Revival Market 12 years ago. Now firmly established at its location near the Heights, Masson has earned an impressive reputation, and a previous Tastemaker Awards win, for signatures like the Veruca Salt cake, Couch Potato cookie, and the Star Crossed Lover (Rice Krispie treat topped with caramel and covered in chocolate). Fans know to line up early on Saturday mornings, because weekly specials such as croissants, barbecue kolaches, and quiches sell out quickly.

Ruchit Harneja - Musaafer
After learning to cook from his mother and grandmother, this pastry chef traveled the world, racking up experiences in India and Europe before joining the opening team at the Galleria’s fine dining Indian restaurant. In press materials, the chef describes his style as incorporating unexpected ingredients such as fresh green chilies, garlic, ginger, fish, and meat. Those skills have served him well on the current season of the Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship: Easter, where a hickory-smoked honey caked won a challenge — and a temporary spot on Musaafer’s menu.

Shawn Gawle - Goodnight Hospitality
Part of Goodnight’s commitment to offering world class dining experiences included recruiting Gawle, a veteran of Michelin-starred restaurants in Chicago and the Bay Area, to come to Houston. Under his direction, the company’s pastry program includes a complex range of sweet and savory items that ranges from cookies and canale at Montrose Cheese & Wine to Rosie Cannonball staples like Focaccia di Recco and Basque cheesecake to March’s elegant plated desserts and diminutive mignardise. Balanced flavors, seasonal ingredients, and refined techniques are the ties that bind all of his efforts.

Stefani Velasquez - Papalo Mercado/Ema
At both the stand in downtown’s Finn Hall that she operates with her business partner, chef Nicolas Vera, and at a weekly booth at the Urban Harvest farmers market, diners count on Velasquez nostalgic desserts inspired by Mexican pan dulce and other traditions. A veteran of Hugo Ortega’s H-Town Restaurant Group, Velasquez’s output covers a wide range, including conchas, pop tarts, her signature horchata-filled Berlinésa, and specials that utilize Vera’s nixtamalized masa. The chef adds that she uses eggs from her father’s farm and as much seasonal produce as she can.

Vanarin Kuch - Koffeteria
The past year has been a busy time for the chef-owner of this EaDo bakery and cafe that’s devoted to serving flavors inspired by Houston’s diverse immigrant communities. By winding down Koffeteria’s wholesale operations, Kuch has been able to expand his output with more sweet and savory offerings that range from a Chinese sausage taco and breakfast sandwiches on housemade buns to matcha latte croissants and Cambodian elote cornbread. In addition, occasional Cambodian dinners and dessert omakase services allow Kuch to demonstrate a diverse set of skills that go far beyond his daily (and very delicious) grab-and-go creations.

Lucianna Emiliani
Cafe Louie/Facebook
Lucianna Emiliani

Ken Hoffman takes a swing at Houston Astros' pitch to build a new downtown hotel

Hoffman's Houston

Astros owner Jim Crane says the team is ready to break ground on a major construction project that will include a hotel and entertainment complex across the street from Minute Maid Park as soon as the 2023 baseball season wraps up – hopefully with another World Series parade in downtown Houston.


But another hotel? Another entertainment complex? More construction downtown? My first reaction was, how much more does Houston need? I remember when the Super Bowl was held in Houston in 2004, clubs and restaurants sprung up downtown practically overnight, only to disappear virtually the morning after. When it came to downtown development, the expression “less is more” turned out true. At least that Super Bowl.

I asked my contacts in government and the Houston welcome wagon, is this a good idea, building a hotel and entertainment complex next door to Minute Maid Park? Do we need it? Can we sustain it?

The answer every time was a resounding yes! For a couple of reasons: first, downtown Houston, coming out of Covid, is booming, leadership is creative and budget-minded these days, and most important, if Jim Crane is behind the idea, you can trust it’ll work. The guy’s got a track record.

“In 2004, the idea was to turn downtown’s Main Street into Bourbon Street. Is that what we really want? It was a misguided plan, the wrong philosophy, and businesses opened and closed in short order,” a source told me.

It was a different story when the Super Bowl returned to Houston in 2017. This time Houston saw the Marriott Marquis, a 1,000-room hotel complete with an iconic Texas-shaped swimming pool, open in time for the tourist onslaught. Also, Avenida Houston greeted downtown visitors with new restaurants and entertainment venues. Both the Marriott and Avenida Houston have continued to thrive long after the Super Bowl left town.

“We want our downtown to attract visitors while providing services for the growing number of singles and families who are making their home downtown. As we continue to host major events and conventions, there will be a need for more hotel rooms,” the source said.

The Astros’ plan to build a sprawling hotel and entertainment complex originally was discussed in 2021 but was put on hold due to Covid. Now Crane and the Astros are ready to come out swinging. Similar complexes operate successfully next to the baseball stadium in St. Louis, Chicago and other cities.

An Astros-themed hotel adjacent to Minute Maid Park is particularly intriguing. The lobby could be home to an Astros museum and team Hall of Fame. Rooms and restaurants could be decorated in honor of Astros legends – the “Nolan Ryan honeymoon suite,” or “Strech Suba’s Bullpen Bar and Grille.” There could be meeting space for autograph and memorabilia shows. There could be a broadcast facility for post-game interviews and analysis. And maybe one day, fingers crossed, a betting parlor like the Cubs have at Wrigley Field.

The Astros have a contract to play at Minute Maid Park through 2050 – the only long-term contract that doesn’t make Crane cringe. Anything that enhances the fan experience and generates revenue is good for the team and the city. I might even consider going downtown on non-game nights.