TOUR TEXAS: Whiskey. Steaks. Whiskey. Steaks.
I’ve made the Josephine Street Café in San Antonio a regular stop for more than 25-years. It’s the kind of place that locals flock to every day and tourists happen upon by accident or on the recommendation of someone who knows good food.
I can remember twenty-five years ago asking the concierge at the Hilton Riverwalk where I might find a good restaurant where the locals eat. He told me to go out of the driveway, then down Broadway, take a left at the Pearl Brewery and look for the flashing signs that read “Whiskey, Steaks, Whiskey, Steaks” . . . he added “park under the freeway and order the steak”.
Since that first outing little has changed at the Josephine Street Café and I wouldn’t visit the Alamo City without a steak and Shiner Bock in a corner booth there.
On this trip a buddy and I settled in around sunset. I didn’t even have to look at the menu. It was the 16 oz. T-bone steak with mashed potatoes, white gravy and a single, large onion ring that spoke to me.
Regular customers and first-timers continued to come and go on the well worn hardwood floor as classic county music played overhead. The old wooden bar along one wall was busy with orders for Texas craft beers, Budweiser and mixed drinks. A waitress patiently waited behind the tree that pierces the dining room floor and ceiling, while a group of customers made their way to their table.
I really love this place. It’s like Cheers with history. From the wait staff to the customers, Texas friendly is the norm and the food is consistently the primary reason for coming.
My steak, topped with seasoned butter, was done just right, and went down great with the ice cold Texas beer from the little brewery about two hours to the east of San Antonio.
My friend and I talked about this and that, watched the diners as they enjoyed their meals, and laughed at the passing convertible party bus decorated with Lone Star and Schlitz beer signs. It was a great night to be in San Antonio.
That’s when our waitress suggested the “best apple pie and ice cream in the entire state of Texas”… come on, who could pass that up? Not me.
Several minutes later the large slice of homemade apple pie with an equally large scoop of Bluebell vanilla was set down on our table. It was awe inspiring . . . a sugary golden crust over cinnamon laced baked apples, and a layer of melting Texas tradition.
The Josephine Street Café is San Antonio. It’s one of those places where the locals congregate to have a good time over a great meal or a brew or two. It’s my go-to place when passing through and I can’t wait to try the ribeye on my next trip to town. I might even have another slice of apple pie.
Michael Baxter is the Texas Travelin’ Man
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